28 May 2012

Without ceasing...

Yesterday was Sunday, yes.  And it was Pentecost Sunday, yes.  And it was the Global Day of Prayer, again.  For many years I have organized and led prayers gatherings for this day that the whole world prays, so I was not surprised to be asked to give leadership to yesterday morning's time of worship.  I was also asked to share a short message, a meditation of sorts.

Here then, is what I shared:

The grounding scripture for The Global Day of Prayer has always been:

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The Lord gave me words to a poem or maybe it is a song without melody:

What we sow in tears
we shall reap in joy
if we humble ourselves and pray.
Casting out our fears
we are in Your hands
when we humble ourselves and pray.
We are quickened by the rhythms of Your heart
and strengthened by the power of Your love.
We are welcome to come boldly to Your throne
to hear the words that only You could say.
Freedom waits for us
in Your presence Lord
when we worship You day by day.
You will hear our cries
and will heal our land
if we humble ourselves and pray

I’ve known a lot of people however, who are not sure if they really know how to pray. The whole thing seems somehow mysterious and complicated. Sure, it’s not too hard to recite a prayer that has already been prepared, like what we’ve been doing this morning, and indeed the words are powerful, especially when millions of people join in the same prayer.

In the New Living Translation, Ephesians 3:12 says:

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence

I really sense that our loving Lord wants us to know that praying is not so much about ritual and formula but all about relationship and time spent with Him. About boldly coming into His presence…

Brother Lawrence wrote the book called Practicing the Presence of God. He spoke about how he had chosen to spend every minute of every day aware of the Lord’s presence with him, whether he was worshipping, praying, or washing the dinner dishes. He said:
There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.
A continual conversation. I think that might be what Paul meant when he told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to Pray without ceasing

While I was spending quiet time with the Lord, asking Him what He wanted me to share today, He led me back to something He had told me a couple of years ago about prayer time…

Listen - less talking - more listening - even as the quiet waiting may feel strange or uncomfortable.
I sometimes find it hard to be heard in all of your chattering.
If you come to Me filled with your own understanding, how can I teach you?
If you already know what you're looking for, how can I show you something new?
Listen. Wait. Let My Spirit move you. Laugh. Weep. Pace. Dance. Release the words The Holy Spirit gives you - even if only the Spirit can understand. For I tell you, the Holy Spirit will interpret the mysteries of your prayers.
The Spirit works to both explain Me to you - and explain you to Me - a conduit working in both directions - a highway you can choose to travel straight to My heart.
Are you willing to come?

 Henri Nouwen said:
Why is it so important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It's important because it's the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you "my beloved daughter," "my beloved son," "my beloved child." To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being
Let’s take a moment then, right now, to come before Him, not only as a group, but as individuals, to listen to what His heart wants to share.

Lord, we love you and are always filled with wonder at the thought that You would desire to talk with us. I know that You know the things that are concerning us this day, the people we know that are hurting, or lost or sick. For now, we leave that list of needs and requests in Your capable hands and simply come, as You requested, to allow You to speak into the centre of our beings. As we take this time in silence, speak Lord, for indeed Your servants are listening.

Even though it was my own voice doing the speaking, my spirit heard...
So I'm joining with Michelle today, praying that I use what He chose to share


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