Copyright Year 2022
THE SONGS OF PRAYER
Sometimes I need to start again. Not completely starting over, just to reset myself with God. It’s kind of like coming back to base camp after the struggle of climbing the mountain and fighting the war. My spirit seems bruised, and goals have gotten blurry in the fog. I’ve carried the guilt of my sins for too long and now they have become a millstone that I can’t drag with me any longer.
Hardship can skew my view of the world around me. My spiritual enemies take advantage of tough situations to fill my mind with thoughts of impending doom and defeat. They play with my emotions to instill fear and depression. The challenge is to make good decisions when there’s no map. I need to stay in the real world, not in the one I see with my heart and eyes.
My Bible serves as my compass when I’m sailing in the mist. It keeps me focused on the God who loves me and is with me every step of the way. The real world is where I find peace and confidence. I get nourished and find rest in the real world to be able to deal with the deceptive world of my physical senses. I can get my footing and begin to battle and climb those mountains again.
The journey seems slow when I’m traveling alone. Too often, I waste time when I’m bored instead of doing something productive or entertaining. This compounds the feeling of loneliness. All too soon I’m telling myself how diminished and devalued I am. There are other interested parties that look for opportunities to pile on whenever it looks like I’m in an emotional boat that’s taking on water in the middle of the sea. These silent millstones try to tether themselves to me to drag me down and keep me from sailing onward through the sea.
But I am tethered to Christ and have an anchor for my spirit that can’t be torn away. It doesn’t keep me from accomplishing what God has planned for me in His timing. Getting out and being around others is good medicine. Even if I’m not getting involved in any activity. Signing up for something that offers a chance to improve any skills or hobbies gives opportunities to meet like-minded people on a smaller scale. It distracts me from me.
Proverbs 14:10 reads, “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” I can only view life through my own eyes unless God gives me a view from a higher vantage point. I really have no idea how things happen in the world of spirits; I only know that they do. And I reaffirm that I believe that God is with me somehow daily. There is no place I can go or a situation too dire that he cannot surround me and do as he wants. Sometimes, that’s all I must hold on to. It’s enough.
The scene is a dark room and Prayer is sitting huddled in a ball in the middle of growing light, waiting to be born through the marriage of spirit and soul. Prayer feels something running down from the head soaking into the body as if its body is a sponge getting life from every drop that fills its mass. It’s the oil of the Spirit of God that feeds the lamp of a human spirit, which, when fanned, stokes a flame that confirms that this person is a born believer in the family of God.
Prayer begins to grow with emotions of gratitude that the living God is here, communing with a living spirit in need of his love. Prayer knows the familiar swell of worship and adoration as spirit calls to Spirit. Psalm 42:7 describes the moment, “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me”. Prayer begins to flower like a Cherry Blossom in Springtime, rising on its feet to lift its hands to the God of life and love. Father, take me into your arms. Away from the world around me here in this lifeless bed of rocks and thorns.
Sensing a father’s presence, Prayer remembers friends and family that need to be clothed, fed, healed, and protected. Prayer becomes a cord, connecting them to Heaven from Earth, bringing them to holy ground through this human spirit and the Spirit of God. God knows them and responds in complex ways that Prayer can’t understand.
Prayer grows in stature and strength to confront the powers that would corrupt and destroy all that is good or could be good. Like a warrior, Prayer addresses evil on behalf of the human spirit and the ones previously mentioned. Prayer has permission and a commission to repel evil from what God has made and is making in the souls of men. The battle resumes afresh from the last time that prayer was given wings and a voice.
Binding the wicked entities and neutralizing their plans to keep others from being born and pushing the wicked creatures closer to their fiery fate. Loosing those who are captives of lies and torment to open their hearts and minds to the truth in Jesus Christ. As Matthew 16:18-20 reads, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” This isn’t a reference to the Kingdom of Heaven or the afterlife where God is, for evil is not in need of binding there, and souls are not in need of loosing there. But more probable is that it’s in the spiritual realm or ‘heavenlies’ where a battle still rages.
As the striving reaches its end, Prayer has run the course and finished the race. Now it settles into the afterglow of the healing, the refreshing, and the cleansing Spirit of God. Its time lived and spent for the child of God that gave it breath. Prayer is satisfied knowing that this moment of faith was given a body of flesh and manifested its reality in the lives of some in need. Prayer returns to its stasis, looking forward to the next incarnation.
TIME GOES BY
Day after day’ the time goes by. Almost everything seems structured according to when it occurs. All things are marked either by their occurrence or they anticipate their realization. Everything else goes silently out of consciousness. It’s as if it doesn’t really matter or play a notable part in the result. It’s disposable. And yet it is said, whimsically, that the joy is in the journey.
Milestones are indeed how our past is tracked. I look at them like I look at a sandwich. They can be of many varied types, but they are named and appreciated by what is between them. So it is with our lives. We might be remembered for what we do by those who don’t really know us, but it’s who we are that is remembered by those we interact with along the way.
People play a part as we build our milestones. Providing the materials for foundations, helping to sharpen tools, and holding us up when we fall. No matter how small the part, people build people during the time between milestones.
