The idea of prayer fascinates me. I can’t say that I have an endless list of specifically answered ones yet, but the way the Bible talks about this idea of asking God for things that are in line with his will and seeing our faith activate those things… it intrigues me to no end.
For instance when Jesus’ disciples asked him how they should pray, he drops this little nugget on them, telling them to say: “Your kingdom come, your will be done…” This being before the cross, the implication is that anyone who would turn to God and pray has the authority to ask that earth would become like heaven. According to their faith let it be done to them. I heard once that the greatest way God can answer the prayers of his saints is when he makes us all into the answer for each other’s prayers.
God’s plan is to establish the kingdom of heaven through his church. The kingdom, that upside-down paradise where wrongs are made right and self-righteousness is turned on its head. The kingdom where beggars are invited to the table reserved for royalty and where those comfortable insiders start getting uncomfortable. We can play a part in establishing it on the earth.
So I always wondered what my part in it was. Because obviously the values of this current world and that soon and coming kingdom are incompatible.
I felt a growing frustration. Going through a difficult season, I increasingly began to believe that my position as a believer and a dreamer was to stand between the corruption of the old and the ideal of the new, grasping one in each hand, and mustering whatever strength I could to pull the two together. How else is it possible to spend time in troubling and confusing situations without losing your faith? I felt like a tendon, strained to the breaking by the pressure of my responsibility to pull heaven down to earth.
I managed for a season, but I am weak and do not have the strength to pull two kingdoms into alignment with my bare hands.
Out of necessity, I spent more time seeking God. Originally it was out of a desire to refuel, replenish; reload. But in his mercy, I think God helped me see something.
If this kingdom is a body, I’m not a tendon, I’m a vein. Though I’m easily pressured, lifeblood flows through me, and it’s not a matter of my strength, but of my affiliation, my connection, my direction. Recently I’ve been intentional about spending more time in prayer, meditation, reading scriptures, etc. When I spend time opening myself up to the kingdom of heaven, it comes into me. As I go through my days I spend less time worried about pulling it down into the earth and more time free to release the things that are stored up inside of me. I am a vein not a tendon, and love and justice and mercy flow through me.
Some thoughts on “spending time” with God:
Being with God doesn’t take effort, but it can take discipline.
It’s easier to discipline your schedule than it is to discipline your actions.
Rather than trying to change your behavior, simply change your source. (Less entertainment, more meditation, prayer, Bible, etc.) (Your input determines your output.)
Prayer isn’t just about “giving God your time,” it’s about giving him your attention. Considering him as you make decisions, think thoughts, etc.
Let me know how you’re enjoying these “Follow” posts, and share them if they resonate with you. I’m having a blast writing them, and more importantly, living them. (It’s challenging- I have to live it before I can “preach” it.)