Saturday, September 1, 2018

Prayer Weeks

Our church is in for a dramatic change!  We're amalgamating with another church and getting a building.  Our first Sunday together is Sept 9th.  In preparation for that we've been having joint prayer meetings every night for the past two weeks.  I haven't been able to go every night, but I've gone to a number of these meetings and they've been good.  We've had a different focus every evening, (the harvest, social injustice, who God is, etc.) with a time of worship and personal reflection/preparation to start.

I felt like God spoke a couple of things to me during these prayer times.
  1. A scripture that was used in one of the meetings was 2 Chronicles 7:14 'If my people,
    The trees in our backyard on a cloudy day
    The trees in our backyard on a cloudy day
    who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.'  The phrase that stuck out to me that evening was 'seek my face.'  If I remember right, the Israelites in the Old Testament believed that if they saw God's face, they'd die....  so why would they want to seek His face?  Or why did He ask them to seek His face?  I thought it was an interesting irony, so when I got home I looked it up.  It turns out, 'seeking God's face' is more literally translated 'seeking God's presence.' 
        Being present in this moment for God.
    Last night I was struggling with just that.  Distracting thoughts kept coming.  When someone isn't physically present with you, its a faith exercise to 'stay present' with them.  One easy way I've found to manage this is to offer those distracting thoughts to God - just turn them into prayers.  I'm not sure why I didn't completely take advantage of it last night.  
  2. It was windy yesterday and I was looking out our back window at the trees blowing in the wind.  It was also sunny out (the picture above was from a day later when it was cloudy) so the shadows of the leaves were dynamic on the ground to say the least.  The wind was so boisterous the phrase that came into my mind is 'the trees are dancing.'  And then I noticed all the different types of trees and how they moved in the wind.  The willow trees were moving vibrantly - whole branches were bending up and down.  Our neighbour's younger trees were leaning away from the wind in sweeping dips.  Our spruce tree, on the other hand, was wiggling stiffly, not making big sweeping motions.
    It struck me how, if the trees were people dancing, God would love and accept each of them and their dancing just the way He made them.  He wouldn't expect the spruce tree to move like the willows - they are made totally different.  I think its similar with us when I consider prayer and worship.  We're all made differently and we've experienced life differently.  We're going to pray and worship God in different ways.  I believe He accepts that.  I need to as well.  I shouldn't compare myself to others and think 'perhaps that's the way I should be praying'.  I also shouldn't compare myself to others and think 'Whew, at least I sang better than them.'  Little children don't compare - they don't give what they are doing a second thought.  They are just 'present in that moment.'  
God, help me to be present in this moment, for you.

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