Welcome to my blog! Odd title you say? Yes, maybe, but I bet you would agree with me that life is chaotic! I'm mindful though, in the midst of the chaos, of Colossians 3:17 "Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father!" I thank God that my life gets to be chaotic...I know that through the chaos He is transforming me to be more like Him!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Doing or Praying?

Does doing seem better than praying to you? No, really. Does DOING seem better than PRAYING in your mind? In your life? It can be a real struggle - finding it easier to just do "good" things than to actually spend time in prayer with the Father. And when I say prayer, I'm not talking about the hurried "God bless these french fries," or "Help me have a good day." I'm talking about prayer. I'm talking about the fellowship with Christ that Calvin Miller describes "can only be experienced at a wilderness table for two." You and God. Alone. Away. Intimate.

We find ourselves having plenty of time to "do" but not enough time to "pray." Life is hurried, at least that's our excuse. In fact, I wonder if it would be accurate to say that most of our hurriedness with God is actually just a cover up for laziness? We say that we don't have time to meet with God and stare deep into the inside of who we are when, in fact, we don't want to make the effort. We know that coming face to face with God will require US to change. It will require a realignment of our priorities, and we really don't have time to re-prioritize.

Then, we catch ourselves asking Him why things didn't go as we planned. "God," we plead, "I told you to do this, and you didn't!" We wonder why our relationship with God feels stagnate, and assume that He is the One being distant. And so we don't pray. We don't have time. We are too busy doing {ministry}. We think about it from time to time, but we don't want to. We know we should spend time in prayer, but we feel as if God isn't listening anyway. Unfortunately, this type of arrogance keeps so many from experiencing the fullness of an everyday, passionate relationship with our Father.

Hebrews 10:19-22 describes the way made for us into the Holy of Holies.
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."

These verses tell us that we can have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place, that is, intimacy with God, whenever we want to because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He made a way. He opened the curtain. In fact, He ripped it...which to me is such an awesome picture of how much He loves us and wants us to come to Him. A.W. Tozer, in his book The Pursuit of God, asks, "[So] Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God?...We sense the call is for us, but we still fail to draw near. The years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What hinders us?"

Too many times the answer to that question is self. We quit praying because we didn't get the answer from God we wanted. We feel as if God is distant because WE didn't get what WE wanted and thus, have stopped communicating with Him on an intimate level. We don't understand what God is doing, and we frustrate ourselves trying to figure it out on our own and give up. Days go by. Weeks. Months. Years.

Once we finally realize our stupidity and selfishness, the question then becomes, "how do I get that intimacy back?" It seems like work. The truth is, it is work. It's work because it insists that we deny our self and confess our selfishness before God. It's work because it insists that we change our agenda and make it His. But it's far worth it. In fact, what's the point of living a holy life if you aren't even communicating with the Holy One? Doing good must not be our passion. Being good must not be our passion. Being one with our Father must be our passion. As Calvin Miller notes, "We must practice prayer in order to develop a passion for prayer." But to lust for God is a glorious passion. It's what we were created for. In fact, we aren't experiencing the life God wants us to live if we aren't experiencing intimacy with Him on a daily basis. And if you're scared of having to stare deep inside yourself to get rid of the ugly self, just know that God's invasion back into your life replaces your guilt and self-incriminations with His glorious affirmation! Therefore, we can approach the throne of grace with confidence and find grace and mercy in our time of need. And if you're still feeling hurt that God didn't answer your prayers the way you wanted Him to before, be encouraged that God will give us the desire of our hearts as long as we crave Him, but that requires self-denial.

If you're struggling with your purpose in life or finding meaning in your life consider this statement. "This intimacy with Christ is a wonderful soul-to-soul life nurtured by the Savior in the very bosom of God - only there, where our souls merge, do we find the epicenter of meaning." (Calvin Miller) Isaiah 55:6 says, "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near." God never left you. We are the ones that seek our own way. He is near. He may be found. I pray that we will encounter Him today at a wilderness table for two, and approach the table with confidence that He is enthralled with our beauty (Ps. 45:11) because His blood has covered us.

"Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministry to the poor." Mother Teresa

"No individual's prayer life will be greater than the quality of his regular time set aside to meet with God alone." Jack Taylor

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