When I first came to God I was desperate for Him. I wanted to hear what He had to say to me and I wanted to sit with Him for hours and drink in the peace that He lives in. I have always been intrigued with the tent of meeting that Moses set up in the desert. How God’s presence would settle over it and Moses and Joshua would sit in there and God would tell them things. Prayer for me is to leave my crazy world and live in His for an hour. Here’s a list of character qualities that are at work in people who sit with God in His tent according to Psalm 15; walks in integrity, works righteousness, speaks truth in his/her own heart, does not slander with the tongue, does not do evil to their neighbor, does not take up a reproach against a friend, despises evil/reprobates, honors those who fear the Lord, swears to their own hurt and does not change, doesnt charge interest to people who need to borrow money, does not take bribes against someone innocent. Then it says, “those who do these things will never be shaken.” My first thought was, “how many of these character tests have I failed this week?” My next thought was, “God help me grow up so I can sit with You in Your tent.” If how I speak about people and how I conduct business and make money all has bearing on whether or not I get some real face time with God then I have a new incentive to grow in my character to be more like Him. What does this say about us as a modern day church? How many of us actually modify what we say and do because we want real contact with God?
What are we waiting for? A better job, a new car, a bigger house, new neighbors, a baby to be born, another chance, an idea, a light to change, a check in the mail, THE phone call, a break, an opportunity, an answer, 5:00pm, to quit_____________, reconciliation, summer, healing, a good night’s sleep. Im lousy at waiting. Impatience is my first language. Im even impatient when I pray for things/situations. Isaiah 64 starts as if I wrote it, “Oh that you would just rip open the sky and come down here.” Im always seeing some injustice and crying out to God about how to solve it and could He just do something spectacular to show everyone that He is real! ” Change something about this situation!!” Th is desperation is what drives me to pray in the first place. How do we learn how to harness this intensity for prayer? We were never supposed to be content to leave things as they are- prayer is about asking God to change things. Every time I intercede for someone else I am asking God to change the status quo. Every time we see another person diagnosed with cancer or a family losing their house, or a teenager who runs to drugs and parties and away from their family and the God who loves them, it moves us to ask Him again- “Cant you change this. Will you see this and move?” Isaiah 64:4 says that He does move. He does see what we go through, He is powerful to change things. “For from of old they have not heard of or percieved by ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides You- who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him.” When I read these words it gives me a new resolve to ask Him again, and to learn to wait…..
God showed me something about prayer in my crosstraining class. What? You think He doesnt talk to people in their crosstraining class? I think I am closest to goin home to Him while Im trying to push myself to run, lift, jump…you get the picture. Im too old for this stuff. Seriously, my trainer was s howing us how to lift weights. She demonstrated that in order to lift weight safely you have to practice good form. She had us lift the bar with no weight on it and learn the correct steps and positions for lifting. The key was to keep the bar in contact with your legs all the way up as you lift. If you try to lift it without touching your body as you pull it up you could hurt your back. The moment you begin to lift it over your shoulders was important too. You had to do it a certain way, taking advantage of the momentum as you came up to get under the bar for the final thrust up. What does this have to do with prayer? The heavy lifters in prayer, we call them the prayer warriors, have spent years practicing how to use their faith to lift heavier and heavier things in prayer. They have built confidence that God will hear and answer them over time and practice. Why do we see things that are frightening, sad, unjust or wrong and not go straight to prayer, asking God to fix it? We arent sure we can “lift” it. We arent confident that we carry the prayer power to see the thing change. Just as in weight lifting, the heavier the weight in prayer the closer we need to carry it to our heart. Jesus did every miracle being “moved by compassion.” We gain the ability to handle weightier, more difficult information in prayer by practicing- like Nike says- “just do it”. Hebrews 5: 11 starts by saying that God wants to tell us lots of things but we have become hard of hearing. Time to grow up and be the adults who eat solid food and not the babies who only can handle milk. It ends by saying that ” solid food is for the mature, who by practice, have trained their senses to discern good and evil.” Lets pray more about everything. Lets take everything that doesnt seem right to God instead of just assuming some things will never change. Lets not let one opportunity go by without breathing in and out what God is saying to us. Pretty soon the things He tells us to pray for will have true weight- we wont just be lifting the bar anymore! Paul said, I dont want you to be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12 He is grooming us to be the next prayer warriors!