Said C.S. Lewis, "The prayer that precedes all prayers is may the real me meet the real you."
A great friend of mine from college once shared this quote with me. He and I served in Young Life together, leading high school students toward a growing relationship with Jesus. I can recall that he ended nearly every one of his ministry talks with this quote just prior to closing in prayer:
"May the real me meet the real you."
I probably listened to him share this quote with me dozens of times. I think I also used it. But quite honestly, I don't think I understood the meaning behind it until much later in life. Intellectually I understood it. It's simple in structure, but truly profound in its meaning.
Perhaps I missed it time after time because inherent within this quote lays an assumption that you know the real you.
Certainly in college I didn't know the real me. I probably thought I did. I lived in word and deed as though I did. Hindsight, however, has revealed just how far from reality my perceived life was from my real life. Have you ever come upon such a realization? That your real self looked much different than your 'perceived' self. It's humbling.
Now as a husband and father of two, I think only know am I just becoming acquainted with my real me. Occasionally, I'll still juke and jive the things I know to do. My wife's glare always beings me back to reality. She knows the real me better than I do. I still find myself choosing the things that I want to do - or advance my OWN agenda - when all the while I know exactly what God desires for me to do: love God and love others.
Obviously, this writes so much easier than done in real life, but if we witness anything from the life of Jesus, then we see in the here and now through the incarnate Creator of the universe a way of living that not only compels us, but graciously offers us, the possibility of living a real and true life. The Apostle John even quoted Jesus saying, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." The word "they" means you, me, us!
I think we all agree that this kind of life is the best one for us.
Yet, let me call out the hot pink elephant in the room... this is risky business. It's not easy getting real, let alone in front of others... let alone in front of our Creator. Adam and Eve felt a great emotion in the presence of their Creator: shame. And I think many people believe that when the real them meets the real God, then shame results.
Jesus, however, calls us to do just that: GET REAL! "May the real me meet the real you," says Lewis. "But the cost!" you say. The cost is far too great, for as far as you know, the more real that you get real with your Creator, the more real you must also get real with the hardest person in your life: you.
The prayer that precedes all prayers may be the riskiest prayer that one ever prays. It's tough; it's risky; and it's also freeing.
But hear this: When the Lord found Adam and Eve, the earliest readers heard something that radically altered their perspective of God, but we miss it. I know you know what God did after learning what Adam and Eve did. He banished them form the Garden, right? He did, but not before sacrificing an animal, clothing their nakedness, and removing their shame.
Did you catch it? At the moment when the real, awful, bare nakedness of Adam and Eve confronted the perfect, sovereign, all-powerful God - when the real Adam and Eve met the real God, that same God removed... all... their... shame!
What power?! What grace?! What news?!
Listen, no matter what has happened, what you did, what choices you've made, you can trust that when the real you meets the real God, then real life results.
The prayer that precedes all prayers is may the real me meet the real you. May it be yours.