Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The mirror and the window.

I don’t know much about prayer. I don’t know the right way to do it or have a three-sentence formula you can pray to unleash God’s blessings or joy. Basically my entire knowledge of prayer boils down to the knowing that I need to do it. I just don’t know how.

But lately, I’ve felt more comfortable with admitting that to God, to starting off my prayers with “I don’t know what to say right now.” He seems alright with that. In fact, I think all along he knew that was coming, which is one of the reasons He gave me the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 says

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

I like that verse and in times when my heart feels it’s run dry or I can’t honestly see through my attempts to manipulate God with posturing I’ll simply say “Holy Spirit, please groan for me.” And I think it does.

Another thing I think it does, is that it reflects back my prayers to me. All too often, my prayers, my hopes, my dreams, are outward, not inward. I stand in a big room and peer out a window at a horizon and throw words to God for faraway people and faraway places.

I pray for Africa and people I’ve never met, missions and moments that he’ll give me so I can share his love. And then the Holy Spirit taps me on my shoulder and shows me that in addition to a really big window, there’s a mirror in the room. And it’s not as exotic looking as the window, the horizon doesn’t stretch for miles, the view feels pretty plain, the frame around the mirror is dinged up and scraped in several places from years of hard living.

But God still wants me to look in there. When I say “Give me a mission.” He points at the mirror and says “Give me a meeting on a Monday.” When I say “Bless me with people to love.” He says “your wife is people.” When I say “give me the world to help you.” He makes me look in the mirror and see that there’s already a whole world standing behind me in the room I’m in.

I still pray for big missions and big masses of people I can address from a podium and big tomorrows. But I’m learning to pray for today and pray outward and inward, with a mirror and a window.

1 comment:

JJ said...

Wow. This post kind of had the opposite effect on me. I don't pray "big picture" things nearly enough. I'm pretty much consumed with that mirror.