Monday, November 24, 2014

Of Prayer and a Few Days Meandering

It has been a dreary, rainy couple of days filled with some equally dreary contemplation and balanced with life-giving creative pursuits.  In the struggle to keep going forward, to keep processing and thinking, learning and growing, I often suppress the fear, pain, or joy that starts creeping up in response to a new thought, sermon, or comment made by another.  I suppose it's called coping.  But now and then, I know I must pull back some skin, muscle, and gristle to look at my heart and see how it's coming.

I didn't get to eat the soup right away so it sat in the crock pot for two days.  I added some garlic and seasonings.
Some of the best money I ever spent!  The first really fresh garlic I've
had, thanks to Dave Beiler.

A little fresh rosemary makes the world go 'round.
Then on to some bread baking ....

Then, Saturday I got to trim for a enthusiastic lady who was sure the angels would sing when I finally got back to trim her horses.  :)  You gotta love loyal clients.

Yep, trimming out of the minivan!
I was listening to this sermon and the speaker was talking about how we often get caught up in asking God for this and that.  A job when we're out of work, a car when the other one is broken, fixing for a relationship that is suffering.  These are all good desires, good things to pray and hope for.  The pitfall in this is if we let those things eclipse the greatest gift.  The gift He has already given us for all time.  The greatest gift we can give to another is ourselves.  That's what Jesus came for.  To give Himself for us.  To make a way to the Father.

I got to thinking about that and started second guessing my prayers, feeling guilty for what I was asking for.  How would it be if the ones I loved called usually with a problem or a request, but never just to be with me?  And that is only examining it on a human level.  But we're talking about the God of the universe, the embodiment of all good, perfection!  He is worthy of our praise, adoration, and undivided devotion!

As I was thinking these thoughts, a quiet little warning floated across the outskirts of my mind .... but God cares about the sparrow too.  If I start believing that it isn't okay for me to speak to the Lord about the "little" things on my heart ... that is dangerous as well.  It doesn't say cast some of your cares on the Lord, particularly the big ones.

Another sermon was talking about praying through the Psalms and using them as models for our prayers.  I was surprised to realize the pride of place given to emotions.  But it is there!  Throughout the Psalms, David is pouring out his heart to God.  Raw, unprocessed, unfettered emotion.  Take Psalm 3.  David tells God about all the many people seeking his demise.  And then about what people are saying about him.  Then he remembers who he's talking to.  Truth and courage seep into his prayer!  He ends praising the Lord.  What a beautiful, saving progression!

I often share (or vent) my emotions with a friend, do some processing, and then go to God with my heart feeling pretty sane and reasonable.  I offer a logical prayer.  But I've missed it!  I've missed the opportunity to let my Jesus be the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  I missed letting him calm my aching heart.  I've missed the truth he speaks in these moments.  I'm not saying that the Lord hasn't given us a community of friends to be His hands and feet in this, but they shouldn't be a replacement for that realness with the Lord.  For your sake and the for the sake of your friends.  I hope that I am a good enough friend to listen to an emotional response and offer grace and guidance, but the Lord can do so much better!  "Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest for your souls!"

In thinking of who God is and what He is worthy of, I've also been wondering what exactly it means to bless the Lord.  How can I bless His heart?  Not grieving Him is one thing, but to respond to Him with adoration and thanksgiving that will be a joy to Him.

So as evidenced by this, it hasn't all been dreary contemplation.  :)  Though it has been hard won.  I hope that as I write and commit to memory, my musings may be of some benefit to you all.  Also, please be obligated to call me out if it strays from the straight and narrow.

Song for the day:

I felt so blessed to be around while these folks practiced this piece together for the first time.  So soul stirring!  Here's the original - The Holly and the Ivy.  You can add it to your amazing playlist of Christmas music you've been collecting.  :)

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