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How do I even begin? I am not even sure when it started.
It is so much easier to tell stories of my kids, or loved ones. The stories about what God is doing in my heart are harder to tell. They go deep into the crevices of my soul and often I have a hard time putting the experiences into words.
Alas, I will try.
A few months ago I felt the gentle pull of the Lord away from things that I enjoyed doing. Really good things.
I didn't understand it and even felt selfish for pulling away. I felt a lack of peace regarding things that I had so peacefully enjoyed before.
I questioned my heart. I questioned God's leading. Or was it God's leading?
At the time, I didn't know for sure. I just knew that I didn't feel the ease of peace.
It didn't make sense. I felt I had grown a lot in the past year and had much to share regarding experiences. I wanted to surround myself with people to be able to share what my heart was overflowing with.
But, the Lord asked me to stop. To be still. To be quiet.
It was an odd thing. Aren't we supposed to live out loud our faith? Aren't we supposed to go out and make disciples?
I was confused. But, I knew that God was not the author of confusion, but of Peace. [1 Corinthians 14:33]
My mouth suddenly felt like it was taped shut. I felt the pull to be quiet, and to pray. And pray. And pray.
My fingers didn't even feel the pull to write. I had no idea what was happening in my heart, so I had nothing to write about. I had plenty of stories to tell, but my heart was drawn like a magnet to quietness and prayer.
I began to discipline myself in prayer. Prayer does not come easy. It just doesn't. It often feels pointless if I am being honest.
We are more prone to "do", and to "talk" it out.
Or, at least I am.
I would discipline myself in prayer by making it a practice to pray over every single person I came into contact each day. EVERY one.
This led little time for me to talk about myself, or to talk about anything really.
It also led to a lot of listening.
Listening to my children more.
Listening to my husband more.
Listening to the lady that rings up my groceries every Monday morning.
We learn a lot by listening. A whole lot.
I can pray as I listen. It's much easier to do this than pray as I talk.
I thought so much about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, how the Bible said, "she pondered all these things in her heart."[Luke 2:19]
As I listened more intently to the spoken and the unspoken cues of people, I began to feel the deep pull for them to feel the warmth of Jesus. Without me saying a word.
This is hard for a wordy girl.
I mean, how would they know I was praying for them unless I told them? How would they know about all the great things Jesus was doing if I didn't tell them?
Oh, I shudder as I type.
It was all about me. Me, me, me, me.
Did I not think that God could speak to them apart from me?
I liked the feeling of leading someone to Christ. To pointing the way and being the "one" with scripture at the perfect time.
God was [and is] working on my heart.
I began to see the working of God all around me as I sat back, listened more, talked less, and prayed more.
Recently, the most incredible thing happened.
I had been praying for a young mother that I see each week. Every day I would see her, I felt the urge to pray for her. I felt she had lost her way somehow and needed Jesus. This lasted for several weeks.
Last week, she approached my friend and me. She asked my friend about what church she attended. My friend proceeded to tell her, and then an entire conversation pursued, between the two of them, about faith.
I sat there dumbfounded. And, like a third wheel.
I wanted to jump in so badly and say, "Hey!! Let ME talk to to you! Come and visit MY church! I have what you need! I have been praying for you!!"
So embarrassing to admit my true thoughts.
They continued in conversation, and I quietly walked away.
"God, what are you doing? I have been praying for her! Why did you use my friend to talk to her and not me?"
Slowly, my vision became focused. I saw so clear what God was doing in my heart.
Did it matter who led her to Christ? Did it matter which church she attended?
What mattered is that God heard my prayers, and He answered them.
And guess what? I got no credit. From anyone. NOT ONE PERSON.
But, God knew.
Was that not enough for me?
Oh, the pride. Oh, the stinking pride.
Are we willing to go behind closed doors, to be anonymous....and seek the face of God on behalf of those around us? Are we willing to step back and let God get the Glory?
Or, are we getting in His way. Is our pride keeping Him from answering our prayers.
Are our mouths bigger than our ears? Do we talk more than we listen?
Lord, change us.
Let us be willing to have hearts on fire with prayer, without one person knowing it.
There is a time to pray out loud, and a time to pray in secret.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
How quickly we say YES when asked if we will pray about something for someone. And, just as quickly we forget.
Are we so busy portraying our wisdom and Christianity that we forget what is needed most?
1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
So often, in church and in the world, we are urged to be vocal. To let our intentions and our desires be known. To speak!
Could it be that our loud words are getting in the way of the gentle whispers of God?
In all of our efforts to be great missionaries, are our mouths drowning out our prayers and hushing the Holy Spirit?
Oh, Lord, change us.
Is it possible to lead obscure, quiet, prayerful lives?
Jesus sure did.
He made no commotion about Himself. He often was drawn to quiet places. Seeking the face of God. Often when everyone else was sleeping.
Lord, help us to be like Jesus.
Hearts bent on You and not ourselves.
Help us to be okay with not being in the spotlight. To live obscure lives. In Your Mighty Shadow.
shutting my mouth and opening my ears,
(re-post from 11/9/17)
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