Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category
I don’t like those speed humps they have everywhere nowadays . I full out hate them. I am convinced if I could avoid them, my commute home would be 1.5 minutes shorter. But thanks to them, I have to slow down. (On a side note, I hit the bottom of my car because I did not slow down and it wasnt pretty). Last week as I was glaring at the “speed hump” road sign ahead, I thought about how much I need “slow humps”, as my friend calls them, in my day.
Most days I wince as I look at the clock and see it’s bed time. As I do a quick review of my day, I often have not taken the time to do any of the things that really matter. Instead dumb distractions like that darn phone with its gazillion apps or one more look online steal away the minutes and hours.
My name might be Mary with an “i” but really I am Martha.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41
I keep choosing the wrong things and I want to choose what matters.
I need slow humps to make me do just that, slow down. To slow down and take inventory of my emotions, my priorities, my purpose, my relationships, my God. Really, all of these can be taken care of with one action: prayer. Slowing down to pray, to express gratitude, to check my heart and intentions.
Sometimes I wish Christians were more like Muslims. I like how collectively they all stop to pray at set times throughout the day. That would come in handy for me! But I suspect if we did that it would become another task to do.
I am thinking of how to add these “humps” to my daily living, any ideas?
It’s been a prayer request of mine for years. Since I was 22 to be exact. A few years ago I told God (in a very nice way) that I was going to wait for Him to give me direction as to what I should do in this situation. And I waited. Or so I thought.
Truthfully though, praying about this unanswered request is painful for me. It brings up fears and memories and unbelief in me. So I don’t. I say quick “remember my request” prayers and move on. I avoid seriously praying about it unless circumstances make me desperate enough. Should I be surprised then that there is no answer? How could there be, if I am not listening?
I decided to face the fears, the pain that comes when I bring this prayer up to God. And so I prayed. Told God I was trusting Him to show up and guide me and I finished with up with “your will be done” and everything. It all felt very trusting of me.
Two minutes later and I am on my laptop “googling” possible solutions to my problem. Three pages in to my search results and I can feel the anxiety gripping me. How will God do this?! Look at all the strikes against me! What if He decides to answer it this way or that way? How would I cope? I can’t go through this again!
Hmmm. Not good.
I make a decision then. No Google. No “helping” God answer my prayer. Instead, only prayer. And waiting. I know the time for action on my part will come. But for this season, I need to be still and know that He is God. To listen for His voice, which I crave so desperately.
Promises I’m holding on to:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
My friend’s grandma says that things such as lies are “mistakes” and not sin. We all laugh. She’s old, senile maybe, we conclude.
Yet if I am honest, my own personal theology is not very different from hers. My sins, they are small (I secretly believe). Certainly not worthy of death (I don’t dare say out loud)! Some days I offer a blanket plea for forgiveness. I don’t name my sins daily as I do my needs.
Last week the words slipped out of before I understood what I was praying: “Lord, show me my sin as you see it”.
Years of Sunday sermons and Bible reading have taught me that my sin repulses the Father. And that for them the punishment is death.
I find myself appalled at my whispered thoughts.
I thought this was the struggle of new believers, of nonbelievers? 20+ years with God and I am now asking these questions?
Surely, I do not see my own sin as God sees it.
And I want to see. So my prayer is “Please God, let me see as you do”
Not long after (ah, these type of prayers are quickly answered, aren’t they?) I see. What once seemed far away now comes running towards me. Its green color claiming my attention.
I realize I had called it by so many other names, nothing offensive like Sin. And oh it is ugly, this sin. It makes me ugly inside. I want to be clean from it. I pray.
Please forgive me.
I am starting to see once again what I had forgotten. The sin-stench has been there all this time while I was busy looking for some scandalous sin before I bowed in repentance.
In this age of self-esteem just how wretched I am gets lost in positive words and affirmations promising that I am good and worthy. But that is a lie.
As I begin to see I see that I am none of those things. Not compared to God’s goodness and worth, and that should always be my measuring stick. This seeing makes it possible for me to receive the grace that elevates me to righteousness before God. And so He sees me as good and worthy not because of my own self but because I am covered in His Son’s holy righteousness.
It’s Monday afternoon and the receptionist phones me to let me know my 3 o’clock appointment is here. I pray. I used to go to my bookshelf and skim through books to prepare for my session, gather the necessary paperwork, and perhaps offer a quick “Help me God” as I ushered the client into my office. Now I simply pray.
As a counselor, I listen all day to people share their problems with me. When they finish, they wait for my feedback about their situation. Sometimes, if I’m being honest, I don’t know what to SAY. Sometimes the pain they’ve experienced runs so deep I am left speechless. and I know that my response to this can carry a lot of impact.
Will she think I’m crazy? Is this normal? Have I really messed things up? Is there any hope for me? This is what people usually are thinking as they sit in a counselor’s office. I want to make sure that what I say to them helps them feel safe and accepted, not judged and rejected.
This is what I’ve been thinking about at the beginning of this new year, the Year of Words. I have come to realize that I am most effective at my job as a counselor when I ask God to guide my words. I only see and hear so much. But God, He knows the person sitting before me intimately after all, He is their maker. I want to be His vessel through which he speaks to that person so that the words I share are not my own but his.
Whether it is a client seeking counseling or a friend, I have the opportunity for God to give me His words to speak. Whatever I have to say can never compare to the power of God inspired words. That is why I resolve to pray before I speak. That God would remove my selfish intentions, prejudices, and limitations so that His Spirit could lead my words.
Prayer before words.
“for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” -Luke 12:12
Then trust the Holy Spirit to give me the words they need to hear.
Counting my blessings…
60. A long lunch break with time to go to the mall
61. Leaving work early
62. Hope in the new year
63. Starting the year by scratching off one of my goals!
64. Celebrating another year of my mother’s life
66. Strength and words to help a girl through a terrible day
67. Photographing a wedding!
68. An afternoon in the park
69. quietly talking with God
70. My goddaughter’s squeals: “Manina! Manina!” (her name for me)
71. Gratitude for all I have RIGHT NOW and being at peace about what I dont have