Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Post Script

By Belinda

This is a post script to what I wrote on Monday, in my Confession post. So much more goes on behind the scenes of a "post" that doesn't get shared here, and you can probably be thankful for that! But in this case I have to let you what happened next...

First of all, I set my alarm for 5 the next morning.

In my blog post entitled Timely Counsel I wrote that I was listening to Stephen R. Covey's book, First Things First. In it, Covey defines "integrity"in a way I'd never considered before; as the keeping of the promises we make to ourselves. I guess the way I've defined integrity, "as a gap between what we say we believe and what we do," does fit with the making and keeping of promises to ourselves.

Covey illustrated the importance of following through on promises with the example of his counsel to a man who was always emotionally up and down. Covey challenged him to get up a little earlier every day for a week. At first the man resisted, saying he couldn't do it, but then he agreed that for a week he could do it. The man's emotions evened out. It was a first step in developing integrity; self control; in his life.

So this week, every morning I was up at 5, or close to it, correcting my lack of prayer and "soaking," as Oswald Chambers put it, in his presence. That time has has been so enriching I wonder how I could have let it get squeezed out of my life. I ask God's forgiveness and need the forgiveness of others in my life, including you, dear readers. I am thankful for both Frances, who was the friend who asked me to exhort her when she needs it, and the other friend who asked me how I was doing in that area.

The next day, I wrote this in my journal:
Yesterday Frances left a message on my answering machine at work, begging me as her spiritual mother, that if I ever saw her becoming prayerless again, to sternly chastise her (not her exact words, but that was the gist.) She signed off with the words, "Matthew 6:9;" the Lord's Prayer.

The Lord's Prayer is prefaced by verses 7-8 with state that God really doesn't need us to tell him our needs; he knows all about them already. The Message puts it like this:
"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply... 
 Here is the Lord's Prayer from the English Standard Version of the Bible. In orange I add a note or two.

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name. 
10 Your kingdom come, (within us)
your will be done, (your will is best--I have no need to ask for what "I" wish or want.)
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12and forgive us our debts,
 as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13And lead us not into temptation,
 but deliver us from evil.
 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

How simple, profound; how sufficient is this prayer.

After Frances's message I later met with a colleague who brought up with me their own lack of prayer and lack of spiritual vitality lately. Two people who look to me for leadership in different ways--coming to me as weak and wanting as they. My colleague and I encouraged one another after confessing our mutual need. How cool then to find today's (Tuesday's) Daily Light opening with these words:

Matthew 18:19-20

English Standard Version (ESV)
19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

Going back to our Lord's Prayer: If this simple template for prayer is sufficient, what is the essence in it that I need to discern? These are some thoughts that came to me.

The prayer:

  • Acknowledges that God is our Father and honours his name as Holy. If we are his children...we bear his name.
  • Welcomes his Kingdom and his will, here and now, in our lives and world.
  • Chooses dependence on his hand for our bread for this day; a finite block of time, but drawing on an infinite Source!
  • Acknowledges our indebtedness and ties our release from that indebtedness, to that of others to us.
  • Recognizes our ever present potential to fall without his protection and sustaining power. I am vulnerable to temptation and evil and calling on him daily for protection and deliverance is my place of safety.
I share these thoughts as fruit from my early morning orchard time with God. Thank you for being there to share, and therefore multiply the fruitfulness. Blessings on your own journey friend!


Lynn said...

Truly,Truly, a Yes and Amen to this Post...Well written Belinda:-)

Susan said...

I'm slurping... the juice is dripping down my face and off my chin, and my hands are all sticky. Good fruit, indeed!

Anonymous said...

For those of us who know
Belinda personally, I can hear her voice as I read. Belinda, it is an honor to know you and your family.


Belinda said...

Lynn, Soli Deo Gloria!

Belinda said...

Susan, What a funny image you conjure up. Slurp on dear friend!

Belinda said...

Anonymous, I am just as honoured to know you, I am sure. Thank you for reading and sharing the journey.