Tag Archives: holy spirit

The Power of Prayer

I hate to admit it, but I sometimes go through waves when it comes to prayer. I wish I could say I am 100% prayer warrior all the time, but if I’m honest, I have to say I go through seasons. Sometimes I believe prayer has the power to change the world and the idea of praying unceasingly comes naturally. Then there are other seasons where, though not from a lack of love for the Lord, praying just doesn’t feel all that important. Prayer is always powerful, but sometimes it is easier to let that truth grip my heart and sometimes I have to fight for it.

The past few months have been the latter kind of season. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to pray, it’s just that prayer lost some of its priority in my heart. As I wrestled through different life circumstances, I began to question the true impact or power of prayer.

And then some seemingly small events in the past two weeks reminded me of the significance of prayer. The truth that the Lord hears and delights in responded to our petitions. The fact that He loves to have our hearts aligned with His.

With these recent musing on prayer, I found a post that I wrote my senior year of high school, a time when I believed and saw the tangible reality of prayer. My hope is that by dusting off some of these old truths, they will breathe new life into your hearts. It has for me.

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April 2013

“I have felt the impact of your prayers these past weeks. I am certain now that nothing has had a more powerful influence on this life of mine than your prayers.” Jim Elliot

“Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” A.B. Simpson

“Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all pray.” R.A. Torrey

“It is possible for the most obscure person in a church, with a heart right toward God, to exercise as much power for the evangelization of the world, as it is for those who stand in the most prominent positions.” John R. Mott

“The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.” Samuel Zwemer

“We can reach our world, if we will. The greatest lack today is not people or funds. The greatest need is prayer.” Wesley Duewel

“I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home…I do earnestly covet a volume of prayer for my work — but oh! for a volume of faith too. Will you give this?” James Fraser

I’ll be the first to admit my discipline in prayer is extremely lacking. But praise to be to God who is stirring up my heart, burdening me for His people and places. Will you allow Him to move your heart for the work He is doing around the world?

I love the image that we get to approach the Throne of Grace on the behalf of others. Let the intercession of God’s people pile up before His throne, just as Revelation 8:4 says,

“The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.”

It amazes me that we are loved by the Creator of the universe, who delights in our asking and seeking. In Scripture, prayer moves the heart of God, but more than that, it changes the heart of the believer. We pray to stand in agreement with God and with His people. That has the power to change everything inside of us.

Casting Nets on an Ordinary Day

Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Matthew 4:18-20, MSG

How many times did they cast their nets into that sea? How many days of fishing had weathered their skin? How many conversations, laughs, frustrations had that boat seen?

But something made that day different.

That was the day Jesus stepped into the ordinary.

I’m continually reminded that I don’t know the plans of the Lord. We don’t know His days or His hours. We live these “ordinary” days, casting our nets and pulling up fish (or walking to class and swiping into the dining hall), and yet the Lord is moving all the while.

How many moments had they lived, had led up to the moment of Christ’s call? Moments that seemed monotonous, routine, insignificant. Moments spent waiting, wondering if there was more. Moments of laughter and frustration and tears that brought them to that specific boat, on that specific place in the water, at that specific point in time, where their hearts were in the perfect posture to drop everything for Jesus.

We get into these traps of waiting for that moment. And while the Lord may be preparing us for something in the future, we don’t know that. What He does tell us is that He’s stepping into every moment. His Spirit is always moving around us. Every moment is part of His divine plan, leading us to the specific places that we can’t see or even imagine.

I doubt the men, who would later become the apostles and foundation of Christ’s church, were feeling anything akin to calling or obedience that day on the water. They probably didn’t even realize that by untying their boat that day they were operating squarely in the perfect will of the Lord. But that is the precise place Jesus wanted them.

And when He called into the moment they didn’t realize was even happening, they responded with immediate obedience. And then, the Spirit moves on. The moment passes and other comes. And whether or not you feel like you have just been called out of the boat into new, exciting ministry with Jesus, or you are just throwing over another net, rest in the fact that you are where the Lord wants you. He has things for you right now, right where you are. He’s moving, right where you are sitting, reading this. Are the eyes of your heart being attentive to it? Is there a “yes” in your heart to what He’s doing – whether it’s calling you out of the boat or to throw the nets in again?

