iPrayer X - Posted 9/14/2017
From Pastor Chris

Now that I have been here at Groveton Baptist Church for a year, it’s time to tell you something: I am an Apple admirer. Not apples (though I love those too, especially when they’re made into a pie), but Apple, as in the computers. From my wee years in the early ‘80s, I remember playing pixelated games on my dad’s Apple II and Macintosh computers. I could bore you by recounting the memory capacities of the devices we had over the years and how each one inspired awe in our techy hearts (a 20 MB external hard drive, and it’s only the size of a record player!). 

So watching yesterday’s rollout of the iPhone X was somewhat of a transcendent experience for me. The advances of technology since the Apple II boggle my mind. This new phone is programmed to “wake up” when it is picked up and initiate a facial scan of the person holding the phone. Its neural engine (I’m going to write that like I know what it means) can detect whether the face looking into the camera is your authentic face or a photograph or mask that looks exactly like you, such that the likelihood of a break-in are literally one in a million. The camera takes movies at a resolution that can be displayed at a movie theater. Remember that record player-sized hard drive from 1985? It would take 13,000 of them to match the memory capacity of this phone that fits in your pocket. I could go on.

The euphoria, however, only lasts so long. Once the endorphins in my brain subside, I realize that this is simply a communication device. It can facilitate dialogue but cannot create intimacy. It deals in communication, not communion. It captures reality but cannot change it. And all the while God has granted us a means of communication so advanced that it requires no device, needs no upgrade, runs without electricity, and is entirely prepaid. 

I’m talking, of course, about prayer.

Through prayer we connect with the One who created all that is beautiful and can redeem all that is broken. Through prayer we rest in the presence of a Father who loved us, Jesus who died for us, and the Spirit who gives voice to needs too deep for us to express. Through prayer we love others by pleading with God on their behalf. Through prayer we impact the world as we ask God to empower gospel proclamation and open the hearts of the lost to believe.

There is nothing wrong with marveling at our communication devices—I still find the iPhone X to be an impressive human achievement. But the facial recognition that thrills my heart supremely is when the God of the universe says, “Seek my face” and my heart responds, “Your face, Lord, do I seek” (Psalm 27:8).

 

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