Monday, August 27, 2012

Prayer -- In a Bag or On a Shelf?

I've been thinking a great deal about prayer recently. Perhaps it was last week's post about color that  brought the following experience to the forefront of my mind. I seldom sense that I have been given a clear, specific message from the Lord. But something happened a few months ago that was very clearly the Lord speaking into my heart. It had to do with my struggle to feel I was praying adequately for the people in my life. It has had a significant impact on my life. Here it is, as recorded in my journal.

March, 2011:
One day lately I realized that I haul around a large duffel bag like the one I keep rags in, off-white cotton with draw strings, where I put the people I want to pray for. When I hear about a need, I put it in the bag and draw the string tight. From time to time I dig inside the bag and pull out a person to pray for, but then I stuff him or her back into the bag, still hauling the bag and all its contents, and being in charge of the bag. It's overwhelming to me, knowing there are so many prayer needs and I'm not keeping up with them.

A few days later I wrote:
Just yesterday God showed me a picture that goes beyond the prayer-in-a-bag image. He suggested that, rather than keeping my people in a bag, where it is hard to keep track of them, I put them on a shelf in front of a bright, sunny window. There they will shine in the light of His love. He can prompt me to pray for them, and I will. No longer will they be in a bag I can't see into -- pulled out and returned -- but they'll be visible; God's love will surround them, and I'll see them as God does, as treasures and beautiful in His eyes, the object of His love, in whom He is doing a good work. It will be easier for me to pray for them in accordance with God's will, as it is no longer my responsibility to carry them around in a bag!

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