Day 19: “Pray in the Spirit.”

What do you do when you don’t know what to pray? When this journey is over and there are no devotions landing in your inbox nor any clear direction?

Some of you enjoy the structure of having a thought to pray around; you you can easily find a devotion online or on the YouVersion Bible app.

Others write down your prayers like a Santa Claus wish list – all those wants and needs pouring out of you in desperate yearning like a child highlighting items in the Target ad circular.

You might pray “HELP!” when a desperate need arises. Or, you may have the same prayer you keep bringing before God day in and day out; it’s caught in your headspace like a bad pop song you heard yesterday that just won’t go away.

Prayer is as much about talking to God and sending up your heavenly airmail as it is about listening to what your God has to say to you regarding your situation. Oftentimes, the answers you seek are right before you as you calmly wait on God to intervene on your behalf. But, you are so busy shopping around for what YOU can do, striving to make stuff happen. You are box ticking and stretching yourself beyond your human capacity to work out the angles and to try and solve your problems, all the while crying out to God, “come along with my plans… bless them. Guide me as I jump off this next cliff. Save me as I step out to do more, more, more, more!”

What if you relax into his loving arms and do nothing today except pray in the spirit and wait? The most troubling situations you’re facing might resolve themselves without your angling and posturing. The answer you seek might be found in the secret place alongside your Saviour. He is intervening on your behalf. He goes before you. He is behind you.

Wait on him and give him a chance to come through for you.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

Romans 8:26-27
Advertisements

Patient Endurance

I can quote all kinds of phrases about success being a journey and not a destination.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Yet, when it comes to a big goal in life, I’m tempted to let the overwhelming process cause me to give up on my dreams.  How do we bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be?

One

day

at

a

time.

When I think about living in Australia, my brain gets bombarded with questions:

  • How are we going to get people to come to our house for church?
  • Will we ever have enough people to launch a real service?
  • Who will lead worship for us so its not cheesy?
  • Where is the money going to come from?
  • Will I need to get a job and if so, what will I even do?
  • Not to mention, “Where are we going to live?” and “what school is my kid going to go to?”

God clearly spoke and reminded me to take it

one

day

at

a

time.

He encouraged me that how we got where we are today wasn’t through some out of body experience that promoted us to “leader status.”  We got here one choice at a time.  Handling the small stuff each and every day brings progress.  After each of my three pregnancies, I gained 50 pounds; I wanted to lose weight immediately after I gave birth and ran a couple of miles.  Instead, it took nine months!  Early in our marriage, Greg and I were in heaps of credit card debt.  I wanted to get on a budget for a few months and see it all magically disappear.  Instead, a couple of years of strict financial discipline and working hard to earn extra money finally allowed us to pay it all off.

Think of this: the same logic we use to justify a bad decision can be used to gain positive momentum in life.  For example, I can look at a bowl of ice cream and say, “it’s just one bowl.  Eating it will not make me gain five pounds” (bad decision).  Or, I can look at it and say, “it’s just one bowl.  But, I’m not gonna eat it.”  If I do that consistently for a few weeks, I’ll lose five pounds.  The problem is, instant gratification often overrides this logic.  Instead of convincing ourselves that “a little bit won’t hurt” why not say “a little bit WILL help?”

The phrase “good things come to those who wait” is partially misleading. I guess it applies if you’re talking about standing in line to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Following the crowd mindlessly will eventually lead you to the ride.

For everything else in life, there’s work in the waiting.  While we are waiting to launch Lift Church, we are working hard.  There’s not much I can do today grow Lift Church, but I CAN grow myself.

Who we area today, is a direct result of the choices we have made over time.  The great news is: the person I want to become doesn’t depend on finding a genie in a bottle or winning the lottery.  I just have to work on today. Planting a church in Australia isn’t happening overnight.  The way we are going to get there is

one

day

at

a

time.

We will work while we are waiting.  Everyday, I spend time with God.  Everyday I pray.  Everyday I read my Bible.  Everyday I take care of my physical body through exercise and healthy eating.  Every paycheck, I tithe.   Discipline, praying for God’s favor, serving people, making the phone calls to raise money, keeping our family life a priority, networking.   Even when we don’t feel like it.  Day by day.  Little by little.  One bite at a time.  I’ve spent the last 35 years doing that.  So, today, I’ll just do it again. And tomorrow more of the same. And when worry or fear creeps up, I’ll just do it anyway.  And then, one day, I’m gonna wake up and realize, we have a church!

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36