I feel like the Holy Spirit has drawn me into a new understanding of prayer by participating in the ‘Prayer Collective.’ Each week I look forward to coming and partaking. It’s like a never ending gift exchange between the Holy Spirit and myself, where we converse and break bread together. He opens my eyes a little further each week as I worship. He helps me to re-imagine my desires and life goals and how to pursue them in light of eternal value. To build up treasure in Heaven and not on this earth, where moth and rust can destroy as the word says. All of us invest in lots of things for our future…our retirement fund, our kid’s college education and the list goes on. Our treasure can be seen in the things we invest our time and money in, and sadly a lot of what we invest in does not have eternal heavenly value. When I think of prayer one of the things I think about is eternal investment, for us, our children, our communities and most importantly to bless the Father’s heart. What better way to spend your time? When you think of treasure as being the things you invest in do you see prayer as one of them? I know we all say little prayers throughout the day and that’s good, but what I’m talking about here is time set aside each week to just sit and thank God. A time to sit back and think upon Him, a time to bless Him with your whole heart and give Him all of your attention. As the old chorus sings, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” When we take time to look into the fullness of God and praise Him He always changes our perspective from an earthly self-focused mind set to a mind and heart attuned to Heaven’s song. The ‘Prayer Collective’ has become that kind of place for myself and many others. A place to come and touch the Lord’s beauty with no other agenda. A sacred kind of space and time set aside each week to just be with Him. I would love my treasure to be full of prayer because I’m learning that spending time with the Father is precious. Mary had the right idea sitting at the feet of Jesus pouring her perfume in worship. In our society, in a lot of ways, time is seen as money. With that thought in mind, spending time in worship and prayer can sometimes be seen as a waste. The one who holds eternity in His hands saw Mary’s costly gift and He see’s our costly gift of time spent with Him as well. If prayer is the link to seeing significant change in our area don’t you think it’s time to come together as one in prayer for WNY? I believe this eternal investment is already drawing us into new relationships with each other. People from different churches and denominations continue to open one another’s eyes to the plans God has for each and every one of us. I invite you to come to the ‘Prayer Collective’ to sit, pray, sing and add your voice to the collective of non-denominational and unconventional voices rising to the heart of our Lord. Like Mary, let’s pour out all we have like perfume to Him because He is worth it all!
On a Monday night, a few weeks back, a friend Karl and I strummed our guitars and sang prayers with folks at Lafayette Church in downtown Buffalo. The church has been hosting a worship and prayer gathering called ‘The Prayer Collective’ where worship leaders from all over the area gather throughout the week to intercede for our churches and all of western NY. Monday, March 19th was my first slot to play for this initiative. When Karl and I started to play our guitars and sing, prayers started to come out of our depths, song-prayers about patience and self control. As we were singing it came to me that a lot of the worship songs written are about love, peace, joy, and faithfulness, but what about all the other fruits of the spirit/virtues? What about patience, self control, gentleness, kindness and goodness? Rarely do you hear worship songs and/or see art being made about these other fruits of the spirit. Sorry for getting away from the story for a minute, but I want to challenge you artists and songsters, as I have challenged myself, to create art and write songs about these other fruits. I mean all of these attributes are what make up the fullness of God and the spirit within us. Anyway, back to the story…as we sang about patience, I felt the spirit speaking to me about the Hymn ‘Nothing but the Blood’ and as we sang, this prayer came out, “Oh precious is the flow that doesn’t just make me white as snow, found in the blood of Jesus.” What I felt the spirit was saying to me was that there is a flow to our lives, a rhythm so to speak, that the Holy Spirit wants to teach us to walk in a certain flow that He has for each of us. That Jesus’ blood isn’t just for salvation but for us to walk in the fullness of God in our daily lives. In that He will teach us patience and what it means to wait on Him and to find the flow he intends for us. Self control is tied to patience in a big way. Control of knowing when to act and when to rest, a time to speak and a time to be silent, and for those of us trying to lose weight (myself included) a time to eat and a time not to over eat, ha-ha. In those moments of prayer, I realized again how often in life I get depressed when things don’t go the way I had planned. How disappointments can crush my spirit and bring me down but I don’t want to live that way. I want to live trusting and patiently waiting on God for my daily bread. To submit every inspired idea or question I have to Him and let Him work it out. Only by being patient and waiting on God can I find real perspective and strength to carry on. When we get depressed and tired of waiting on God we lose our self control by doing a myriad of things that are not pleasing to God. As Karl and I drove home we talked about the areas in our lives that we need to wait on God and learn patience in. We encouraged one another to leave all of our questions with Jesus and see what He does. The important part to remember when our patience gets tried is to call to mind all the promises of God that He made to us. He will provide our every need, and in the end that’s all that really matters. As unpredictable as life is it’s good to know that God’s promises never change for us.
So, I pray that the precious flow of Christ’s blood wouldn’t just make you white as snow but would also flow through your mortal body and help you find the flow He intends for you. Be patient and self controlled because He will fulfill in you the plan He has for you in His own time not yours.