Monday, February 25, 2008

Harmony in the Spirit

Yesterday I was driving to a ministry situation, praying for God to use me to share his love. I had already been praying for the need there, and was continuing to ask God to do a supernatural work. Driving along, I was listening to some worship music.

It was a familiar CD, and I know the tunes very well. But somehow I had not quite caught all the lyrics. It was an interesting experience as I could feel the music and let the Holy Spirit speak to me in the moment. He could guide my thinking through the lyrics, but my heart was in tune with him as with the tune of the music.

This seems to me what prayer is. As we mature, we know God more and more intimately, and our hearts are in tune with him. As we spend time in the Lord’s presence, we are connected with him in spirit. It’s like knowing the tune, as we enjoy fellowship together.

But then, in the context of sharing the “tune” through prayer, Jesus can reveal himself to me in a new way. He can guide me to new thoughts. He can speak to my soul. He can call my mind to his Word. He can reveal the truth of the situation.

I long to have more prayer times when I sense that kind of intimacy. And I want to extend those times throughout the day. It will be such a blessing to be able to live that way, moment by moment. I want to sing the song of the Spirit in my heart all day. Then he can show me constantly how he is working and how he can use me. That’s the worship of living. That’s abundant life.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I’ve encountered lots of distractions while preaching. Sometimes a baby cries, someone coughs, people move about. I’ve seen people jump up because a drink spilled. While we were meeting in a garage on wildlife preserve, we had geese walk through our worship gathering.

But a couple of Sundays ago, I experienced a new one. I was talking about kindness, as part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In the middle of my message, people suddenly tried to tell me something. “There’s a bee!” OK. I brushed my hands through my hair, thinking that the critter must be around my head. “No, it’s on your hand!” I looked down and saw the wasp on my right hand. About that time I felt the sting. I brushed him off and he landed nearby on the floor.

Naturally I stepped over to the bug, planning to squash him. But then I remembered that I was preaching on kindness. Hmm. Not a good object lesson.

So, I allowed the wasp to live, although it already looked nearly dead. I continued with my message, trying not to miss a beat.

But God moved some people to action. They seized upon the occasion to show kindness. Someone gave me a sterile wipe for my wound. Another produced a cold pack. I finished speaking while holding the dressing on my hand.

After our worship time, I learned that someone had put the wasp out of his misery. Didn’t make me sad.

Now, everyone watches carefully for all the flying creatures. You never know when they might get you. Just when you thought we had enough distractions…

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Long Time to Learn

After reading my Bible a couple of weeks ago, I began my prayer time. But I was at a loss. How do I pray? What do I do, now that it’s time to pray? For the first time, I felt what the disciples must have felt when they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

That experience led me to pull out a book I have had since 1985, With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I must have begun reading it in about 1989, but I only read about 20 pages of it. I figured that out when I pulled it off the shelf and found my bookmark – my business card from the church where I first served as pastor.

I remember people telling me how great this book was, but it must have been over my head. I had never even finished it. As I read it today, I see how empty many of my prayers have been.

I had been telling God what I wanted to happen, and never really expecting much to change. Now I am beginning to understand prayer as conversation flowing out of relationship with God. When I am close to him, I know better what he wants in a given situation. I know what to pray, and I can expect real, specific answers.

I feel like such a beginner. I can really expect Jesus to act when I pray. He said he would. I’m eager to see this unfold!