I just miss it for lack of attention. When I pray with some intentionality, I should immediately anticipate God’s answer (whatever it might be). Most often, though, I pray and immediately forget about what I was praying about. I forget to then look for how God may be answering that prayer. I ignore and miss all the unusual things about my day. I see them as menial or distracting, and fail to connect them with the activity of an omnipresent, sovereign, omniscient God I had JUST spoken with.
When I pray I need to immediately begin watching and listening to what happens next. Be prepared to make adjustments to MY plan. The thought that God is not going to answer my prayer should never cross my mind.
God actively answers, I just rarely stick around to notice.
Reconciliation is impossible without looking at myself and saying, “I don’t want it to be this way. What do I need to change about myself to see things heal?”
Reconciliation has to begin with me approaching myself with the willingness to change. Reconciliation will NEVER happen if I expect the other person to change. Changing myself starts reconciliation. Changing the other person (if it were even possible) is control and only spawns more distance and hostility between the two parties.
This does not mean I should be willing to change myself and expect them to change in return. It means changing myself simply because I don’t want it to be this way in MY heart. I can only change my own heart and HOPE for a willing change in theirs, but not EXPECT a change.
How often I’ve asked and heard this question asked? In its various forms, the question is our heart’s scream to know what or what more God wants from us?
More and more, I believe the answer comes down to one thing.
Jesus replies, “Love the LORD your God with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
As I am daily ambushed by God’s outrageous love for me, I am more and more convinced that seeking God’s will for my life is the wrong search. But I should search for His will in my life, and His will is the same as it has always been.
He wants you to love Him with all that you are. Your experiencing God depends on you having a sincere and real relationship of love. I am more and more convinced that this is more important than any.thing.else in your life.
Every decision, big or small, everything in your Christian life, everything about knowing God and knowing His will is fully dependent on the intimacy of your love relationship with God.
If this lynchpin is not in place, nothing…nothing in your life will be right.
I was installing floating shelves in the bathroom
the sight of daddy’s tools draws my daughter
“I want to help, Dadda!”
By this, she means, “I want to see what you are doing,
and be where you are.”
She began to take tools away from my work space
She picked up necessary screws and hardware
She is not helping.
She was in my way.
But my love would not turn her away
Jesus said, “My Father is always at work…the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do ONLY what he sees His Father doing…For the Father loves the Son and shows him all He does.” (John 15:17, 19-20)
My God, I know you are at work around me all the time.
While I realize I am only going to slow you down
and get in your way
I trust that you love me and purposely
show me what you are doing.
I want to join you.
I want to be a part of what you are doing
and be where you are.
Soul, I will address you as the Psalmists do. Oh my soul within me, why do you continue to focus on the discouragement, shame, and self-defeat? Why do you not focus on Jesus and the rest he gives to you? (Matthew 11:28-29) Why do you believe the lies of the Imposter within you? Listen to the truth of Jesus’ words, come to Him, and he will give you rest.
In Jesus, you find your rest. In Jesus, you find rescue and refuge from your troubles. In Jesus, you will find rest you crave and desire. Oh heart within me, you are under the weight of defeat, and you need rest. Only in Jesus will you find rest from self-defeat, hopelessness, and shame. Listen up, soul! You need rest! Only when you are focused on Jesus will you not be be focused on the destructive lies and inner-dialogue.
Oh my soul, come to Jesus this morning [and tomorrow....and the next day], and you WILL find rest.
More and more, I am reminded that prayer is my relationship with God. It is not an element or part of my relationship. It is the largest challenge to my heart right now. I need prayer to be a much larger priority than it is.
Prayer is when my heart, mind, and soul are all focused on God instead of all the things of life I do not control anyway. Because of that focus, prayer is when I truly know and love God. Prayer is when I can be close to God, my Abba and my Lord. Prayer is when and where I can be the beloved one of God.
I realize when I choose to make little time for prayer, I am saying to God I am not truly committed to this relationship. I also realize every life that is greatly used by God throughout all of history and present have a common denominator of a dynamic, fervent, prayer life, and I really want my life to be used greatly by God to bring Him glory and bring more people to know His love and His hope.
Satan fears the power of a praying person (2 Cor. 10:3-5, 7; Eph. 6:10-17), but my flesh is weak and resists the fervent discipline (Matt. 26:40-41; Rom. 7:14-18). There is power in a fervent daily prayer life that is very different from our world’s idea of power.
My God, my Abba, help me make our relationship the greatest priority in my life. Help my heart, mind, and soul paint a stark picture of how absolutely ridiculous it is to pursue anything else more. Help me place nothing, even good things, above you and our relationship. Fill me with desire to be devoted to prayer. Help me entangle with you so that Jesus may live His life through me all the more each day. Grant me a hunger for you. I do not want to neglect our relationship. I need it so desperately.
A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to speak at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. Their theme for the year was PEACE and their theme verse was Philippians 4:7.
The phone call still resonates in my head sometimes. My football coach called me the day after the first day of practice for the season. He was calling because I had not showed up for the first day. I was a senior, and I had played for this man for 3 years already. I made a decision to quit my senior year and not play football any longer. I had not told him this; I just chose not to show up to practice.
That action was what made it clear to my coach that I did not really want to play football. The ones who really wanted to play showed up for practice.
How many times have I prayed short snapshot prayers to tell God, “I want to grow spiritually. I want you to use me in ministry. I want to know you more and see you do crazy things in my life, my family, and my ministry.” Yet how many times has God responded with the words of Jeremiah 29:13. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.“
If I say I want to grow and yet seldom show up for the practice of serious prayer, I am kidding myself. God cannot teach me to pray and speak to my heart and guide me toward growth if I refuse to show up for practice.
We learn to pray by praying and showing up.
I was an RA at Anderson University, and I remember the chance to revisit the campus I worked. Upon the visit, I was able to hang out with the ragamuffins who lived on my floor. What a great time of fellowship! I have often said that fellowship is when the mighty descend and the lowly rise, but I also think fellowship happens when the lowly congregate.
Anyway, it was wonderful to be with the men I lived close to for a year and see where their lives were then and now. My mind went back to a conversation I had with a friend of mine on campus. She said, “Ya know! They say the floor almost always becomes reflections of their RA.” I thought to myself, “Oh no! That cannot happen. Nobody wants that. One P.C. is bad and crazy enough.” Then I went back to visit them and realized how true that is of ANY LEADER on ANY LEVEL. If you are like me, you realize how ridiculously humbling it can be.
I went back to find freshmen and sophomores then sophomores and juniors who were IN LOVE WITH THE GOSPEL. I went back to see the craziest guys on campus then…still crazy…but almost each and every one of them filling some sort of leadership role. I saw several of them in raw honest accountability groups [ash trays included]. I saw a group of guys who pursued God with all their hearts. I got to see a group of guys in love with Jesus at the very core of their being but who are looked down upon as the “unorthodox” group.
My last day there, one of the guys came up to me before I left for the airport and said, “PC, I just went to an interview for [a large Christian summer camp], and the guy asked me, ‘Who is one leader in your life you have respected the most and why,’ and I said, ‘PC Walker, my RA last year.” He said it was because I lead in a way that built a relationship he respected, and then it was as though I stepped back to watch them grow.
I had no idea. I was just getting close to my guys and letting them get close to me…the real me.
No matter what level of leadership you are in…even if you do not think you are a leader (you ARE), WE ALL PASS A BIT OF OURSELVES ONTO OTHERS. That is the great inevitability of relationships. We all have INFLUENCE to give and receive, to pass on and take on. Its as easy as creating relationships.