Monday, October 28, 2013

Praying Like Never Before

Last week, I started a 40-day prayer challenge (Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson) and I wish I could relay to you how much it has changed my prayer life even in just one week but I can’t just yet. I could tell you that what God has done in one week is phenomenal and miraculous—it is. However,  I still need time to wrap my mind around the full implications of what is happening before I can really share the depth of it with you.

However, I did want to share something with you, so here it goes. First of all, I am keeping a prayer journal and in the process of doing this, God is redeeming another part of my past. From the ages of 12-25, I got in the habit of keeping a journal. I was trapped in an unhealthy environment and deep in depression and my secret journals were the only safe place to express my thoughts and emotions. The pages were filled with dark thoughts and pain. When I finished a book, I’d burn it hoping to and never succeeding to discard the past in the ashes. Today, my journal is a book of hope! It’s the record of God’s grace and love in and through my life. It will be filled with great need and answered prayer, repentance and forgiveness, questions and God’s wisdom. These books will not be burned—rather, they will fill my shelves as a reminder of how great God is.

Second, I have to tell you that after eleven days of waking up an hour early (6 a.m.) to pray and study isn’t getting any easier. I’m eagerly waiting next weekend when we turn the clocks back hoping that will help. Still I’m doing it because if I am serious about changing my prayer life, then this is what needs to be done. I’ve told you in the past that I hit a sort of plateau in my faith life several years ago which was the inspiration for this blog and have been struggling these many years to find new enthusiasm for my relationship with God. When I first gave my life to Christ in 1999, it was all new and exciting. I read everything I could get my hands on and spent hours in the bible and prayer. Then God began the very in depth work needed to heal my pain, my past, my depression, and my PTSD and it was hard work, but in the 8-year process, God has healed me beyond all my hopes. Corrie ten Boom’s saying, “You find God is all you need when God is all you have” describes that part of my life very well. I had been going to God and leaning on him for so long in my pain and my need that I didn’t know how to communicate with him any other way and now there was no pain and no need (not in that area anyway). I’ve been struggling to learn how to communicate with him ever since and this 40-day prayer challenge has begun to teach me a new way to pray. That’s the real reason I’m getting up at some “ungodly” hour – because that’s when God is teaching me to pray and life is exciting again. I’m craving that time in his presence and I won’t give it up just because I’m a little tired.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Prayer Is a Beautiful Experience

This weekend, I started a 40-day prayer challenge called "Draw the Circle" by Mark Batterson. I knew that today was going to be the first tough day of the challenge as it involved waking up an hour early. I'm happy to report that all went as planned. I hope to have some incredible things to report next week, but today, I thought I would share a poem I wrote last year in which I tried to describe the beautiful experience that prayer is. Enjoy!


Blessed Humility
I love that moment in prayer
when I realize all over again
how great is my need for my Savoir
in the presence of Jesus,
my Redeemer and King.
Before my God, I’m on my knees
admitting my weaknesses, my sin.
Not in fear with trembling, yet
marveling in Your grace.  
So much in me I want to hold back –
to keep just a little of my sin,
to dabble in that darkness
that, for me, has been a familiar place.
Yet I know if I am to serve You,
to love You with all I am,
with all my mind,
my heart and soul,
nothing from You can I withhold –
my dreams, my hopes,
my fears and my woes,
my strengths and weaknesses too.
Even in my uncertainty,
with overwhelming gratitude
I give all I am to You.
No strings – no disclaimers do I make.
I’m Yours to do with as You please.
Spirit of God work in me.
Make my heart Your very own.
Reach out to those in need.
Teach and love and heal them Lord
with Your Word of Truth, Your arm of grace.
I pray You choose to use my simple song
and compassionate embrace
to show the world Your glory,
bring about Your kingdom for them to see.
And Lord it would be my privilege
if You would consider reaching out to them through me

Monday, October 14, 2013

Some Things to Think About


1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
(John 9, Selected, NIV)


These events happened on the Sabbath. Walking the distance from where he (the blind man) was to the pool to wash and the act of washing itself were considered work, as interpreted by the religious leaders, and therefore sinful to do on the Sabbath. This blind man had a choice to make—He could do what Jesus said and be labeled a sinner and kicked out of the temple or refuse to obey the Lord of the Sabbath to adhere to the “rules” of the Sabbath. God’s ways are not man’s ways and often they seem to be diametrically opposed to what is considered acceptable. When faced with choosing to follow God or society, God or your superiors, God or the popular people…what do you do?

When God does something amazing, like give sight to the blind, we too often find it difficult to believe even when we see it with our own eyes. Even when we see we don’t want to accept it. Are we missing the amazing things God is doing right now in our midst because we aren’t looking? Are we missing God’s glory because we can’t reconcile it to what we understand even when we see it?

The Pharisees were the faithfully religious people of their time. They were the tithers of their church and the worship leaders. They were the trustees and the committee leaders. They were in church every Sabbath and attended mid-week small groups. They were the ones 0ut in the community talking about God’s glory, power and salvation. Yet Jesus himself tells us that they are the ones who are spiritually blind and their pathetic, arrogant claims to their spiritual superiority are the smoking gun that convicts them of their own sin. Are we so sure of what we know about God that we are not willing to look at it again in the light of God’s Word? When is the last time we ask God to convict us of our blindness and open our eyes to His way?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Anticipation

In Celebration of Worldwide Communion Sunday (October 6th)

Anticipation
It’s here.
It is actually here.
I have waited so long
and it is finally here.
I can’t wait to get dressed
and gather my gift.
Rush to the celebration,
I am honored to be invited.
Are we there yet? 
Is it time?
Here I am parking the car.
Am I late?
Oh, hurry...hurry!
I don’t want to miss a thing.
I finally get in the door
And oh…
the sights and sounds.
So many people about.
I can’t believe it’s finally here.
Thank You, Lord,
for the privilege
of Sunday morning worship.