The Lord is always full of surprises.
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity in our personal lives, and my schedule is filling up for the next two weeks with a variety of friends and activities.
So, last week when I was being forced to leave my peaceful and quiet routine and had no time to do the things after the fashion in which I usually do them, I asked the Lord, "Do you want me to stop doing my blog?" And he replied instantly (in the twinkling of an eye),
"No, what I would like for you to do is to walk and chew gum at the same time."
Wow, Lord. Okay. Then came:
"When was the last time I asked you to do something and failed to give you everything you needed to get it done?"
Never. Not ever. You never fail to give me far, far more than I would have thought possible.
"Okay, then. I'll take care of the blog. Just lay that concern aside. Here's what I want you to do right now..." This sounded like the Lord's version of '.... this is your assignment, should you choose to accept it.' Of course, he knows I would never turn Him down. I love him too much. He can depend on me, and He knows that perfectly well. He was just reminding me that my original question was unnecessary; I already knew the answer but was indulging in a bit of spiritual whining.
It occurred to me that perhaps you might like a peek into my conversations with the Lord, since prayer is often the most frustrating and misunderstood part of our Christian lives. So, here's the deal. The reason prayer is often so hard is because, frankly, we just don't have time for God. We don't seem to apply the same rules of personal relationships to Him. But I think the answer is simple. If we want stimulating and rewarding relationships (with anyone) we need to really get to know that person. How can you have an intimate and satisfying relationship with someone you just wave to in the morning? You give your neighbor that much time.
There's only one way to develop a tight relationship with the Lord. He reveals himself only through His Word - the Bible - through the offices of the Holy Spirit. The first time or two or three times through the Bible is hard. You need to just determine you are going to do it on a regular basis. On my third time through, as I recall, is when the Lord really began to reveal himself to me. I asked him to teach me. I also had a list of hard questions. I don't remember ever waiting more than a week or two before He answered each one. I no longer keep a list; I just ask as I go. I have fewer questions by far these days. Of course one question always leads to another, so there's no end to it.
Some of the answers were hard to accept - especially the ones about God himself. To get to know God can actually be disturbing. Most likely, he's not who you think he is when you first start out on the journey. This trip (if you persevere) is the most exciting thing in life. There were times I was on my face before the Lord, sometimes I was on my knees before the Lord. Sometimes when a huge difficulty arose, I would run to my chair, get down on my knees and pour out my heart (with many tears). Most of the time, however, I just talk to the Lord as if he was physically present with me at all times. And he always speaks to me. Not in words, of course. Granted, that's the hard part. But the reason he doesn't show himself in person to us is because what he values most is FAITH. (Hebrews 11) If we could see him - or experience Him (charisma) - we wouldn't need faith, and he values that above all else.
I've never had trouble loving God, although I have argued with him, sometimes vehemently. Once, however, I understood that He created us specifically for companionship, to be his friends and family, I was eager to please him. This knowledge never fails to overwhelm me. It is true - and indeed incredible - that the creator of the universe would want a relationship with me. I will never get over it.
He has blessed me from childhood with a strong faith, but nothing like as strong as it is today. I never thought I would be able to say this, but I can truly say that I never worry about a thing. God has worked so many miracles in the lives of my parents (who are now with him!) and now in our own lives that I have total and utter confidence that my days are orchestrated by him.
God will never fail to surprise you. He does things in the strangest ways. That's one of the signatures of his working. He leads you places you would never go, has you do things that make no sense at all at the moment, and works things out in such strange and wonderful ways that I frequently laugh with delight. We laugh together!
I rarely pray for myself - not because I don't need it - but because he knows every single aspect of my life. He already knows what I need, when I need it. Why would I add confusion to his perfect knowledge and plan? I'm absolutely positive that he has protected me from harm, even death, more than once. I'm as sure as I can be that angels attend me at times. (This, I believe, is sometimes aggravating to the Dark Side.)
The past few years intercessory prayer takes up the bulk of my prayer life, except that thanksgiving and praise is absolutely first. My heart is so overflowing with praise to my Father that most of the time I can hardly contain it. I am a joyful person. The Lord has been so good to me, and I have often wondered why, because there were years in my life when I was a disobedient child. That was long, long ago and far, far away, though :-)
I finally understand why it's the older people who pray for others (they are the ones who've been there and truly care for the travails of others) and why it's the older people who can't wait 'to get to heaven.' We need the rest, plus we've seen it all before. We can accurately predict how most things will turn out. Why do you think your children and grandchildren don't want to hear your advice?
Speaking of rest, though, I can honestly say that I've had double the energy the past two weeks that I've had in months. See what I mean about the Lord providing? And I just realized this about the energy as I was writing this. Now I'm on this writing frenzy (thanks, Lord....)
Well, I've been rambling here. There is so much more to be said about prayer. My real home is in heaven; I'm just here to do what the Lord put me here to do. So if you really want a prayer life, get to know him. Get that Bible out and commit yourself to reading it - over and over. Ask him to reveal himself as you read, and he will. I'd stake my life on it.
In fact, I have staked my life on it.