Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015: The Year of Prayer, Week 26

If you went to church with me last week, you might have seen me trying hard not to come apart during this song. Never heard it before but sometimes, the Lord comes upon me unexpectedly like that.  When that happens, your very spirit shifts.  Like tectonic plates moving around, an earthquake happens - in your soul, mind, body and ultimately in your life.

This song is called "Good Good Father" by Housefires.  I've listened to it about 49 times (that's 7 times per day if anyone is counting) in the last week.  To the point where my husband, every time he sees me with my earbuds in and tears streaming down my face says, "You are listening to that song again."

Deep within me I have been unsettled for most, if not all, of my life.  I've struggled against insecurity in every imaginable way.  It drove to me success in business but that's not a good thing I realize now.  Over two weeks ago, I woke up one morning and had enough of insecurity - especially about the way I look - running roughshod over my heart and mind.  I just got sick of living from that place myself.  I don't want to think badly of myself or steel myself as I go to look in the mirror.  I want to see and feel the connection to how others see me.  My body image issues are only just a symptom of a much deeper problem: I don't love what God

Yet, that is the core of this song.  It is the crux of our new life in Christ.  It is what the Apostle Paul was saying in Romans 8 (I think I need to memorize the whole chapter): Don't live the old way.  Live the new way, bought with a price and it lasts forever.  Please God, not just yourself or anyone else.

One of the things that struck me as I've listened to this song so much is......this must be what Jesus' prayer time was all about.  You read over and over and over again that He often escaped the crowds and His Disciples to go off to "lonely places" and pray.  (That's probably from the King James version).  And I've always wondered.....

What did Jesus pray about when it was just Him and His Abba?

Jesus came to meet His Father to remember Who He was and to be Beloved.  The world, even His closest friends, ran roughshod over His heart and mind too.  So, when it was just the two of them, Father and Son, I have no doubt it was not just face-to-face like Moses.  There had to be a deeper connection.  To me, Jesus' personal "quiet time" as we like to call it had to have been the most contemplative heart prayer ever.  I believe it was the real-time, whole-self integration of Him and God.  When I listen to this defines for me Jesus' personal prayer life....and I realized this week it can be my personal prayer life too.

Jesus prayed all kinds of prayers - He is our model for prayer after all.  And I lead a church prayer ministry, which is continuing to grow and expand.  I pray often for others and with all different types of prayers.  But more and more, in my own early morning time, it is VERY contemplative.  Sometimes so much centering is going on, I fall asleep...till I hear someone else wake up (then sort of scramble to look like I was "in prayer" and not just knocked out.)

(Come to think of it, I wonder if that time when Jesus was asleep on the boat during that really bad storm was after some centering/contemplative prayer....I look forward to asking Him about that someday.....among many other things!!)

My guess is Jesus needed this prayer time as much as I do because it is the only way to recharge after pouring out.  And He lived perfectly!  I don't.....AT ALL. I love the way Paul describes it in another letter,
 For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim or blurred reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma, but then, when the perfection comes, we shall see in reality and face to face!  Now I know in part (imperfectly) but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood, by God. (1 Cor 13:12)
We know imperfectly, in part, incompletely.  During this year of prayer, I keep coming face to face with that fact nearly every week (if not every day).  There are major limiters to my knowledge, gifting, love and ability.  Yet God, Who is Perfect Now, knows me perfectly now.  There is no shortage in His knowledge, even though there is shortage in mine.  I believe that better than anyone else ever has, Jesus lived from this place, when He walked the earth, of being fully known and loved by God.  And I've been living from my short-hand knowledge, not the fully, free-flowing script of God's love.  All my attention has been on how I come up short, not the completeness of the God I serve.

But no longer.  I no longer choose to live from the place of my lack.  I don't want to pray in a grasping, unsure way.  I want to rest and let it flow as it comes - whether that is in word, song or just silence.  What keeps getting me though is that God's love is perfect....all of His Ways are perfect.  And His perfect love loves us completely even when we are completely imperfect!

It's love so undeniable I can hardly speak.
It's peace so unexplainable I can hardly think.
As you call me....deeper still.

Courtesy of Rev Christian Washington
Some folks turn their noses up at contemplative prayer practices, saying they are only about the individual.  I agree when contemplation doesn't turn into conversion, conviction or connection with others.  I think Jesus went to those lonely places in His heart where He could open Himself up and let all the weights, cares and burdens of being the Messiah fall away - and as they fell, He was fully restored and empowered to live His mission.  It was after that communion He could walk with such power, forgiveness, strength and humility.  He could do the Father's work because He had the Father's heart - for Himself and others.  Such is the place I want to learn to live from.....that I'm starting to learn to live from.  Soaking up the goodness of my Good Good Father and going back to that well whenever the need arises.

What if we all started to live from that place? 

You are a Good Good Father...
It's who You are.
And I'm loved by You....
It's who I am.

It's a revolutionary thought.  If we stopped trying to do what Jesus did, never quite measuring up and rest in being fully known....then we could really let Him work through us.  It wouldn't be hard, stuff would just happen.  It's promised that way.

You are perfect in all of Your us.

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