“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”
This text from 1 Timothy 4:4-5 gives as close as we get in Scripture to a formula for consecration. In the coming weeks we will apply the formula to various aspects of our lives specifically. Here I want us to consider the significant role prayer plays in the consecration of God’s good gifts. Prayer is key in moving things from being ‘common’ to being ‘other.’
Attending closely to the verse we see that prayer plays a dual role in consecrating God’s gifts. First, God’s gifts are consecrated when they are received with thankfulness. How does thankfulness consecrate? Gratitude plays a role in consecration because in thankfulness we acknowledge the gift’s source in the utter otherness of God. As James says, “Every good gift is from above” (1:17). In being thankful, we are not so much making the gift other as recognizing it as being other to begin with.
Second, we consecrate God’s gifts when we pray over them. While in thankfulness we are receiving the gift as ‘other’, in prayer we are, in effect, yielding the gift back to God asking that he make our use of it and its effect in our lives ‘other.’
So there is a dual movement here. In gratitude we recognize that anything good has its source in the otherness of God. Meanwhile, in prayer we confess our tendency to ‘profane’ God’s good gifts and so, ask that he might make the use and enjoyment of them ‘other’ in our lives.
In prayer we move out of the realm of the common and acknowledge the existence of the wholly other. Accordingly, prayer is a key component of being and living ‘other.’