Much of my life, I viewed prayer as a chore to be done that I was always failing at. Like cleaning the toilet often enough, like paying the bills, like cleaning out cobwebs in the corners of my house. A lovely task that in coming to Christ, I both viewed as a new responsibility and yet one in which I was overwhelmingly unequipped.
About three years ago, I entered a very broken, humbling time in my life. Everything circumstantially was in shambles. Our family had experienced multiple deaths of close family and friends, we were deeply in debt financially, and I was exhausted. Out of desperation, I joined a prayer group that was committed to growing in prayer and meeting quarterly for prayer retreats for two years. It was through this practice in community, that I began to experience prayer as anything but a chore. It became a beautiful, intimate place of quieting my soul and for once, listening more than talking. I began to experience prayer as a gift, not as a chore or task.
As a profession, I am a birth doula, serving birthing mothers and families in their
pregnancies and ultimately walking with them side by side in their births. Over and over, I have seen a mother’s very breath and rhythm of breathing directly affect her baby’s heartbeat over a monitor. As she slowed her own breathing and began to breathe deeply and intentionally, the baby’s heartbeat went from frenetic to regular and steadied. This is such a great picture of what I have been experiencing in prayer and a powerful picture of the Lord’s intent for prayer for us. We know we are connected to Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, but prayer is the experience of allowing God’s very breath to steady and slow our frenetic heartbeat, our anxious living, resting completely in interdependence with Him.
Hi ladies … we had a great H2H yesterday afternoon. If you were there, it was great to see you! And what fun to do the spiritual gifts survey. Lori did a great job going over the scriptures on spiritual gifts and what a great time we had in worship.
If you were unable to make it, we missed you and wanted you to have the opportunity to take the survey yourself. So, we’ve added it to our Resources page. Click the link and just scroll down a bit and you’ll find it. You can download it and print it out to take the survey on your own.
Even at the tiniest of ages thoughts about who we are begin to form. This happens by things that are said or assumed, looks sent our direction or even to something past us that we don’t realize is there. Comments made about the way we did something … even if they’re positive comments. Expectations of what we might do in the future … etc.
A vision of who we are or are going to be begins to form …
But at the same time that vision is forming from comments and things from things in this world, something is happening … something else is in the oven … God has a plan … one that couldn’t be seen …
Let’s change directions a little …
I was thinking about what it’s like when we’re wanting God to do some thing in our lives and feel as though nothing is happening makes me think of the process of baking.
When you first start out to bake or cook the early preparation that’s being done doesn’t really show any evidence that something is going to be baked. You might be thinking about the recipe in your head or what recipe you might use. You might put a list of supplies down on a piece of paper or into your phone so that you’re ready when it’s time to go shopping. And then you go and you do the shopping. You’re there in the store and you see people and they see you but no one knows what’s happening. And then you bring the supplies home and still maybe no one really knows that you are preparing to bake or make a meal. It isn’t until you actually start to bake or cook and the fragrance of the food fills the air that it is realized something is up. Something is happening. A work is truly in progress.
When we open our hearts to God, it’s like that … the preparation is being done … we’ve read the word … we’ve prayed … we’ve said yes to God … no one can see in the early stages that something is happening. No one knows the great work God is doing in our lives. As we persevere. As we walk in obedience and follow His plan … slowly things begin to develop … things begin to change in our lives … the fragrance of what He is doing in our lives begins to be evident …
The transformation process is happening …
We are dining with Him and He with us …
The veils have been removed from our faces and we are being changed … transformed … from the randomness in our lives … like the random supplies in your cart … God takes all the ingredients He’s put into you and is making something beautiful … something useful … something tasteful and something good.
He wants you to know that He loves you more deeply than you can imagine. That you are very important. That He is doing a bigger work in you than you can know. When the fragrance of that work begins to show in your life it will be more evident. So be confident of this and wait on Him.
p.s. This is a word the Lord gave me which I shared at our team retreat in January and a repost from my own blog at sixteenmilesout.com
The willingness of Jesus, who created this world, to submit to his Father and “recreate” himself to be limited by a body like ours is hard to fathom. God becoming flesh goes beyond limited. He was restricted by circumstances so inconceivable that humankind is compelled to replace the wonder of “Immanuel…God with us,” with serene nativities, inspirational music, and sentimental holiday reflections, at best.
In reality, we cannot fathom the incarnation. To picture the baby born in the stable hanging on a cross is horrifying. But, perhaps that is the connection we need to make. It’s what Jesus did. The same Creator that lay in the wooden manger carried the splintery crossbar through Jerusalem’s streets. The Christ child found under the bright star in the East wore his gift of frankincense under blood-soaked grave cloths. He loved us beyond the limits of our finite minds and our fragile hearts. He still loves us that much. Such love…such wondrous love.
Prayer: Lord, I am not worthy of your sacrifice—the sacrifice that began the moment you left your place as Creator and became created. Yet, you call me to yourself and smile when I lean your way.
Thought for the day: Am I seeing God’s glory in Christmas?
Prayer focus: Those who are offended by the true meaning of Christmas.
I ran across this recipe on my desk and thought what better time than fall to share it with all of you! Mindy Meade made this for a women’s event several years ago and it is so delicious! I hope you save it and try it out.
Do you have a recipe you think we might enjoy? If so, send it to me and I’ll put it on the blog for you.