Wednesday, June 6, 2012

on the reality of small, great prayers

many things all at once.  transformation all at once.  prayers for a sustained transformation.


Faith is (truly) as small and great as a seed.  
Sometimes, whenever people pray prayers that invite the Spirit's full work (that is to say, requests such as transformation, freedom, Christ-likeness), there's a sneaky deception that taunts the day after, the week after, the month after - whether or not it was real.

"I prayed for freedom from _____."
"I prayed for more of (this virtue)."
"I asked God to transform (this area of my life)."
"Was it real?  I prayed a five-second prayer.  Is that enough?"
"I find myself still fighting temptations, I find myself still struggling with the same areas."

And then we fall into this belief that maybe we prayed these things out of emotional hype, or out of pressure from surrounding supporters.. or maybe we weren't sincere enough, repentant enough...
And there's that deception without a universal answer, that maybe God "doesn't" want us healed/ set free/ delivered.

It's hard to believe that a small prayer was enough.
There has to be more! We say in our minds.
But that, my friend, becomes work-based.  And it fuels the lie that His grace isn't enough, and that we've got to earn it:
Earn our healing, earn our freedom, earn our deliverance.

No- not at all.  The prayer that was fully honest, the prayer that was fully meaningful (repentant, desiring), those prayers are wholly present before the throne.  All prayers are present before the throne.  And His watchful eyes see everything, down to the measure of sincerity.

When you accepted Christ as Savior - was that prayer not enough?  Salvation is an act of receiving.  Salvation is an act of faith.  So small, so magnificent.  But until the end of our mortal life, we will constantly work out that salvation (Philippians 2.12).  Similarly, our prayers, however simple or grand, when said in complete faith, requires us to work out our transformation, work out our virtues.  Again, this is not a "work to earn," but rather a "work to pursue."

This freedom is so real!  But it now becomes your choice to actively pursue it.  Choose to embrace your identity in Christ.  Choose not to be affected by the words of others.  Choose not to let your thoughts dwell on the past or presuppositions.  Simple choices to say "no" to temptation, and "yes" to the glory of the Son.  These heart choices will steer your mindset, your words, your will.  And then you will see that transformation.

Will you see the results of simple prayers instantly?  Maybe.  Sometimes.  Instantaneousness is quite rare, but possible.  Nevertheless, accompanied by your choice and will to work out your salvation, you will see results eventually.

Consider a seed.  How silently it grows!  How quietly its roots make home in the soil, extending to great depths, soaking what water and nutrients it can.  Consider how quietly it sprouts by morning; how easily a blade comes forth from the ground.  How gently one leaf, two leaves, and soon its true leaves come forth.  And in time, a lovely, fragrant floret blooms in radiance, gracing the earth with a beauty only a Divine Creator could make.

Beloved, it is true with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.  You have asked Him to plant Himself in the dark places of your heart, and you must trust that He is working in and through you, no matter how gradual the process, no matter how silent His affirmations.  In time, you will find the fruit of the Spirit borne in your life.  You will see how winsome is this garden that has enclosed you with Him.  You will see how actual and how true was that childlike prayer you prayed that while ago, the prayer you wondered if it was real, if He heard you, if it was more than emotion.

It is your choice to pursue it, to work the ground in your heart, to care for this gift, to be a steward of your blessings.
But in the waiting to see tangible results, remind yourself that those prayers of transformation are real.  Very, absolutely real.


currently listening: a variety of John Coltrane
currently reading: excerpts by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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