Prayer Warriors Unite!

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Well ladies. This is gonna be rough. This post isn’t about telling you what I’ve learned and making it sound good and look pretty. Probably no fancy script. It will be only God who makes it cohesive.  There are so many thoughts running through my head.

Before sitting down to write, I assessed my needs. What do I need right now? This is what I came up with:

  1. a quiet place to sit
  2. somewhere to enjoy nature
  3. somewhere to get away from the mess (and smells). yeah smells.
  4. something cold to drink
  5. something to eat
  6. God’s presence
  7. someone to pray for me and with me

I am so stirred up. My anxiety is sky high. And I have 30 minutes before I pick up two beautiful, active, messy, needy preschoolers.

And let me just say, there is nothing in my immediate circumstances that is causing me discomfort. I am rested, fed, kids are taken care of, and there is no immediate crisis.

And just hours ago I emailed the CFSAT team to let them know that I had no new post for this week. It wasn’t gonna happen.

I admitted to them that I haven’t been able to focus. I’ve not been able to keep up with dishes, laundry, or housework.

I feel alive and encouraged, yet I also feel discouragement and fear rising up.

As a team, we (Called for Such a Time) are busily preparing for what God has called us to do on October 3rd.

The more I search God’s Word and ask Him to direct my steps, the more I feel the opposition. I have pages and pages and pages of insight from the Lord as to what He wants me to say on October 3rd. The words have been flowing on paper so easily. God is equipping me for what He has called me to do. Because let me tell you, public speaking is not one of my favorite past times.

Friends, Satan is directly opposed to us speaking God’s truth.

AND CAN I JUST TELL YOU: AS I JUST TYPED THAT LAST SENTENCE, A TRUCK PULLED UP IN MY NEIGHBORS DRIVEWAY AND UNLOADED TWO LAWNMOWERS AND MY SERENE FRONT PORCH IS NOW A BATTLE GROUND.

It’s actually quite hilarious. Like I’m gonna stop typing because of the grinding noise in my ears.

Plan B: Move inside to nice comfy couch, far away from diaper pail.

Carrots and cold drink in tow.

So…where was I?

Ah yes: SPIRITUAL WARFARE

(better save this document now)

So friends, we know that God is directing our steps. We anticipated Satan’s attacks and attempts to render us less effective. We have seen families and marriages be thrown off. We’ve been praying against all of that.

And today, I feel God telling us that Satan has NO power over us. God will be glorified. And I ask you to please join in praying for us, fortifying us, in the power of His name.

Will you please pray for us?

  • Will you ask the Lord to speak to our hearts as we prepare our talks?
  • Will you ask the Lord to help us find time and focus to prepare?
  • Will you pray against discouragement and fear?
  • Will you pray for unity and peace in our homes?
  • Will you pray for physical health for our team and our families?
  • Will you ask for unity among our team and the event staff?
  • Will you pray for clear delivery of the gospel and that the Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of each and every woman attending, including our team?

For each of you praying for us, we are grateful. Know that God will answer all of our prayers according to His will. We give Him all of the glory.

In His Grace,

Lisa

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Fruitful Prayer

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I don’t think I would have ever admitted this out loud to anyone, but I was done begging. Though still in the midst of a tremendous trial, I had long since gotten up, dusted my knees off and retreated to my own little lonely corner of disappointment and resignation. Because nothing was changing, I had given up on prayer. 

When faced with a major difficulty, I recognize my tendency to live in one of two extremes: take control and do it myself or, when that yields no results, completely submit myself to God’s sovereignty and give up. I’ve always known there is a danger in my theology, the danger of being so convinced of God’s sovereign rule in the universe, so sure that His plans will not be thwarted, that I become passive. I settle into “God’s going to do what God’s going to do” and fool myself into thinking I am surrendered to His kingdom. That I want His will over mine. But if I’m honest, I’m just giving up because I don’t think I have any other choice. 

