Last week the family and me had an opportunity to spend a few days in Florida. We snuck in a couple of Disney moments (a fascinating place and still something of a cultural moment for me), and lounged by the pool and as the weekend drew near, I prepared to speak at the Cherished Women’s Conference.
On Friday night it was amazing to stand alongside hundreds of other women in worship, loud passionate voices. From the outside it was clear these ladies weren’t playing; they had rearranged their time, their schedules to be with God and meet with him.
A most poignant part for me was that the event was the live stream to Tambov Russia, where a group of mainly African students had gathered to be part of the conference. I learned these men and women travelled through the night, worshiping and praying at 1 am, in preparation for our event which began at 3am their time. Talk about commitment; talk about capacity. I wondered what fruit would come from their sacrificial investment, from their passion in action. Their very presence inspired me, drew me back to previous reflections…
These past few months have reminded me how much I need to cultivate a lifestyle of prayer. Not just a prayer time, but also a posture that dictates how I live life. Its not because I feel especially desperate; this time its not a crisis driven cry for help (though I consider those legit!). I feel a yearning for deeper prayer in the good things, in the fun of a growing family. I’m humbled and hear the call to pray as I face the opportunities and responsibilities that life delivers. I’m sobered and reminded of the need for more prayer as I consider the challenges facing those and me I love. In every facet of my life, to be a healthy whole woman, wife, mom, leader, friend, daughter, I’m aware that I need so much more of God. I need to be fuelled by His fire, empowered by His presence, inspired by His vision, led by Him. I need to be with Him to wrestle my motives to the ground, to walk in humility and forgiveness, to surrender my life. I need to be with Him to get the courage and power to walk in dreams way too big for me. How else can I expect to have the capacity to engage in His kingdom purposes? Am I planning on doing this life in my own strength?
Nonetheless, I’m also aware that my busy days, my sensibilities, my lists, even by the Good Things I do for God, all too easily crowd out prayer. Perhaps, dare I say it – especially by the Good Things I do for God. I’m seeing that I need to protect my prayer life, work at it, dig deeper, listen harder. Not to earn a love that I already have, simply to invest in the love that I have, and to surrender.
When my brothers and sisters in Tambov deliberately interrupted their very busy lives and schedules (a number of them are medics) to worship and pray and get into God’s word through the night, it presented both an inspiration and a challenge:
Am I ready to rearrange my life and priorities, pay the price in sleep, in inconvenience and comfort – whatever it takes – to develop a posture of prayer?