Butterfly Sparks Designs

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stewards of Mystery.

I go to Starbucks. A lot. It has become my almost daily unofficial office space for ministry-related meetings. The location that I frequent most often is small, and the tables are close together. It doesn’t take any intentional effort to hear the conversation next to you. Earlier this week, it went something like this:

(Woman 1): “I’m so sorry that you are going through this. Can I pray for you?"

(Woman 2): “No thanks, I don’t need to bother God with it. I know this is as good as it gets, I just have to learn to cope with it.”

Admittedly, my first thought was to dig into my purse and whip out my anointing oil and lay hands on this woman. (OK, I’m kidding…sort of). Since that might have been a disproportional response and also quite ill-timed, I prayed silently. But her words hung on me for the rest of the evening. My heart ached for her and I so badly wanted “Woman 2” to believe the truth of the power of prayer.

Driving home, God brought down his “holy two-by-four” and knocked me over the head with it. Ouch! The truth is that I often approach my prayer life that way, too. “It’s not going to get better, I just need to learn to cope.” I am no different than Woman 2 sometimes. Sure, I pray.  But my expectations regarding prayer are often far too low. In the name of humility, have I become robotic in my response to prayer by believing that the best I can do is cope with what is? 

Do I really believe He moves at the sound of my voice?

Sometimes, the answer is no. I can sometimes forget – and even worse, doubt -- that the God of all Creation, the maker of heaven and Earth, and the Redeemer of my soul not only hears my prayers, but is moved by them.  God has not only told us unequivocally through His Word but has proven it time and time again in my own life, that He will allow Himself to be influenced through prayer. I’m certainly not saying that we are more powerful than He is, and indeed only God can bring change. He is omnipotent. He may not do everything we say or ask – He is God, and we are not. Yet His Word is clear that our prayers move His hand. Our prayers influence Him to move.
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. (2 Chron 7:13-15, NIV)
Oswald Chambers said that “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. It is the greater work.”

I often think of and pursue prayer as personal worship and connection to God by praying for others and myself, and of course I have long recognized the power of corporate prayer to make radical Kingdom impact. I've seen it happen and have long believed. But I think it’s so easy to miss a simple but hugely profound truth. Whatever I “do” to serve others is superseded by a greater work. To pray.
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful. (1 Cor 4:1-2, NAS)
Do you see that? We are stewards of the mysteries of God. Wow. We have been entrusted with the secrets of God which have yet to be revealed, and we are called to be faithful to pray. What better gift can we give to one another than influencing the King of Kings to move on our behalf and to speak what is in His heart into being?

If that isn't a call to prayer, I'm not sure what is.

How can I pray for you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blessed! Blessed! Blessed!