Many years of walking with God have taught me that He often chooses not to answer the way I would like Him to. Unless the prayer is for something specifically promised in Scripture, like prayers for wisdom, peace, etc., I just don’t pray with confidence that, like a genie in a bottle, God will give me whatever I ask. Sometimes I just don’t ask at all. Yet I cannot forget the persistent widow. Why would Jesus tell me to keep coming, keep asking, keep putting myself out there if God’s mind is already made up? And then I remember Abraham.

Abraham’s been called out to follow God. He has no clue where he’s headed or how his story will end. And there it is over and over…

In Shechem, “he built there an altar to the Lord.” Gen. 12:7

East of Bethel, “he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.” Gen. 12:8

Back to the same spot in Bethel, “there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.” Gen. 13:4

In Hebron, “and there he built an altar to the Lord.” Gen. 13:18

And on the mountain, “Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound his son and laid him on the altar.” Gen. 22:9

At Beersheba, “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.”

The altar and the calling. In the unknown, when Abraham has no control and no idea what’s going to happen, he keeps building an altar and calling upon the name of the Lord. This is the life of a follower of God. This is for me. I sense God whispering, “It isn’t about your theology. In fact, this has nothing to do with your head, it’s about your heart.” So I dig a little deeper and He reveals what’s underneath it all- I am afraid to keep praying. Some of my dearest friends are afraid too. One said recently, “It’s just so hard to keep going to God every day while He is not changing my extremely painful circumstances. It feels like rejection over and over and over”. Yep, that’s it.

There is a therapy phrase used with couples trying to work through issues and develop a close, healthy relationship. If you truly desire to process through problems and build deeper intimacy, you’ve got to “show up to the show up place”. Very little changes in the relationship if one or both parties refuse to show up to actually work through the issues. People often choose not to show up because showing up can be incredibly painful. Maybe choosing not to go to God in prayer again and again and again is a way of detaching from intimate relationship with Him? I soon realize that I don’t have a theology problem, I’ve got an intimacy problem.

I’m terrified to show up to the show up place because it requires:

Vulnerability

Dependence

Trust

For those of us who have experienced great pain when we’ve opened up in relationships, that’s really scary.  We recognize the risk we are taking. Risk of pain. Risk of disappointment. Risk of rejection. But prayer is choosing to show up to the show up place anyway. It’s moving beyond an intellectual assent to spiritual truth and showing up in relationship with God. It’s about building an altar and calling upon the name of the Lord. Because these altars are the places where God is encountered.

“When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.” Oswald Chambers

God Himself is like no one else. He is always good, always loving, always faithful. He is the rightful ruler over all and His purposes will be accomplished. This is the God I encounter at the altar. And showing up in prayer is not always about moving this powerful God to action on my behalf, but moving Him to action within me.

It is also an act of obedience and trust. It is a continual:

* Recognition of His complete sovereignty.
* Admission of my utter helplessness.
* Radical dependence on Him.

This is child-like faith; approaching His throne and asking for what I need over and over and over and at the same time declaring “Thy will be done”. When I pray this way, I am aligning my will with His and saying, “Father, this is what I desire, and I believe that You, O gracious, good and sovereign God, will do rightly”. Ultimately, I pray without the assurance that He will do exactly what I ask, but with complete confidence that He will do what is best.

“Our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything that God knows.” Tim Keller

I can trust that whatever the outcome, it is for my ultimate good and for His glory. I may experience disappointment and pain in the short term, but the results will produce eternal gain, in His kingdom and in me! When I meet Him at the altar in prayer, I begin to care about what He cares about. I begin to seek His kingdom and His righteousness in my life, and I start to look more and more like Jesus. While He might use my prayers to move mountains, He will use my prayers to move me. Into deeper relationship, deeper trust, deeper obedience. Because prayer isn’t just fruitful when God gives me what I want. It’s most fruitful when God makes me what He wants.

Held by Him,
Leslie

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