August 5, 2014

drawing closer for #21DaysofPrayer

It is possible (likely, even) that I am one of the least disciplined people you will ever meet. You might see, if you met the rest of my family, that the trait is inherent. Perhaps genetic. Goodness, the temptation is great to blame them for the way I behave. I want so much to say, "I waste time because my parents raised me this way."

That would be a cop out. I know I'm responsible only for myself and my own behavior. And God is impressing on me daily how each hour (no, moment!) is a gift from Him to be used diligently for His kingdom.

I've been struggling for years to get myself in line with certain ideals: routines I ought to adhere to and lists I ought to keep. I'll get up on that horse and ride it for a few days or even a month or two. Inevitably, I fall off the horse and quit trying to maintain my routines. Then, I get slovenly again. That might be a harsh descriptor (Slovenly. Ugh, that just sounds terrible!), but I don't know another way to describe it.

Along with learning each moment is a gift comes the Spirit reminding me how deep is God's grace for me. Perhaps, in imitating the Father, I should learn also to extend myself more grace. Because He gives me more grace. And more and more and more. Why am I so hard on myself?
Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8a)

Prayer changes things


This week begins 21 Days of Prayer, a twice-yearly tradition at my church. I never get into it as much as I think I should. For one thing? I have such trouble waking up early. Every morning, a prayer service begins at 6 am CST.

And there's good news! The service also streams live, so if you can't make it to the church or one of the satellite campuses on time, you can tune in online! Even that hasn't been enough (historically) to get me to commit to participating with all my heart. Most of the time, I might prop my computer open on my bedside table and fall asleep in the middle of the hour- maybe once or twice during the three weeks.

This morning was day two, and Eric woke me gently at 5:30 as he headed out the door for work so that I could participate. Groggy-eyed, I stumbled to the kitchen for coffee and prepared my heart for worship.

Corporate prayer time in unity with the church body turned into private prayer time in the shower, and with my blow dryer running this morning, and as I put laundry in to wash at 7:28 am and pulled Hawk out of his crib at 7:52.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
How powerful is this discipline. How much life it brings to my heart! Two days in, and I can feel the hard places crumbling off my spirit and softness returning to my soul.

There's nineteen days remaining in this season of prayer. That's nineteen opportunities for me to come into God's presence and seek nearness to His heart. Nineteen possibilities of failure to keep my promise. Eek. Hear the disparity in those two statements? There's the divide between faith in my heart and the tendency to turn it into a religious behavior that echoes hollow of God's desire for my life.

This month, I'm praying for God to teach me how to be more wise with my time. Organized with my blessings. Intentional with my actions. Faithful with my word and deed. And kind to myself when I fall short, as I'm sure I will.

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While I'm participating in this season of prayer, I'd like to extend an invitation to you to join along with me. You can tune into the daily prayer services at 6 am CST, Monday through Friday and 9 am CST on Saturday (Sunday worship is at 8 am, 9:30, 11:30 or 6 pm) by clicking here. Also, if there is anything you'd like me to pray for you, you can send me a private email by clicking here. I'd be honored to join with you in believing on God for miracles to happen!

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