It’s that time of week again and as such, I’d like to share with y’all a personal favorite. I first heard this a Liberty University and ever since then, I have thought it a rather perfect prayer..
We serve a good and gracious God and He hears our prayers. We serve the God of the Bible and He still performs miracles, signs and wonders!
Because of readers like you all over the country, nearly $26,000 was raised to fund the life-saving heart surgery of a precious little boy in Burkina Faso, named Achile.
He was flown to India and had the operation this week! The surgery went perfectly and Achile is resting and recovering beautifully.
For those of you who gave or prayed, thank you. You may never know this side of Heaven just how great your reward will be, but I am willing to bet it will be worth the wait!
Howdy y’all… er, wait. *ahem* Hi friends! (Sorry, I just got back from Texas and my twang came back)
I wrote a piece earlier this month about a little boy named Achile from Burkina Faso.
I recently received more details and wanted to share them with you. Here’s the scoop:
Achile is an 8-year-old Compassion-assisted boy with a congenital heart defect known as tetralogy of Fallot. Because of Achile’s heart condition, he has been in pain for five years and hasn’t been able to attend school regularly and receive the full of benefit of sponsorships through Compassion International. Compassion has provided medical care that Achile has needed at the National Teaching Hospital Yalgado Ouedraogo in Burkina Faso in western Africa. However, doctors there now believe his condition requires urgent heart surgery, which is not available in Achile’s home country. Without this operation, Achile would not live much longer.
Compassion has transported Achile to a specialized hospital in India for a lifesaving operation that will cost an estimated $20,449.
To donate to this operation, please go here http://compassion.com/Achile
Any funds raised in excess of the cost of Achile’s surgery will be rolled into Compassion’s Medical Assistance Fund to aid children in need of medical help in the future. It is from this fund that Achile has been assisted for the last two years for pervious medical treatments.
I have not received any further updates on the day of the surgery at this point, but as soon as I know anything, I will update this post again.
Please prayerfully consider giving to this effort to fund Achile’s heart surgery. If you can not afford to do so, your prayers are just as valued and appreciated.
I truly appreciate you, dear reader, and would not ask this of you if I didn’t truly feel is critical.
More to come soon.
I’m taking a break. Signing off.
Because I think I have a real problem; I think I might be slightly addicted.
To Facebook… and Twitter.
I truly never thought I would be the person that needed to “fast” from those things– those social media sites that are completely inanimate objects; lifeless potholes to meaningless information about utterly irrelevant things that primarily revolve around self.
But alas, here I am. Taking a large step back in order to reevaluate how I spend my time, my energy, my effort and trying to determine just where I derive my personal hope, self-worth, and intrinsic-value. As it stands now, I must admit that Twitter and Facebook have dominated most of these areas as of late.
While I am embarrassed to admit that I am not strong enough to limit myself and instead need complete and total separation from these things, I am overwhelmingly grateful for two things:
1. The awareness of the toxicity of these outlets. Not to say that they are inherently evil, but that they can be used and abused, manipulated and misconstrued to be bigger and better than they truly are
2. That my sweet friend Amye is doing this with me; because the reality is, I’m not strong enough to do this on my own. More importantly, I don’t want to do it on my own. Perhaps it’s my pride, but I don’t want to be the only one that really needs to do this. So thank you Amye.
So here’s the deal– Amye and I are fasting from Facebook (and Twitter too for me) for the month of June. No checking newsfeeds. No status updating. No “relationship status” stalking.
Why? Because I feel like I am going crazy. And as it turns, I don’t like that feeling.
So for all the time that I spend on Facebook and Twitter, I am going to spend it elsewhere. Memorizing scripture, reading books, playing outside, and hopefully writing more here.
My prayer for this next month is simple– God show me where my worth and value lie; show me how much more satisfying you are than a network of (let’s face it) mostly strangers that don’t see my heart the way You do. Break off chains of insecurities that have taken deep root where they don’t belong and replace them with the fruits of Your Spirit so that I stop speaking in acronyms (i.e. OMG) and start speaking in truth with grace.
June… you don’t scare me.
I am slowly but surely (key word being slowly) beginning to piece some things together… I think. Remember a while back when I told you how I felt like reality was suddenly screaming in my face it’s pervasive and overwhelming presence? And remember how well I didn’t deal with it? “Life” has become clear in that I now see and recognize all the things and all the places in which God and His glory do not reside– areas in which the fruits of His nature and attributes of His character are not abiding.
My initial reaction was fear and trembling, literally. I fought and wrestled with anxiety I have not known before. And while, to a certain degree, that reaction might have been warranted, it was not the proper response.
The only response to such realities is a greater fervency– fervency in prayer, fervency in surrender, fervency in worship. And all of these examples were displayed in Christ and His life on earth as mortal man.
He was fervent in prayer because He understood and felt the weight of humanity. He bore the sin of every person for all time. He faced every trial, temptation, and test that we would ever know and conquered it, in His human flesh by His divine power. And what do we read about Him more than any other one attribute or trait? “He went away and prayed.” Read any gospel you choose and you will find it there– Jesus’ unwavering devotion and committment to prayer.
