Thursday, March 19, 2015

2015: The Year of Prayer - Week 11

What a week.  Full of power, glory, joy and sorrow.  No middle of the road this week; just the the full cult of the Christian personality and experience.  Not to mention, spring break began, so it's been busy life+++.

Up and down.  It is the reality of life, especially when you are digging into prayer.  This week has been about 3 themes:

1. Playing chicken with the enemy is pointless.  I will always flinch unless I let Christ stand in front of me.  After facing a persistent mental struggle, on Monday night, He gave me this verse about it: "Woman, no one here condemns you.  Neither do I" (from John 8).  It was like He was saying:

Amy, you are forgiven, so stop dwelling; stop circling the loop of your sin in your head.  Stop condemning yourself.  Don't stay in the place of 'I did wrong.' You confessed so trust that My forgiveness is Absolute.  Also remember my Truth is Absolute and that is what you live by, not how you feel or even sometimes what you think about.  When you don't reject what the enemy says about you out of hand, you are playing into his hands.  I will never forsake you, I promised! And I keep my promises.  Because of that, lift your head up.  Go and sin no more because you are in Me and that will never change. 

With that kind of message, how could I help but feel? It was a restoration of mind and soul-purpose. I fell asleep Monday night with a smile on my face. Literally!  I've been doing everything (including prayer, praise, work, parenting, being a wife, laundry, driving....literally everything) with renewed excitement and vigor ever since.

2. The Lord will connect the dots, just trust and wait because it is coming before you realize it.  When I look at all the progress in my own spiritual life, as well as the life of my church, it is simply mind blowing.  In what feels like years but is really months, He is starting to make to break down walls and kindle the fire of revival in our city.  He is doing it in such a personal, loving way.  It is almost like He has us in the nursery, caring for us like a mother of a baby.  One day soon, we will be invited into a "Big Kid Room" but until then, our job is to explore, to play, to learn about Him and His goodness.  He has to prepare all of us, His timing is perfect, so we will be satisfied with where we are, knowing more is coming.

When it does come, we will be ready.  Not because we will be independent but because we have learned to be so dependent on Him.

3. Praying big and praying hard is sometimes very, very hard.  Last night before I went to sleep, I was continuing to read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  It was more than a little prophetic when I read these words, 

If you can trust God when the answer is no, you're likely to give Him praise when the answer is yes.  You need to press in and press on.  By definition, praying hard is praying when it is hard to pray. And it's the hard times that teach us to pray hard.  But if you keep praying through, the peace that transcends understanding will guard your heart and your mind.  So sometimes the answer to our prayers is no and you'll never understand why.  But here's some good news: What we perceive as unanswered prayers are often the greatest answers. (p. 124)

When I got up for my 3 am prayer-fast-listening time, I discovered a text from a mom whose little boy has been on the edge of eternity.  We'd been praying for a miracle, no lie. It was going to take a miracle to save him and we've been asking for the last month - asking in faith, believing God would do it.  I'd had visions of him as a teenager, walked his hospital room in the spirit and thrown my stone of faith against the Goliath of cancer.  Just last night at our URPrays meeting, we were still declaring in confidence God would do it.

The text from his mom told me Jesus took him home Tuesday afternoon.  From 3 - 4 am this morning, all I did was cry.  All the Holy Spirit (and my husband) did was hold me as I cried.

This morning, I received 2 other pieces of bad news, seeming more "Nos," to other big prayers I'd been praying.  Yet, none of this shakes my faith.  I know I don't know it all. On my face in the wee hours this morning, the Lord impressed 2 Scriptures on me: John 11:35: Jesus Wept; and 1 Corinthians 13:12: For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror...Now I know in part.

I feel free to weep, to mourn with my friends in the loss of their child.  I carry a heavy heart for another friend who lost her daughter, leaving her young grandchildren without a mother.  I am burdened for the young couple whose baby will live for less than an hour after she is born.  I am wounded for them all and I know I don't know what to pray. 

Yet, I know someone else who was wounded for us, for our healing.  It is by His stripes we are healed.  Whatever form the healing takes, that is up to God.  That stings to say, but it is true. My job is to pray, the Lord's job is to answer, however He chooses.  I will continue to bring my friends to the Wounded Healer of Galilee, secure in the knowledge that what I don't know, He does.  His love covers them, much more than mine can.  Mine is limited, His is not.  My knowledge is incomplete, His is full.

His tender mercies are new every single morning.  For me.  For You.  For them.  I'm counting my life on it.

Mark Batterson also writes: Work like it depends on you.  Pray like it depends on God.

I'll do both, for myself, my friends, my church, for others He brings into my path.  My prayers will not always be answered the way I think, but I know He will answer.  I know He will work it all out for our good and His glory because we love Him and He loves us.  Love covers a multitude.

I'll end with a simple prayer, as that is about all I've got today.  Sometimes simple is exactly what we need.

Dearest Lord, I don't always get it.  I am not tall enough to see what You see. So, I will just trust that You do see.  You see my pain and the pain of others. You know that pain, so please carry it for them. Don't let it overwhelm them. Let Your light shine on and in them. Heal what needs to be healed, still.

But most importantly, Lord, help us. Keep doing what only You can do.  Thank You for Your peace that surpasses all understanding and please continue to pour it out, multiplying its effects on our lives.

I love You, Jesus.  I don't understand but I trust You.  Thank You, I lift up Your name because You are worth it. Amen.

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