Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

My wife attends the University of West Florida. As a student card carrier (nautilus card), she has complimentary access to the UWF Fitness Center. This is a sprawling complex, a candy store (or should I say a fruit and veggie stand) for fit and becoming fit people. Amenities include basketball courts, locker rooms, exercise machines, free weights, cardio machines (including scary stair climbers – my calves shake in fear), and climbing walls. Becki has free access because she has a student card.

Climbing Wall at UWF Fitness Center

Climbing Wall at UWF Fitness Center

Gym On at UWF Fitness Center

Gym On at UWF Fitness Center

In January, we paid for me to join (perk of being married to a very cute Argonaut).  My wallet now holds a nautilus guest card and I have access to the candy (or fruit and veggies). I take full advantage, usually visiting twice a week to get my gym on. When I approach the check-in gate a twinge of panic presents itself because I’m not a student and I don’t feel like I should be walking in with students. Then, I pull out my nautilus card, swipe it through the id scanner and sashay in. Panic passes and confidence comes. I have access because I paid for a guest card.

A place exists infinitely greater than my new fitness center. This place is not greater because of its amenities but because of its occupant. This occupant is the source of all things, ruling the cosmos with absolute authority and plenary power while being the very definition of love. This occupant is God Almighty and this great place is His throne room. An insignificant speck of dust like me has no business entertaining thoughts of seeing this great place let alone entering. Forget panic, that is pure poppycock. Jesus Chris, God’s Son, paid for me to have a card called salvation that grants me access. By accepting the gift of this card, not only am I granted access to this great place but also into this great God’s family. Every time I pray, I can confidently come in and call God Almighty my heavenly Father. I have access because Jesus paid for a son card.

Hebrews 4:16 (NASB) Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Ever since I was a little squirt I’ve known that Jesus loves me.  John 3:16 and the song Jesus Loves Me have been foundations securely stationed in my soul.  This month in youth group we’ve been learning about the Lord’s love for us and how we in return can love Him.  This past Sunday I experienced the love of Jesus in a very unique way.

While getting ready for my day I got down on my knees to spend a few moments praying.  My mind wandered and I wondered what entering the Throne Room of heaven would look  like considering the triunity of God.  I imagined three thrones set up for the Spirit, Son and Father.  That scene quickly dissolved (probably erased for heresy by Holy Spirit) and was replaced with one throne for God the Father and another throne at His right hand for Jesus the Son with Holy Spirit present to enable (see Luke 22:69, Hebrews 12:2, Revelation 22:1).

I approached the throne of God (see Hebrews 4:16).  Reverently I recited, “I come in the name of Jesus,” (see John 16:23) and looked to His throne.  I could vaguely see His face and it filled with warmth and welcome for me.  I felt a burst of excitement and love in my heart for my Savior and felt a rush of His love for me, far greater than my love for Him.  I realized that Jesus loves me far more than I have ever loved Him.  Immediately a prayer left my lips, “Help me to love You like You love me and to love others like You do.”

I understand that in and of myself I don’t love Jesus like He loves me.  For that matter, I don’t have the capacity to love Him like He deserves to be loved.  So, that prayer has become an anthem in my heart.

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV, “37 Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

A few Saturdays ago I pulled into Winn Dixie and slowed at the crosswalk in front of the store to let a teenaged mentally handicapped boy (looked to have down syndrome) slowly and with much effort push his cart through the crosswalk.  Behind him a guy stood showering this boy with smiles and encouragement. With that motivation behind him, the boy valiantly struggled to push his cart.

I whispered a prayer that the Lord would heal the boy.

Just then I noticed a lady standing by a car on the other side of the crosswalk.  She opened her arms wide and loving encouraged the boy.  It appeared that she was with the guy across the way, a couple taking time out of their day to be with and encourage this handicapped boy.  The whole scene warmed my heart and made me smile.

Then, I heard the Lord whisper to me, “Maybe he’s more healed than you think”

My dad and I drove into Subway after a relatively normal morning of hard lawn work last Thursday. While we devoured our subs the heavens opened and unleashed a torrential downpour. Luckily we had covered the equipment (in hopes of keeping water out of the temperamental engines).

Rainy view from Subway Window

By the time we finished our subs and got to our next lawn the rain had lessened to a cold drizzle. We uncovered the equipment. Dad jumped on the mower, turned the key and both out hearts sunk as it  gave a wet, I’m-not-starting, cough.

As Dad feverishly continued trying to crank it, I prayed in the back of my mind. The Lord nudged me to put my hand on the mower and pray. Faith and expectation swelled in my heart. In between cranks, I placed my hand and said a brief prayer that the mower would start in Jesus’ name. Then selfishly I thought if the mower started it would be a credit to my prayer. Dad gave it a crank and … Nothing.

I reminded myself in that moment that prayer is meant to bring glory to GOD and not ME (see Isaiah 42:8). Faith built in my heart again and this time Dad cranked and WROOM!!!  Dad commented later what an unusual thing it was for the engine to crank after being wet and not cranking.

Praise God, prayer works, even on dead lawn mowers.

A few Wednesdays ago, it felt like my world was collapsing around me.  I had major issues to deal with in the youth group (some individuals in disappointingly destructive sin and the whole group shrinking in size) and at the same time major issues to grapple with personally in relationships and in my family.  My stress, frustration, disappointment, and ache felt palpable all around me.

Pretty much every Wednesday before service the youth and I spend up to an hour in prayer.  This particular Wednesday during prayer, I poured out my heart to God as best I could, which honestly end up being more of me just aching inside and barely mumbling, not able to articulate all the issues very well.  I did manage to ask the Lord how to deal with it all or at least how to start to deal with them.  The Lord strongly and yet tenderly spoke and His words echoed through my spirit, “The answer is my Presence.”

I wanted Him to tell me, “The answers are in my Presence”, meaning if I pushed (the old adage Pray Until Something Happens) and pressed in prayer I would find all the answers I needed.  But, that’s not what He said.  He told me the answer itself was His Presence.  Instead of looking for crystal clear answers or a ten step action plan on how to deal with my issues I needed to simply look to the Lord and be in His Presence.  From that place of relationship TOGETHER we can tackle any issues or situations together.

So, in prayer and for the rest of the evening I focused on simply being with Him in His Presence.  And, some of the issues simply worked themselves out.  I feel like the Lord worked them out on my behalf behind the scenes.  Other issues are still ongoing.  But, from this place of relationship we are tackling them together.

Paul Wilbur sings about the Presence of God.