Sometimes, the Father will become really proactive in communicating with His children. Other times, He will be happy to sit silently, waiting on us to begin a conversation with Him about whatever it is that we might want to talk about. A long time ago, I stopped approaching prayer as a formula, a discipline and a routine. Prayer became less of a recitation of what I needed, wanted or felt brave enough to ask for. Over time, I stopped watching the clock to ensure I had prayed long enough to soothe my conscience concerning whether or not I was truly a praying man. I recognized that Scripture called me to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), so that lone verse liberated me from viewing prayer as something I need to take care of first thing in the morning before I began my day. I had always been taught (as well as me teaching others) that a morning quiet time was the best way to approach prayer. While I am all for praying in the morning, I recognize now that my simplistic view of prayer was really not aligned with the heart of my God. Life started becoming an active dialogue between me and my God. It was not just me talking to Him, running through my prayer list, covering my wife and children in intercession and crying out for an anointing on all that I was doing for Him. It became much more holy in the sense of His presence. Honestly, it became a conversation back then that still has not ended.
My strong hope is that it never will. My vision for my life is that God and I will be talking with one another until I enter His presence. When that moment arrives, my guess is that the conversation will become radically more dynamic.
Today, while sitting in the prayer room at IHOP Atlanta, I found the Lord getting proactive with me, calling me to pray about a particular facet of our relationship in which I could sense Him offering me growth. He let me know that I was actually struggling in this particular area, and that He was building it in spite of me not really being proactive with addressing it. In essence, His invitation sounded like this to me:
“Jeff, you know you need help with this. You are just getting by. I am working on this today whether you show up or not. I would like you to come and join me. Let’s work on this together. You will be glad that you did. I’m in – are you, Jeff?”
Of course, I said yes. Then I started to cry at the non-condemning, kindhearted way in which my Father asked me to join Him in working on my heart. It felt like it was my responsibility. He had made it His own. Soon enough, I began praying about the matter and could sense Holy Spirit coaching me along like a four-year-old riding a bike for the first time. You’d think that I would be a little farther along in my journey than having to compare it to a kid in Pre-K figuring out how to pedal and steer at the same time. The truth is, I am not – not in this area. I still need Father’s voice, Holy Spirit’s power and Jesus centering me to remember how I am doing this for Him and with Him. Before long, I was taken right into the middle of what the Lord had been working on in my own heart. He met me there. He had been waiting for me to show up and see what He was doing.
Father, I need greater faith.
I need my trust-muscle to grow.
Holy Spirit, I don’t want to live my life dragging an anvil behind me and then calling that a life of faith.
I have actually gotten used to dragging this thing. I have learned to live with it. That’s not victory. That’s tolerance for a weight on my soul that my Savior died to remove and liberate me from its drag.
Jesus, keep my attention. I am so easily distracted off of You. It’s embarrassing. I want You to remain my center. Lock eyes on me and lock mine on You. When I am looking at You, things make sense.
Fill Your immeasurable hand, Abba, with the best that You’ve chosen for me. Then tilt your hand down toward me so it begins to rain down on my life. Let me remember that it is You that invited me to believe You for more.
Jesus, there is still this little orphan inside of me who shows up from time to time. It is not all the time, Father. But it is too much. He doesn’t believe that He is really a son.
Spirit of adoption, win this kid over to the Father.
I’m showing up today to work on it with You. Thank You for the invitation.