Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Last night I had the chance to attend our churches' 7Fourteen Prayer Gathering, and I am so thankful I took the time to go. I didn't get a lot of sleep the night before, and we spent most of the day traveling and settling back in at home, so I'll admit I was planning to stay home with Lorelei and offer to let Jordan go. He offered first, and I knew despite being tired, I wouldn't regret spending an hour in prayer. While prayer is a daily, ongoing part of my life as a follower of Christ, it can also feel hurried or restricted when set between the busyness of each day's activities. The prayer gathering was a unique time to freely and openly speak and listen to God that encouraged and strengthened my heart.

I found myself surprised at how much focus it took for me to discipline my mind and heart toward an hour of focused prayer time, especially during those times I wanted to commit to just listening for what God might have to tell me. Giving 100% of my devotion and focus for just one hour was a great exercise and reminder that I need to continually clear away distractions from my life. One of the reasons I believe prayer is so vital to our Christian lives is that it shines a light on who we are and where are priorities lie. When praying for the grace and strength to love my neighbors, God convicts my heart of moments I have been unloving or judgmental. When asking God for guidance I realize how much of my own desires and dreams can guide my actions and decisions. There is so much to be gained through prayer, but not in the way we often think. Yes, God does sometimes grant us our desires and bless us with things we hope for. Yet, the true blessing and gain comes from being made more like Jesus Christ himself, dying to my old nature and putting on the new nature of God.

True prayer, the earnest seeking of God and His will for my life, reforms my spirit and allows me to be yielded to the plan God has. Instead of spending time asking for more, I have been focusing on exalting God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, asking for discernment and guidance, and requesting that my heart be sensitive to the needs around me. In no way do I think it's wrong to ask God to meet our needs and allow us to accomplish great things, but when this becomes the purpose of prayer, I believe we miss out on many amazing blessings and gifts.

By the end of the hour, which was closed with an a capella version of "How Deep The Father's Love For Us" (one of my very favorite songs), I felt as relaxed as I do after a visit to the spa! The dim lighting, flickering candles, beautiful instrumental renditions of beloved hymns, and time to free my mind from the pressures of everyday life, left me able to fix my eyes on my dear Jesus. What a gift and an honor to worship and serve a God who is living, active, and available to all who claim the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as their salvation!


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