Christ works in us all to accomplish his milestones on the way to the end of time. Yes, time goes by and we can’t do anything over. Philippians 3:12-16 reads “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
Be a part of the building of the milestones of others as they are part of yours, knowing that God doesn’t forget the good things you do as time goes by.
SPENT THE NIGHT
There is a portion of living that is not shared with any other person on the earth. Darkness overtakes the day and focus turns inward to shine a light on the deepest thoughts of the soul. Like an ancient mirror, we see ourselves as we are. Weak, ugly, alone, needy, and frightened.
The night requires a different set of tools and protective skills. There are entities that wait for the night to shoot unseen arrows at us. They take advantage of our fears and anxious thoughts. Like a predator that singles out the weakest of the herd, they come with sharp teeth to tear away at the things we have prepared for our protection. Like birds feeding on seeds, they pick at the things in our lives that would nourish our souls. We are powerless in comparison to prevent their desires from being realized.
When our resolve is at its weakest, we have a place that lifts us out of the onslaught. Without any emotional or logical dependencies and requiring nothing other than a decision. We follow the words of Christ as he ended his work of passion on the earth. Luke 23:44-46 records this as “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.”
We also can reaffirm our commitment to God. In Psalm 61:1-3 we read “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” God is more than a powerful shield against the enemies of our souls. He lifts us up from the battleground and gives us a better perspective of the fight. He refreshes us with spiritual food and drink and gives us rest. In his word, there is peace and strength if we can really roll our load onto him in faith and trust him to be the God we claim that he is.
All of the seemingly strong and intelligent believers who have gone before us lived this way. I want to follow in their footsteps and walk the well-worn path of faith as they did.
PRAYER OF FAITH
We who believe that Jesus Christ is the only supreme God, live by faith. It can’t be willed into existence except for the moment when we first believe. That moment is the mustard seed described in Mark 4:30-32. A seed depends on the soil it’s planted in and the nourishment and light it gets. That is a spiritual setting, not necessarily the world you are seeing around you. Though time yields a kind of proving, affirmation, and a measure of confidence, it’s always what it started out to be. Faith. The reoccurring event I’ve seen in my life is that I come to the end of my plans and means and find rest in the faith that grows inside of me. At some point, I still have to believe that God exists as Hebrews 11:6 suggests and that Hebrews 11:1-3 is true.
So, in the end, I always live by faith. Never fully seeing God’s plans for me before it plays out. Life in the present is veiled in an illusion, only showing part of the story. The future is a nightshade and too opaque to view. Anyone who appears to show anything else is conspiring in a lie. We who have become aware of a realm where ancient beings don’t die, and some hate us, can’t trust divination and must refuse to take what they say or do as absolute. This also is a test of the faith we claim to have.
Perhaps the mustard seed is the spirit that is birthed when we first believe as well. Do we ever completely know what goes on there? I believe it’s in me; I think I feel its presence. It’s also veiled. Feelings are not faith. Jeremiah 17:9 declares that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” There is a point where we can’t see past our natural senses. As Hebrews 4:11 teaches, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
So, in the final state, the events might be bigger, but our faith ends as it began. If you pray through the Spirit of Christ at all, you are proving your faith. Whether you’re desperate or confident. Whether you’re in the flesh or worshiping in the spirit. If you’re a believer, God knows you and is caring for you somehow.
Life has been a journey. I’ve constantly moved from one situation to another. I don’t know what life would be like without movement. I can’t imagine a point along the way where my life would have stagnated. I wouldn’t have wanted it to. There hasn’t been a point that I would have been satisfied to always remain in the state I was in at the time. I read a verse in Ecclesiastes that has stuck with me through the years. It’s chapter 7 and verse 8. The thought is that the end of something is better than the beginning.
I could always see it for bad situations, but why would it hold for good or happy ones? In Job 2:10, Job is talking and reasons that if we accept the good things, why shouldn’t we accept the bad as well? There really is no choice. Moving through adversity gives a reason to hope. Where is hope during good times? Good times feel like stopping points. They’re where we want to stay. When times are at their worst, many times, people are at their best. When times are at their worst, God is at his best.
All in all, we are reminded to hold loosely to the milestones in our life. They are destined to fade into the past and be replaced by new ones. Some shape our lives going forward for sure, but most fade into the landscape along the path. None of them should define us. That, too, is a benefit of movement.
There will always be tomorrow if we’re living in this life. Matthew 34:6 exhorts us not to be anxious about tomorrow. Pray, make plans, and trust God for the outcome. We really have little to do with what comes our way other than the choices we make moment by moment. We see life in scenes; God sees the whole movie from beginning to end simultaneously. The question, then, is always, “Does God exist?” I am challenged to make that decision repeatedly. Even though I have decided to answer yes, living by faith forces the choice to be reaffirmed periodically. No amount of “proof” in my past gets me off the hook. It’s too important to rest solely on memories. This is what pleases God and is another benefit of movement.
So, in the end, be they good or bad, situations are always better to be left behind rather than moved into. That might seem counter-intuitive, but a deeper dive reveals the hidden benefits of moving through life and looking ahead to what might be instead of staying in what was. Make good memories and new dreams.