If you’ve lived in LSTC housing, you’ve experienced the joy of radiant heat. You know the old radiators are coming on when they start their clanking and clattering. And soon begins the hissing and squealing of steam coming out of the valve. And when that heat gets going, you can’t help but react. Take off a layer of clothing, open a window, or remain uncomfortable for a while until they turn back off and the apartment cools back down—but you have to do something.
I want to suggest that prayer is like radiant heat. The process begins with boiling water in the basement – the distressful or cheerful situations that cause us to pray, you could say. Those prayers “rise” to heaven and have a tangible effect – they change the atmosphere of heaven. And heaven cannot help but react. So prayer really does change things. But in our third floor apartment, heat also comes through the floors from the apartments below. Perhaps this is the prayers of those who pray constantly, not in reaction to specific situations in their lives.
However, God did not stay on the third floor. In the ultimate act of compassion, God in Christ Jesus comes down, takes on human flesh, and walks with those who are at the boiling point.