Yesterday I had breakfast with a friend who, along with his wife and my wife, are part of our small couple’s group which has met regularly for several years for bible study, prayer, and fellowship. We have given this small group the title: Parents Anonymous! He and I share a similar temporary “bachelorhood,” as our wives are both in California serving the needs of our adult children and our very young grandchildren. We had a delightful time chatting, laughing, and encouraging each other. The two hours we spent at that restaurant flew by.
His career as a high school track coach specializing in the sport of pole vault was well known to me before our breakfast; the fact that he, his father, his older brother, and his son were all pole vaulters, covering almost a century, was news to me. I was also amazed to learn that Coach had spent four years in the Air Force!
But it was our discussion on the topic of our new temporary status as “bachelors” which got us deeper than even learning new biographical facts about each other. In reflecting on this new knowledge later, I was once again refreshed spiritually by getting to know a fellow Christ-follower at a deeper level. Deep Calls to Deep is what the Psalmist said in 42:7 (NIV and KJV); after opening that Psalm with “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).
I shared with Coach that at this stage of my life, in my eighth decade [wow am I old!!], I have decided that I do not have energy for constant and exclusive superficiality. His response: “Steve, that was profound.” I then shared how important the 42nd Psalm was to me. Deep Calls to Deep means that for one who seeks a real relationship with God, superficiality simply cannot survive for long. When an acquaintance is content to connect with me ONLY on a superficial level, I notice – either on purpose or accidentally – that I usually find myself distancing from that person.
In the early 2000’s I was part of a four-man small group that met weekly for over a decade. Three of us wanted to go “deeper” in our relationships to include the Christian discipline of confession. That small group broke up, because while four men waded into the Deep Calls to Deep of spiritual companionship, one of us wanted only to go ankle-deep.
Scripture does not countenance superficiality: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other” [James 5:16, NIV], neither of which can regularly be done superficially. Coach prayed out loud giving thanks for our food and praying for the health of each other. Our waiter placed items on our table without interrupting the prayer! I was blessed by my friend’s comfort with praying in a public setting, and I suspect our waiter was blessed too.
The Merton Prayer simply cannot be authentically prayed while being content to remain only ankle-deep in one’s relationship with God and others! “Superficiality bequeaths superficiality, whereas Deep Calls to Deep” [from the book’s cover]. I encourage you this week to take Deep Calls to Deep steps with one spiritual companion. Go deeper than simply discussing the weather, politics, or how your favorite sports team is doing! And by the way, “Coach, thank you for your service to our country!”
[NOTE: If your organization, church, or school would like a workshop/presentation on The Merton Prayer please use the contact tab and let me know! I can Zoom all over the world and have done 90-minute, 3-hour, 5-hour, weekend, or five-day workshops/retreats.]
Leave a comment, if you wish, regarding this post or how you found The Merton Prayer and why it is important to you. Thanks for visiting http://www.TheMertonPrayer.com!
One thought on “Deep Calls to Deep”
Thanks for sharing this example of in-depth sharing with a fellow Christian, especially one whom life experience is so similar to yours. What a gift from God that is for both of you.