Tomorrow, I’ll be going on a social media fast for the remainder of this month. I have much to reflect on and listen and talk to God about after a powerful and inspiring week at Mary DeMuth’s writer intensive in Switzerland at the beginning of October and a beautiful month of publishing others’ testimonies in the 31 Days of Miracles series together with Debbie. I look forward to sharing more with you all when I return in December.
I’d like to leave you with a portion of a post I published a year ago now, in my first month of blogging. May it bless and still your heart, as it did mine in re-reading it.
Prayer – An Invitation into His Heart
In contemplating what to write on today, I have repeatedly had the topic of prayer come to me, in many different ways. And then I read Robin’s post on the fruit of the Spirit at Living My Portion. It made me reflect on how prayer is us turning to God, so that His Spirit can bear the fruit mentioned in Galatians 5: 22 – 23, namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5: 22 – 23):
Luke 11: 13 (NIV)
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Prayer is not just us asking God for something, it is us being in communion with the Spirit of God. It is us being taken “by the hand” and guided “into all the truth there is”, as He leads us to pray for that which is within His will to give us:
John 16: 13 (The Message)
I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’
John 15: 16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
And so, when we are led to pray for family members and friends, for the needy in our communities, neighborhoods and those abroad, it is the Spirit leading us in the Love of our Heavenly Father. As His heart aches for His earthly children, His Spirit leads us to intercede for them before the throne of God, just as His Son intercedes for us when we are too broken to utter a word:
Romans 8: 26 (NIV)
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.
In reflecting on these Scriptures, I am starting to understand why I am so often brought to tears, as I am led to pray for others who are in deep need. It is His Love and His Heartache that is moving within me. But what I also realize, is that the more space I make for Him within me, through quietening my soul before Him, the more prayers I am moved to pray and the more of His Love I am moved to accept and give.
One of the most powerful experiences I have had of this is when I was running in the park close to my house. I ran past an elderly man with a walker, who was obviously struggling, as he slowly trudged forward in his dishevelled-looking clothes. I felt the LORD call me to go to Him. And so after hesitating for a moment, I did. I chit-chatted with him about the weather and then feeling uncomfortable with the whole thing, walked away. And yet as soon as I got running again, it was as if the LORD was physically pushing me back, as if to say: “I’m not done yet.” A little voice in my head said: “Tell him that I love him. Tell him that I see him. Tell him that I see just how tough life is for him.” And so I did, as I placed my arm around him, even though I felt repulsed by his dishevelled appearance and drooling mouth. And as I did so, the tears began streaming down his face. He was visibly moved by the words, by the blessing spoken out upon him.
Several weeks later I saw him in my neighborhood. He was running with his walker, really running, with a huge smile on his face, as someone else shouted out: “Are you training for a marathon?” and he just laughed! A few months later I saw him again as I was biking home from dropping my daughter off at school, with my youngest with me. I felt a nudge to stop and chat with him, but pushed the nudge away. To this day, I regret not stopping, not accepting God’s invitation to show His love.
As Jamin Googin and Kyle Strobel put it in Beloved Dust (p.157):
Every emotion, task, relationship and event in your life is an invitation to be with the Lord.
And yet sadly, all too often, I fail to accept this invitation to be in communion with Him, to feel His heart, to hear His voice and to speak and actively gift His Love to both others and myself.
Prayer, communion with God, is a gift of love He holds out to us all, eagerly awaiting our response, so that we too may bear more fruit in this life He has given us, just as those who have gone before us have done. May I move to accept this gift with open hands.