Prayer : A Channel for the Passion

It’s awesome how God chooses to work with me. It’s as if He knows me more than I know myself, and better, and He chooses to deal with me in a way different than I would expect, but in a way that, when the change is complete, leaves me feeling, not as though I’ve just given up my dearest friend, but as though I’ve finally found that thing for which I’ve been searching my entire life but didn’t realize. Perhaps He deals with others differently, breaking them and crushing the hardened and the strong… but He has dealt kindly with me.

Is. 51:22: “Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling, the chalice of My anger, You will never drink it again.” I’ve underlined those verses in my Bible. And I feel as though He is still restoring my soul for His own causes, and for the sake of His name.

For example (regarding the searching), I’ve often felt guilty about not praying for other people (intercessory prayer) as much as I should. I feel selfish asking in all things for myself. Help ME, give ME strength, hold MY hand… keep ME from stumbling… I’ve wondered if.. no, I’ve known that I should pray for others. On the other hand, it’s like I’ve told a lot of people, there are a lot of things that should be, and aren’t. *smile* It seems that God is in the business of making things that should be out of things that shouldn’t.

Sorry. I’ve been told I’m a dramatic and drag out stories.

Yesterday, I found myself with nothing to do. The novel was finished, I had the day off, and softball got called off, and my grandparents were out of town. All that was left was MacGyver, and I’d already seen more than my share. I’d already gone walking. Boredom was staring me down.

I felt this passion inside of me, desperate to be unleashed somewhere. I couldn’t find the beginnings for another novel, and I had nothing to write on myspace. In short, passion with no outlet. Finally, I gave in and pulled out my notebook and poured out my questions to my creator. I filled a page with questions. “What is my place? If I am a writer, or am to be a writer, for whom shall I write?” “The question of why burns in my soul. Why should I run? That will tell me how and where. WHO should I love? That will tell me why, I suppose.” “Who am I? Why do I exist? What am I to chase? Where is my place? Why do I go to work tomorrow?”

I was a passion seeking a cause.

You know, it’s strange. I think perhaps the reason God speaks to me in the shower is because I’m distracted, and because my ADD-infected mind finally drops into neutral long enough for Him to get a word in edgewise.

I was seeking to love someone. To feel for others. “What is the point of a fortune if one has none to share it with?” “What is the point of a house without a soul to share it with?” I have that need built into me. I need to give. I need to love. I need to care. And about more than myself.

I suspect that God was smiling when He connected the dots for me. All that passion, that desire to love and care and give… He channeled into prayer. Prayer for friends, family, people I love, and even our president. When my heart was finally strong enough to fight again, my Father gave me an assignment: to pray for others. I filled another page with requests for others, and not for myself. Probably the first one ever.

Conspicuous, isn’t it? He takes the longings and… I don’t have the word for it.. passion, I guess… that thing that burns within me to do good, to give back… that thing that is not fire, but not ice.. that is strong… I don’t know. Perhaps it is love. A desire to love some one. To have a reason for doing; a reason that is a person. He took that and channeled it into prayer.

And so it was that the God I love who loves me more has turned that thing I felt guilt for not doing.. into a recognition of it being the very thing I longed to do, but never realized. And so I find again in God not an unkind and cruel dictator, but a kind and loving Father who knows me better than I do myself, and sometimes changes my heart in small, gentle nudges so that I find myself longing to do the very thing that I felt I should have been doing all along and did not want to because it felt religious.

See, I guess I’m getting now that religious activities aren’t necessarily wrong. It isn’t wrong to do things that look religious, unless of course you’re doing them to look religious. Many people do, I think. Religion is a ceremony performed without a cause. Worship is a loving response to a God who loves, and in many cases, the response appears the same as religion… because religion is a clone of love for God, with the passion and the love removed from it. Religion is the evil twin of loving God… they look alike, but one is a show, a sham, and the other persists in private and among those who wouldn’t know or wouldn’t care, or would care and would hate it.

I hadn’t planned that paragraph.

It would appear then that the motives and intentions of the heart are the central issue. It is not entirely what we do, but why we do it. Are our actions brought about by loving God, or by an attempt to make ourselves look good? I have to confess that I’ve spent time in religion after I thought I’d abandoned it. Now I’m in the church because God is my life support, and His kids have been with me, showing Him to me through their lives.

Anyone can be religious… even people with a relationship. I want to live in righteousness out of love, and not because “I should.” I want to live well because I want to. And I want to want to for the right reason: love for God. I wish I had time to expound on that, but it’s late, and I haven’t prayed yet… and that list is pretty long. Odds are, if you’re reading this, you’re on it. And if you’ve got something special you’d like me to ask for for you, just say the word. You know how to reach me. If you’ve got a myspace, comment or PM me, and if not, you probably have my email address.

And pray for me, if you’re so inclined. That I’ll keep growing. That God will keep me from giving in to the temptations I face all the time, that He will help me to grow stronger, and that He will continue to reveal His love for me. The number one thing I ask for myself? That God will show Himself to me in the way I need Him that day, and that He will make me into the man he created me to be.

And if you feel like asking Him about it, one of these days I wanna be a daddy. Pray for the girl who’s going to be mommy; I’m not sure who she is yet. Pray that God will continue to make me into a man of God, and that I’ll be a good daddy for those kids and a good husband for their momma. And that He’ll work that out in His way. I’ve given up on mine… every time I try to help God along, it seems to end in disaster. Pray for me, eh?

Thanks for dropping by. Thanks for reading. And thanks for praying for me. It means more than it used to… and more than I’ll ever know down here.

PS. That’s why the church is God’s hope for the world. Praying for each other. It brings us together, and builds us up. It’s tough to look down on somebody if you’re asking God to build them up… and harder to hate someone you’re asking God to bless. The church is the hope for the world.

Peace be with you 🙂

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