This may be selfish. This may seem arrogant. But honestly, this isn’t about you. It’s about me.
And that’s where God started last night.
This past week I’ve felt really numb and disconnected in my conversations with God. Like something was missing. I knew I was lacking the overwhelming passion that I desperately wanted to have for Him; it just wasn’t there. I knew I should be praying for revival, praying for lost souls to know the freedom that is freely given, but my prayers felt dry and dusty and faded.
I’m not a dumb kiwi—I know when something’s not right inside me. When I got sick and chained myself to the couch a few days ago, I began watching some YouTube videos on topics such as prayer and the great commission. David Wilkerson’s “Call to Anguish” (which I posted earlier today) especially, gripped me in a way that I wasn’t expecting. My prayer life is generally not mixed with tears and agony. It has happened on occasion, but it is not the normal condition. My prayer life generally involves praying more about my life and venting about what I “don’t get” and my confusions, rather than asking for wisdom and guidance. I don’t pray for as many people as I could be. I have specific people I pray for as they come to mind, but I’m not as intentional about calling others to my mind and praying for them.
Laboring in prayer, me? No. “Hobbying” in prayer I guess would be more accurate.
But last night I wasn’t laboring or hobbying, I was hobbling in prayer. The song “Create in Me a Clean Heart” was played, and the line about “renew a right spirit within me” seared through my mind like a trio of sirens. We had been praying there at the church for almost two hours at that point, and finally I began to beg God for freedom against this barrier that was in my spirit, and asked that He show me anything, any sins, any whatever, that I needed to deal with. Like rotten apples they came falling off the tree, one by one; lazy patterns I’ve developed, conversations that needed mending, relationships needing restoration, music to delete, attitude adjustments, and other issues I needed to resolve. As I claimed these sins and acknowledged them before God, and understood the forgiveness that was now mine, I felt that barrier dissipate.
It’s one thing to read that Jesus has forgiven your sins—it’s an entirely different thing to bring your sins before Him and know you’ve been forgiven and that your severed relationship has been restored.
Did I “become” saved last night? No. Have I sinned in the past and had to confess? Yeah. Difference was, last night the freedom and release I’ve been praying for others to experience, God allowed me to experience. And I’ll tell you, there’s a difference of passion when you’re telling someone about something you’ve recently gone through first-hand.
Shifting gears a little bit, but sin has always been a barrier between us and God. Garden of Eden, bam!, prime example, and the rest of history has been suffering since. God, however, is way too smart to be surprised by the errors He knew we’d make. To summarize the Gospel message: He created us with a plan that would take the blackest of our guilt and folly and paint it into the final masterpiece, where His mighty love and heroic righteousness would be illuminated, and the deepest flaws of man spectacularly contrasted by the blinding purity and splendor of a Savior King.
And because God has rescued us from ourselves, we are free to serve Him! (This becomes especially exciting when you begin to realize you no longer have to suck up to being a miserable and pathetic, lifelong, losing loser.) When you leave Loserville and begin walking on God’s path (with Him leading), He gives you way more responsibilities which you would not be able to complete if you were only attached to your sinful flounderings.
I don’t want to waste my life on sinful flounderings…but the topic of not wasting life will be saved for another post.
I think I’ve blathered on enough for one night. My mind is going 27.3 different directions at the moment, and mostly I just wanted to share what God’s been doing in my life. As Christians we get used to our cute little clichés and catch-phrases, but it’s gotta start with us applying Scripture to our own lives; we have to be letting God convict sin in our hearts, we have to be acquainted with the forgiveness we tell others they need. We need to be demonstrating God’s love to our families and friends. It needs to begin with us.
It needs to begin with me.
“Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:35-37
Sometimes the hardest work in prayer is being able to sit and wait upon the Lord. When we are ready to listen, He will speak. Unless we are ready to listen, what would be the point of His speaking?
A prayer meeting where very few prayers are spoken…? Some would suggest that it was a fruitless exercise. However, I’ve seen fruit now in at least three lives as a direct result of our time together on Saturday evening. Thanks for the impetus. Let’s do it again in a week or two.