The Posture of Prayer

I watched Little House on the Prairie last night.  It happened to be an episode I had never seen before.  The Ingles have a son, James. James was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He walked into a store and was shot walking into a robbery.  All the doctors, friends, and family of Charles Ingles told him to give up there was not any hope for his son.  Charles believed there was hope.  Everyone else thought he was crazy and that his faith was going to let him down.

He took off with his son and camped with his son to meet with God.  Charles built an altar and prayed there for his son.  He did something radical.  And in the eyes of others what he was doing was weird, strange, and crazy.  Yet, he believed God was going to restore the health of his son. So he assumed a posture of prayer by faith that God was going to do something miraculous.

Prayer is much more than ourselves.  Prayer is so much more than the desires of our hearts.  I know for me that way too often prayer becomes more about me than it is about  God.  There are times in life when circumstances can seem so desperate.  Those are the times the prayers I seem to speak that tend to be more about me than God.

Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”  (Mark 11:22-25, The Message).

In the TV show, Charles took a radical posture of prayer.  One that others laughed and mocked with their own lack of faith and pity.  This has made me consider my own posture of prayer.  In this life of faith, have I made prayer and my walk of faith after Jesus Christ a place of safety and a refuge for me?  Have I resigned myself to the four walls of my living room and chosen to keep Jesus to myself here?

I believe there is more to this life than what I am living today.  No, I’m not a teenager or a young single college student any longer with the world ahead of me.  I have a family.  I have bills to pay and responsibilities that must be taken care of.  Yet, I believe there is so much more than the safe place I now call home.  There is a mission, a purpose, and a plan for me – in the world I live.  I don’t want to be like the one who buried his talent we read about in Matthew 25:14-28.  I want the Father to be pleased with what I have done with the gifts he has given me to use for His purposes.

Ignoring Internal Reservations

This year I have been asked to take on two different teams and my response to both was, “Yes, I will take it on.”  (The teams were with different organizations.) I had reservations prior to agreeing to work with both.  At the time,  it seemed the opportunities out-weighed the reservations.  In both cases, shortly after I started the small reservations I had internally became great stumbling blocks.  The result was that both began to affect other areas of my life and eat away at real passions I have.

A few things I learned as a result or saying, “Yes.”, when I should have responded with, “No.”:

  • Listen to the quiet internal reservations and investigate them.
  • Ignoring the reservations can bring on unwanted stress later.
  • Lost momentum. (Personally and for the team).
  • Risk of losing credibility if the reservations aren’t dealt with first.

Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:5 have been very helpful to me as I have moved forward with stepping away from both teams.  I’m realizing how important it is to take every thought captive

We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. (The Message).

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV).

I have come to understand the importance of taking every thought captive and submitting them to the obedience of Christ.  There is freedom found in Jesus when we trust in him and allow him to shape our lives with his life.  I read in My Utmost for His Highest , “When the inspiration of God does come, it comes with such miraculous power that we are able to arise from the dead and do the impossible thing.” (Oswald Chambers)