Saturday, December 29, 2012

Prayer is the Fixer

I was listening to K-Love on my way to work the other day and the DJ was talking to a dad about his best Christmas gift this year. The dad was sharing that his 5 year old little girl, Chloe, was undergoing her final Chemo treatment that morning. He shared how she had been diagnosed with Leukemia when she was only 2 years old. As soon as they learned the diagnosis, they followed the Bible's instructions and brought little Chloe to the elders of the church who in turn anointed and prayed for her. Within weeks the doctors declared that Chloe's tests had shown her cancer-free. However, the parents followed the instructions of the doctors to follow through with treatment to prevent any possible advancement of the underlying disease. 

This dad went on to say how the advancement of modern medicine is amazing. The things they can do to combat disease are incredible. However, he said, prayer is still the fixer. This comment stuck in my heart all day long. Prayer is still the fixer. He didn't say prayer is the healer or prayer is the provider or prayer is the liberator. Prayer is the fixer. I looked up the definition of the word fix. It means "To place securely. To make stable or firm. To secure to another".  Wow, when we submit our life to prayer, we are securing ourselves to the Lord and allowing HIM to make us stable and firm. See, we are fixed whether the healing manifests or not, whether the financial need is met or not, whether the miracle is seen or not. We are fixed because we are securely affixed to the One that walks with us through every trial, storm and tragedy. 

While I wholeheartedly believe that prayer changes things and circumstances, I believe more than anything prayer changes US. It draws us closer to the heart of God and puts us in a position to allow our will to line up with His will. Jesus Himself prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass before me. Nevertheless, not my will but Your will be done." Sometimes in our zealousness of prayer, we have this idea that God is somehow obligated to answer our prayers in the manner we deem best. However, if we enter into prayer asking God to give us His Heart and His Eyes to see our situation and pray for His will to be done and our desires to line up with His desires, we are not disappointed or questioning God's care for us when the outcome isn't what we initially requested. God knows best. Even the Bible reveals that we don't know how to pray as we ought. We need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help us pray. 

I encourage you today sister, brother, whatever you are taking to the Lord in prayer, trust Him. Ask Him to give you His Heart in your situation, His Eyes to see the way He sees. Let prayer be your fixer. May your prayer provide a place for you to be securely stable and firmly planted in Him regardless of the outcome. I have committed in the coming year to allow my prayer time to be a place where my heart is acutely listening to His voice and an unassuming place of surrender to His will.

Romans 8:26 "In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express."

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Emmanuel, God with Us

Those of you that know me know that I have a real passion for sunrises and sunsets. I find often that the Lord speaks to my heart through nature. As I was driving to work Thursday morning, the sky was overcast and cloudy. However, the clouds were bright. Even though you couldn't see the sun behind nor between the clouds, you could tell it was there. I could imagine its silent presence cheering the clouds on. An unseen encourager rooting for the underdog. He was there, even though the clouds didn't realize it, he was there. They didn't even notice that he shone through them in spite of their darkness.

I felt the Lord take me on a short journey through moments of my own life. All the times I felt I couldn't go on, or the moments I felt betrayed, abandoned, forgotten, damaged or alone, He was there, perhaps hidden behind the dark clouds of abuse or pain but there nonetheless. How could I go through my day to day life with so much pain in my heart that it took my breath away and not know the only reason I didn't fall apart was because He was there holding me together? I can remember years after my divorce many women coming to me and telling me how much they respected me for all I had gone through and how strong I remained in the Lord through it all.  I would think to myself, "Are you crazy? I was a basket case." I feel that in spite of all my fears, all my doubts and all my shortcomings, Christ was able to shine through the darkness. It wasn't in anything I had to offer but all because of His amazing mercy and grace. He is not a fair weather friend. He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. And even though we falsely accuse Him of being unconcerned, uncaring, unsympathetic, uninterested or just plain too busy, He still chooses to be our Constant Companion offering peace, hope faith and unconditional love.

Ironically at Christmastime more than at any other time during the year, Christ can be unseen, hidden behind the clouds. How can we leave Christ out of Christmas? It's such a hectic time and we prepare months in advance. We spend time with family, in church, even discussing His birth and preparing for Christmas day but often forget to ponder His Presence with us moment by moment. He is with us, not because we feel Him nor because we're talking to Him but because He has chosen to make His abode in our hearts. In the darkest moments we have this assurance that He is there, an unseen Encourager rooting for the underdog. He is there even when we don't realize His Presence. So, dear brother, dear sister, I encourage you even when you can't see Him, God is at work. When dark clouds loom, He is near. He has not forgotten you. He has not abandoned you. He is not uncaring nor unsympathetic to your plight. You can trust Him to lead you through the darkness, through the pain and in spite of where you may be, He can give you a song of praise upon your lips. I leave you with these amazing words from Mercy Me's, "Jesus Bring the Rain": 

♫♫ I can count a million times, people asking me how I can praise You with all that I've gone through. This question just amazes me, could circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You? So I pray, bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain. ♫♫