Ordinary days. But we get to live them under the banner of God’s love, Jesus’ redemption, and the Holy Spirit’s empowering. We aren’t just fishing, y’all.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16, NIV

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The Blogging Hiatus.

Do you even know what a hiatus is?

I didn’t. Or at least, I didn’t when I wrote the title.

It means a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process. Synonyms include the words interval, intermission, interlude, lull, respite, suspension. I always have this idea when I get back from big events that I will have a renewed vigor to post on my blog because I will have a new set of experiences to dish out. Getting back from Asia and then more recently from the End of the Year Gathering in PA should have resulted in newfound inspiration, not a hiatus.

I think I like the word “hiatus” best out of all the synonyms. Everything else seems to imply that the break was conscious, unwarranted, or undesirable. I unconsciously made the personal decision to ignore blogging for two months because everything has been great. Have I mentioned the Lord is so very good and so very jealous for both me and His glory?

It’s not that I don’t want to write about Asia – I can’t. Part of me can’t because practically what I’m allowed to say on the internet is limited because of the potential hostility that could come to the people we worked alongside. But an even bigger part of me can’t because I don’t know what to say. First, so much of what happened is personal. Some of it couldn’t be explained unless you’d been exactly where we were, doing exactly what we were doing. And some of it I don’t want to explain because it is precious to me, moments between me and the Lord or me and someone else that I cherish to much to just repeat for the world to lend a careless eye to. Second, so much actually happened. Two weeks and one camp later I have more than one evening’s worth of stories circling through my head. I don’t know where I’d even begin.

So I came back with a fresh overflowing of the Holy Spirit. For the first time in a long time, joy and peace saturated my heart and spilled over into every area of my life. God has been healthy convicting, molding, and teaching me. He cuts away at my flesh but it feels so good and free. How can you express what God is doing and has done in your heart in jumbled letters on a page?

And as I began to wade the new waters of sufficient grace and love, I finished finals and packed up the car for the gathering in PA. Thinking back to the insecurity, fear, and disappointment that hindered my heart during the last EOTYG, I began to let the work God had solidified overseas, but began long before that, penetrate my timid heart. Confidence and identity. I got to hug all my friends. I laughed at their jokes and we told stories. We danced and I listened to their singing. Finally, smiling and misty-eyed, I was handed a high-school diploma. I couldn’t say which was better, India or Lancaster because they were so different. But they were both two of the best and most memorable times in my life. I’m smiling as I type this, to give you an indication…

How do you write a blog post to sum up the culmination of a lifetime of emotions, when you know the culmination is just the beginning of a lifetime’s more?

How can you conclude the last chapter of your life when it is still being written and spilling over into the next?

I don’t think I can.

Which is why I’ve sat in front of a blog post more than once since being back, thoughtlessly tapping on the keys. Words won’t come. How can they? I can’t sum up or explain what God has done in me while I was away. I can’t write out all that the Lord has been doing in me and through me these past few weeks. I can’t put a value to my feelings. I can’t put to words the change in both my heart and my life.

But I feel like I can’t go ahead and post the movie reviews, my bucket list, photos, and stories without attempting some closure. For Asia. For graduation. For the gathering. For a new post on my blog.

I don’t know what the next few months or years have in store for me. I don’t pretend to know the plans of the Lord. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to put into words, what stories I’ll end up telling, or how many photos I’ll remember to capture. But I do know the Lord loves me passionately, His grace is utterly sufficient for me, His Holy Spirit is in me, and He is good. And contrary to what the past two months would have you believe, I do love this blog.

I have one life and looking back (see the video below), it has been more abundantly blessed and full than I’ve ever realized before. I’ve been to Europe and Asia. I’ve met and built relationships with some of the most incredible, influential people, and best friends. I’ve learned more than I could’ve ever anticipated about the Lord. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I could in school and I grew to love learning. Looking back fills me with sentiment, yes. But it also fills me with immense hope. The faithful God who had His hand on the baby Maddie who wanted to shave like her dad, dance in the rain, and eat all the birthday cake is the same trustworthy God who will go on with me to return my Redbox movie today (btw, I sort of loved Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher), travel with me to Wheaton, and guide me for the rest of my life. I just hope I remember to blog some of it.