In the last few years, I’ve had to conscientiously make space for God in my prayers. It sounds so silly. Who am I praying to, after all? And yet, I’ve come to believe prayer is akin to conversation. As much as God may want to hear my requests and petitions, He also wants me to listen to Him.
Not only to hear what He has to say about my life but what He envisions for my community and the world at large. My dreams could stand to be stretched a bit. I want to be less me-focused, more other-focused and it starts with prayer.
Less “what will you do for me, God?” and more “what can I do for you?”
Reading Desmond Tutu’s God Has A Dream awakened me to this quest all over again. It’s a slim volume, deceptively so compared to how much wisdom Tutu packed inside. The chapters are part letter, part essay. “Dear Child of God,” he begins each one and then gives us a vision of what could be.
I read each night before I go to bed. It’s a stress reliever and one of my favorite routines. I saved God Has A Dream for bedtime, wanting Tutu’s words to be the last on my mind before slumber. When I woke, I was ready for further contemplation. What would this look like in my life? How do I fit in to God’s dream for humanity?
I daresay I’ll be asking those questions for the rest of my life but hopefully I’ll move into action, as well.
It’s not easy for me to leave room for God’s response, especially in the day to day. When I’m in the car for long periods, I leave the music off and let the miles open my heart up, as well as my ears. In those moments, I have a better understanding of prayer and of the ways God might be using my life. Equal parts humbling and awesome.
But long car trips are few and far between. I need to cultivate space for God’s dreams in between the alarm clock waking me and the tasks of work and the people I see every day. Or maybe not in between them but throughout them.
As you read this month, consider your local and global communities. Where have you witnessed injustice, transformation, reconciliation, love? Think of the Desmond Tutus, the Nelson Mandelas, the Mother Teresas, the Rosa Parks living next door or across town. Are you one of them? Consider your response.
Tutu refers to his vast life experience throughout the book. For those interested in learning more about South Africa and its history of apartheid, The Nightstand has several recommendations for further reading. Other books included touch on the themes of transformation and societal change.
God Has A Dream is only the beginning, dear friends. As you read this month, let’s dream out loud together. Let’s see what He might have in store for this community.
Come back Wednesday February 26 for a discussion post led by Kelley Nikondeha. On Twitter, the official Red Couch Book Club hashtag is #redcouchbc, for those interested in discussing and sharing quotes in the meantime. Don’t forget our March book is Behind the Beautiful Forevers. We’ll be announcing the next quarter’s book selections in March, as well.
No Future Without Forgiveness– Desmond Tutu
Made for Goodness– Desmond Tutu
God’s Dream– Desmond Tutu (children version of God has a Dream)
Jesus’ Plan for a New World– Richard Rohr
Diepsloot– Anton Harbour
Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing– Moeletsi Mbeki
What’s on your mind as we begin to read God Has A Dream?
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Image credit: Allie