Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In Other Words--Prayer Changes Perspective

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“Prayer invites us to rest in the fact that God is in control, and the world’s problems are ultimately God’s, not ours. If I spend enough time with God, I will inevitably begin to look at the world from the point of view that more resembles God’s own. What is faith, after all but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”
~Philip Yancey~
~From "Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference?"~
I remember distinctly lying in bed about eighteen months ago, with the crushing realisation that things were not going to change and we were not going to be able to continue to worship with the congregation that we had been with for over eight years. I remember singing Matt Redman's chorus "you give and take away" and through tears asking God to at least allow it to make sense someday. Those months of disillusionment and pain as theology and practicality divided were months spent on my knees more than any other time in my life. I so wanted to be in control of my destiny, and I had absolutely no control.

Now, looking in reverse, I see how much I learned about prayer during that time. My prayer "just allow it to make sense" has been answered but not how I expected. I have not received any lightening bolt revelations. Instead, I see day-by-day as we now worship with a different congregation how that experience changed my perspective. This congregation faced many of the same decisions that the old congregation faced. I'd venture to say that the same kind of divide was plausible here. But they made their choices from a platform of a different foundation--a platform of unquestioning love for one another. I see it, and I appreciate it in a way that I would not have at the beginning of this journey. When we ask questions that are fueled by our past experience, I hear answers that are fused with the new perspective I need. God is demonstrating to me that those months of crying out were used to re-focus the lenses of my heart to see his work in a new way.

I would have preferred to get here without the pain. But it was in the pain of the journey that I was able to yield the control to him and learn to trust him even more. Looking in reverse, the pain is not as crippling as I perceived it and had a purpose. So it is worth it.

Looking forward to 2011, I am sure there are things that are going to challenge my desire to control in my life. But the lessons learned in prayer during 2009 and 2010 have laid a foundation. I am certain that through prayer, my understanding of 2011 will be more and more through the eyes of the one who holds it is his hands. That is reason enough to persevere with prayer.

Father, thank you for using the pain of the past several months to change my perspective.  Thank you for allowing me to see glimplses of your work through your eyes. Continue to focus my heart to have spiritual eyes into the situations at hand. Amen.

Our wonderful hostess for this week is Debbie at Heart Choices.  You will be blessed if you visit.

4 comments:

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing with us this week. I appreciate your honesty in this painful situation. But I love how you wrote:

"I would have preferred to get here without the pain. But it was in the pain of the journey that I was able to yield the control to him and learn to trust him even more. Looking in reverse, the pain is not as crippling as I perceived it and had a purpose. So it is worth it."

No matter what the experience, I know I could echo this sentiment. But it seems that in the midst of the pain we cling even harder to the Lord. And we grow through this process as you so beautifully wrote in this post.

Blessings and love,
Debbie

Luke said...

Good reminder: Prayer isn't about twisting God's arm so He bends to our will, but rather learning to rest in His.

~Luke

Tami Boesiger said...

God is always good, even when we can't see it. Praising Him you are through that turmoil friend.

Marsha Young said...

When you describe what might be called "where the rubber meets the road" - that is in your words, "where theology and practicality divided" - your honesty and pain were searingly clear.

Many believers have had to walk away from a congregation or felowship, for various legitimate reasons, at some time in their life and all who did it prayerfully will admit that it was one of the most painful experiences of their faith-life.

Thank you for your hard-won insights. God bless you - Marsha Young