Perhaps the most beautiful and, simultaneously, excruciating scene in the Bible is not the cross, but the pleading of Christ in the Garden. Sweating drops of blood, praying with great fear and trembling, physically exhausted, emotionally and spiritually distraught and His response… prayer. Fervent, desperate, authentic, and utterly humble prayer. Cries, sobs and groaning for another way, a different route. A last minute pleading for any other form of salvation… and the answer was no.
Jesus’ fervent prayers resulted in fervent surrender– an obedient and willing availability to sacrifice self for the sake of God’s name and glory; to fulfill prophecy, to save a nation and to redeem creation itself. His surrender serves as an example of what our lives are meant to look like. If what caused Him to pray ceaselessly, the salvation of souls, and thus prepared Him to willingly surrender Himself as a propitiation for all sin, then we must, we must, realize that if we are to look like Him we will need to surrender as He did.
Oswald Chambers said it this way: “We have to realize that the identification of Jesus with sin means a radical change of all of our sympathies and interests.” If we are identified with Christ in the weight and gravity of sin, then our response must not be fear or even apathy, but action. Our motives, desires, priorities, relationships, time, etc must be revolutionized; we must be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Such renewal breads the final response…
What other proper response can there be to Christ’s sacrifice for sin and provision of redemption than endless worship? Were we not made, intended, and instilled with the desire to worship? I would argue that, even for those who do not believe in God, all humans, every soul, desires to make ultimate something to which they can trust and hope is bigger and better than they are. Every person wants to know that there is something more powerful than they are that is orchestrating and ordaining every breath that they take; to know that they have purpose and the ability to fulfill that purpose.
For the believer, we know Whose we are; we know for what we were made. And if we understand the need for surrender, so that the weight of sin that so easily entangles is loosed, we will unabashedly worship. We know no other way of loving Christ.
Two things must happen (in my humble estimation) for such fervency to come about: (1.) We must understand how desperately we need redemption, and (2.) We must catch even a glimpse of God’s glory to understand that He is the only giver of redemption.
We must first understand and realize the depth of our depravity; the breadth of our sinful nature. And we must be disconcerted and discomforted by it. If we are not moved for change and transformation from the inside out, then we will not be compelled to pray as we ought.
Once we understand who we are without Christ’s intervention, we can then more completely surrender our old selves and accept who and what He has beckoned us to become– we will be called by a new name and clothed in robes of righteousness and garments of salvation as it says in Isaiah 61:10 “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.”
Reality demands fervency.
I’ve been learning a lot lately, specifically about praying to a sovereign God, who has already ordained and orchestrated all of humanity for all time, because He may just decide to change His mind. Think I’m crazy? You wouldn’t be the first. But let me attempt to show you what I mean.
I have been reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians everyday, primarily focusing on chapter 1:3-10.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you hear the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
“In Him” appears six times. “Predestined” appears twice, “He chose” appears twice, and “His purpose” appears twice. And the phrase that stands the most to me,”To the praise of His glory” appears four times. So if we break that down into Mere-Bear language it means this: The God of the universe who is outside of time, planned and purposed everything that would ever happen, within time, and it has all been and will continue to be, to show His grandeur, majesty, power, love and grace.
End of story. Period.
If I may, I would like to interject a little “but.” (I may be smirking at that terribly cheesy pun… whatever)
But what happens when you pray for a change of circumstances and God “relents” and says OK. I only ask because it worked for Moses. I swear. Look for yourself in Exodus 32:
9 “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand…? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
Is it just me for, or did the Great I Am just say “No, I won’t… since you asked”?
Remarkable. Why? Because all the sudden prayer takes on a whole new meaning. Prayer suddenly has a weight, not against, but in addition to God’s will. Prayer now beacons us into a closer and more intimate relationship with Christ because He. Is. Listening. And He cares what you think. He cares about what you want and desire. He wants to hear from you, His beloved, about the inner workings of your heart. He wants to know how and what you are discovering about His spirit making itself manifest in yours.
So if He wants to know these things, it is only logical to assume then that He considers our prayers.
I am fully aware that while He will hear everything I ask for, He may not grant it. And I am also fully aware that I may never know why He didn’t answer this prayer or that prayer this side of heaven. But He has given every reason on earth and in heaven to trust Him, rest in Him, hope in Him, and wait on His perfection provision and plan.
So while I wait on a clear yes or no, I will pray earnestly and fervently for a yes response because according to James “you do not because you do not ask.” I refuse to miss out because I wasn’t brave enough to have asked.
I love the word “beloved.” It appears through scripture when God speaks to His Bride, to His church. What an incredibly intimate and romantic God, that He would name you, me, us “beloved.” I love the way is sounds when I hear Him whisper it to me. I love the way it feels when I read it in scripture. It literally means “to be greatly loved, dear to the heart.”
We are greatly loved by the God and Creator of the universe. We are held dearly to the tender heart of Christ.
An ever-present desire and prayer of my heart it to be romanced by Him, to know the endless love that He freely offers. Salvation, redemption, restoration–it’s all there for the taking. Life is in His hands and they are open.
What an incredible truth to cling to.