I say to Him today “I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief.” (Psalm 6:6) I never know when this grief will hit me and take me to my knees.
Today we removed the training wheels from my five-year-old great grandson’s bicycle. He raced around the yard at top speed, so excited with himself. He said, “Riding a bike is just great.” As I watched him, I was reminded of us and the Lord. He is always aware of what we are doing and of how much help we need from Him. I am so thankful He allows me to keep my training wheels. I know I couldn’t make it without this help from Him. When I am so weary I can hardly stand, He is there to catch me. And there are some times when I grow so dependent on Him I tell Him I can’t take any more, then He wraps His arms around me and assures me, “Yes my child, you can.”
I don’t know about you, but I really love reading the Scriptures. I love to read almost anything but my favorite is reading the Book that seems to be living. I have read the Bible through several times and I listen to it on CD as I drive to and from almost anywhere. By ‘living’ I mean I can find things that I just read through or over in the past that jump out at me this time. When I come to these special items I feel that God is showing me new things or taking me to new depths. I believe the Bible; I believe there are parts meant literally and some parts are symbolic. There are a couple of Scriptures I have read over and over that just call out to me.
Revelations 5:8 NKJ “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints”.
In my mind’s eye, I see my prayers ascending into Heaven and being so precious to God the Father that He has them kept safe in bowls. My prayers aren’t just floating around getting mixed up with someone else’s they are accumulated in these golden bowels (in my eyes the bowls are beautifully made of the clearest and purest gold). It’s not only my prayers, but everyone’s prayers God is accumulating, in many, many bowls. (Do we all have our own bowl? I don’t know) When I think of these bowls like that, I can begin to see why sometime I come to Him with a need, asking Him to accomplish what He says in His Word, it takes longer thin I think it should. It’s not a power issue, I know He has the power to do all things. In Psalm 34, David praises God for hearing His people cry out to Him, and there are many more references that assure us God hears his people. Paul tells us in Romans 8:26, the Spirit intercedes for us before the throne. I know He hears my prayers, but maybe I have put a cap on His power with the puny amount of prayer in my bowl. When I have a need/request, God sends an angel to get my bowl: He looks into the bowl and perhaps it’s not full enough for Him to immediately meet the need. Psalm 141:2b says “May my prayers be set before You as incense”. Perhaps the fragrance of my small amount of prayers are not as aromatic to His nostrils as they could be.
Incense was and is important to God. He gave the priests of old a specific recipe for the incense He wanted burned on the golden alter twice daily. Exodus 30:9, “You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; nor shall you pour a drink offering on it.” He wanted to smell that particular fragrance. The smoke of the incense being burned on the alter and the prayers of the saints went up before God together: they may be considered one or became one as they mixed together, I’m not sure. The alter of incense was placed in the center of the Holy Place. This alter was as close as the priests could get to God when they worshiped with incense. Prayer allows us to get close to God. The Jewish worshipers prayed outside the Tabernacle when the incense was burned. They knew the connection of the two. Luke 1:10 “And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense”.
In this day and time, we don’t gather at the Tabernacle to pray. But, as individuals, we do know when we go to the Lord in prayer. I want to always be aware of the amount of prayer I have in my bowl. I want to be ready when that beautiful golden bowl is tipped and my blessings fall on me.
Following The Example of Jesus
Jesus is our teacher and example for prayer. The Father has established Jesus’ prayer life as our example for prayer; He has given us His teachings on prayer as our guide. For many Christians, prayer is their least favorite activity of their life. They close their eyes, fold their hands and sit and wonder what to say. They know they should do more than ask for things, but they just can’t think of what to say.
When people confess to me their hard time with prayer, I can only ask them if they have asked Jesus to help them with this problem. Most tell me they haven’t, one reason being, Jesus knows this already. True. But He still wants to hear it from the one needing help. I advise them to confess to Him their need in this area, show Him their willingness to learn from Him.
Overcoming Hindrances to Prayer
Many places in Scripture Jesus is pressed upon by others to preach, teach, heal, drive out demons. He poured Himself ministering to others. You may say, “He came to Earth to minister to others and save mankind.” Yes, He did, but He was a man with a human body; he got tried, he felt drained at times. But do you think the people in the next town cared how tired He was? They heard of Him and His power over the elements that plagued them and just wanted Him to work for them. Luke 5 tells us, “great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.” They didn’t care how tired He was, how empty He felt at times. He had to spend time with His Father to re-fill.
No matter how busy your life is, to be effective as a teacher, preacher, boss, mom, anything, you must find time to be re-filled with the rest of the Spirit. Make a list of the hindrances you recognize in your life that keep you from the Lord, from prayer. Commit them into Jesus’ hands, asking Him to help you deal with them. He knows what it is to have demands and a pressure-packed schedule. He sympathizes with you in your struggle to pray. Confess your need to Him and depend on Him to help you in this matter. He will help you overcome whatever is keeping you from spending time with Him. But don’t waste your breath if you are not serious!
You need to…You can’t do…You aren’t ready for…You should…You shouldn’t… It would be better if you…You are just like…
How many times has someone said one of the above sentences and made you feel “less than”? When we grow, mature, become healthier, make changes in who we are or are just walking in more of His grace and love, people don’t understand. They say they want you to become better and more, until you become better and more. Then things change. Because when we change it requires others to change, too. Change is uncomfortable and most don’t like it.
We will not be whole here on this Earth. We will be whole in Heaven. I used to strive to be perfect. Today I hope to be better than yesterday. Not perfect, just better. God is taking the broken pieces and putting them back together differently. Others may not recognize the new you because it wasn’t what they envisioned, yet it is what He is doing and it’s His vision. Embrace what He is doing in you.
Rest in the new you He is creating even when those in your life just don’t understand.
I hope you enjoy and were blessed by this message that was written by an acquaintance of mine, Tajuan McCarty, founder of The WellHouse. The WellHouse is a rescue and recovery organization for women who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. If you or someone you know needs The WellHouse, please do not hesitate to call tollfree at 1-800-991-0948. This phone line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by trained and caring rescue coordinators who truly want to help you. This is a helpline only, 1-800-991-0948.
Friends, I am sitting with a dying patient at Druid City Regional Hospital, Tuscaloosa, AL where I am a Chaplain. Please pray for this patient and me. He is dying exactly as my husband Tommy did. This patient had a last dialysis treatment on Monday, Feb 20, so time is short unless God intervenes. You know, when you sign on for something like this, you don’t know just who or what you will be called in on. When I came into this room and saw this patient, memories flooded my mind and heart, because of the similarities of 18 months ago. But God knows. If I am to be used as a Chaplain, I must accept all God wants to use me for.
Yesterday evening my grandson wanted to listen to a CD Tommy made of some songs he loved to sing. I was totally surprised by tears streaming down my face when I heard his voice. Sweet memories of a lifetime together. So thankful our great grandson likes to sing along with his Papa.