Friday, December 30, 2011

Moving Rocks

Weary.  Bone weary.  Even worse, soul weary.

That’s where my prayer journey had taken me.

I was well over a year into my quest to become a prayer warrior and I was being beaten up.  Negative thoughts were battering my mind, convincing me I was unlovable, worthless and foolish.  My mind would be circling the drain before I even realized I was being pummeled.  Though I continued praying, my knees became a scary place.  An emotional place. A battleground. 

I’m not even exaggerating. 

Before I left to spend Christmas in Oregon I asked God to intervene…in a big way.  I knew I could not come home and continue interceding without having a complete meltdown or losing my sanity. 

It was pretty bad.  

It was so like God to meet my needs in an unlikely way.  

My daughter and her husband hosted a party Christmas Eve and I got to chatting with one of their friends.  He had come to Christ at the very beginning of a twelve year prison sentence; he’s been out for less than a year.  He spent those twelve years getting to know Jesus and sharing the gospel with others.  I asked him if we could talk about prayer and began to share what I was going through.  His insight was remarkable, his wisdom life changing. 

I hope it changes your life, too.

First, prayer is hard because it’s beyond our senses.  We typically don’t hear, see, taste, touch or smell anything in response to our prayers.  We are acting on faith that is beyond our senses as well.  Prayer is other-worldly, it’s outside of our realm and in God’s realm.  Realizing that has made a huge difference to me, it frees me from expecting it to be different.

When we pray for someone faithfully, we don’t just sympathize with them; we begin to empathize with them.  We actually begin to feel what they feel…fear, despair, sadness, confusion.  That’s where the emotion comes in.  I want to be empathetic, but I need to be aware and not let the emotion master me, not let it sink me.  It totally can so I need to be careful.

My new friend told me a story about a man who came across a huge boulder in the road.  God instructed him to push the boulder.  The man spent the first day pushing with all his might; at the end of the day his strength was utterly spent.  The next day God again told him to push the boulder and the next and the next.  Finally, in frustration and exhaustion the man yelled out, “God!!  When will I move this boulder?”  God replied, “I didn’t tell you to move it, my son.  I simply told you to push it.”

That’s what intercessory prayer is.  Pushing the boulder.  It’s God’s job to move it, not mine.

Ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.  I believe that for those I pray for, but recently I’ve begun to realize I need to believe that for my heart, that he can do amazing things IN ME.   My friend assured me God will answer that prayer.  I began that night to open up some places in my heart I was holding back.  It hurts.  But I’m ready for healing.

I'm ready to keep pushing.       

And when the time is right, I'll be ready to watch the boulder move.


Monday, December 19, 2011


I used to have a problem. 

It was an insidious little only showed up once a year.  It wasn't something diagnosable, no medication would fix it.  I suppose therapy could have helped...but I didn't want to tell anybody the symptoms I suffered.  So I kept my problem a secret and endured in silence, unable to share the pain and guilt that came from my clandestine behavior.


I was a peekaholic.

I just couldn't stand the suspense of not knowing what I was getting for Christmas.  I'd shake and rattle each box, then, when no one was home, I'd find a sharp knife and carefully slit the tape.  I'd take a look inside and then tape things back up so well nobody ever knew. 

Or so I thought.  One year I figured out a way to open my new Barry Manilow album and keep it accessible; I could slide it out and play it whenever my mother left the house.  My sister and I knew all the songs by Christmas morning.  I remember coming up with some lame excuse why that was...but I'm not a very good liar.  Then or now.  Mom got suspicious.

The following Christmas I found three piles of presents hiding in my mom's closet.  None of them had nametags on them, but it was pretty easy to figure out which stack was mine.  By the time I was done I not only knew what I was getting but I knew what my siblings were getting, too. 

I know.  I was sick.

My mother used to say I was only hurting myself by peeking.  If that was the case, I was very willing to hurt myself.  It was far less painful than living with all of those mysteries under the Christmas tree.

The cure to my peekaholism seems to have been, surprisingly, age.  I remember some pretty significant peeking episodes when I was in my twenties, but things have settled down considerably.  I spent years coming up with splendid surprises for my kids.  That kept me distracted.

Yikes.  What if peekaholism is hereditary and they were faking their surprise all those years?

I suppose that would serve me right.

Now that my kids are grown, I find I'm very willing to relinquish my roll in their lives as the major Christmas surpriser.  I will gladly hand that off to their spouses.

And I'm no longer distracted.

And my friend just brought me a Christmas gift.  It's in my purse.

Wanna know what it is?