Monday, July 11, 2011
Letting God do the heavy lifting
A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to change out my van seats. Our YWAM van has big, stupid, heavy seats. John, my friend who was visiting us, would not help me lift the seat. He told me he would get his teenage son to help get the seat in. I inwardly pshawed at John thinking it'd be quicker to just throw it in myself. I picked it up and felt electricity wrap around my back that left me helpless for the next two days. John is wise. I am dumb.
Have you ever been to Nepal? I haven’t. Word on the street is that if Bob Seger ever gets outta here, that’s where he’s going.
I knew a girl who went to Nepal once. She went by way of the classic Youth With A Mission story. A team was going on a missionary journey to Nepal and she knew she was supposed to go with them. She had no money, even up to the day they were leaving. In an act of faith that I would have for sure shrunk back from, she rode along with the team to the airport with bags packed. At the last minute, she got a call on the airport courtesy phone that someone had purchased her a ticket. She went to Nepal.
Nepal was the subject of my first time in a YWAM style prayer meeting. We call it ‘intercession’. I believe it was the first morning of my Discipleship Training School in 1990 and all the YWAMers in Tyler, Texas had gathered for prayer together. In these times, we began to practice a progression of prayer that followed a set of biblical principles to help lead us as a group.
Several hundred of us sat in smaller circles around a gymnasium and prayed together for God to help the nation of Nepal. Something magical happened. In that short hour, I began to feel God’s feelings for the people of Nepal. It’s like he gave me a tiny taste of his love for them. I began to cry. I was caught up in a swell of emotion that I didn’t know what to do with. Afterward, I even felt a little embarrassed. I don’t know if I had ever even thought about Nepal before and here I was, experiencing deep feeling for the people. It was a little intense for my first day.
We Christians can be smug sometimes when we talk about having a ‘burden’ from the Lord. We tout it like it’s such a cool thing to carry a heavy burden for “the lost” or “the poor”. We wear our service, our work, like a badge of honor. But Jesus says to learn from him. His burden is light. No need to brag about how much we carry. We can find rest in him for our souls.
I think prayer or intersession is the place we learn to let God do the heavy lifting. I may never go to Nepal, but God can let me in on his heart for the Nepalese in prayer. It’s not up to me to do great things. God does great things and sometimes he takes me along for the ride. We just have to keep close to his heart.
God is more committed to making the world a better place than you and I. And he uses us in the process if we let him. What is it like to have a heart that stretches around the world? How does God see all the injustices, hear the cry of the desperate and still have love and hope to carry us all? I don’t know. I don’t have to know. But I want to be close to a heart like that. We get there by prayer.
I don’t use a lot of words in prayer anymore unless I’m praying with others or if I’m writing. Simple liturgical prayers or silence are fine by me. It seems that God doesn’t really speak English. He speaks heart and can understand it no matter what language we use. I can go talk to a mountain all I want to, but to really understand it, it’s probably better to just lay down on it. To know the sea, you have to go sit next to it, walk along it and let the water wash your feet.
There are many other ways to pray. THIS ONE has been especially helpful to me.
If you’d like to read YWAM’s principles of intersession, you can find them HERE.
How have you experienced God’s heart in prayer? Did that ever lead you to an unexpected place doing unexpected things?