"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Powerful Waves

The coast line here is always changing. Every week it looks a bit different as the tides make an impact on the landscape. The waves work tirelessly day and night to transform the God-set divide between land and sea. Truly, from one week to the next you can see distinct differences made by this ebb and flow of water.

Last week, washed high onto the rocky beach, was a tree stump the size of two large men. It is hard for me to imagine how it arrived there. There had been no storm and no abnormally large waves to warrant such movement. Yet, this is a common occurrence on our coast line here. Boulders are moved. Rock contours are changed. The profile of the cliffs are altered. Trash and trees are moved about like feathers in the air. All this, and more than I know, are accomplished by the incessant labor of the waves.

God Himself, by one word, declared these waves to be and they were. There was nothing and then there was something with one command of God Almighty, my Father in Heaven. "Where were you when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?" (Job 38)

This week I read a blog post describing the steady motion of the waves and likening them to the work of God's Kingdom; specifically using the word-picture of waves to describe prayer. I was deeply moved by this picture and the thought of it has done wonders within my soul.

As a Christian, I am called to intercede and to pray. My Father clearly calls me, and all other believers, to join Him in Kingdom work through prayer. He calls. He commands. He invites! This is an essential role of every child of God. Prayer and intercession are a part of our inheritance! Prayer and intercession are a non-negotiable part of every Christians' life of faith. We must pray.

And, yet, prayer is hard. The difficulties of prayer are numerous; but, far surpassing all difficulties surrounding prayer, is the obstacle of belief or faith. Do we really believe that our prayers do much of anything? Do we wonder if the words we say, even from the depths of our being, have any real impact? And, what about the idea of prevailing, or persistent, prayer... Didn't I already ask God for that? How does it all work? These questions and others can be a nagging enemy to any passion we feel for prayer. And, yet, they are good questions. God allows our questions! (This is clear all over Scripture.)

The word picture of waves is not "the answer" for my nagging questions... but, it has been a fire--- a rekindling--- to my passion for prayer. I can see the effects of waves on our coast line. I don't necessarily see the impact of one wave, or a day's waves. But, in a week... and over years... the influence of the waves on the face of the coast is dramatic. Can my prayers be like these waves!? Can I know that as I ask... and listen... and wait... and ask... and listen... and ask... that I, too, am having influence and impact for the Kingdom of God?

Hearts, like boulders, are being chiseled away--- shaped and formed by the Spirit's unseen work as a result of the prayers of the Saints! Trash and tree-size sin is being moved and removed in answer to my prayers...your prayers...our prayers. Each prayer powerful in and of itself, but together with others and over time, with persistence, has landscape-impact on the hearts of men. What a concept!? This picture propels me forward to pray! I join the Saints, the cloud of witnesses that have gone before me, in a chorus of song--- the impact of prayer! Can't you just hear the never-ceasing waves crashing on the shore? The sound never stops. The waves keep coming and keep affecting all they touch.

Of course all prayer, all petition, is only as powerful as the One to whom you are petitioning... prayer is not powerful alone! Prayer is only the asking... God is the One who answers and works. And, our God is all powerful. He is the One who can "do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us" (Eph. 3) He can do more than I can ever even imagine! Or more than I can ask. Moving a tree stump is child's play for the Lord!

And, yet, He invites us to join Him. This is the way He set it up! Could He daily, with the touch of His hand, distribute boulders, grind sand and erode caves... Yes!! But, He chooses to use waves. And, He chooses to use His people's prayers to accomplish His will. Amazing invitation to join in, isn't it!?

The coast line here is always changing. May it be so true of the heart's for whom I am praying, my own included! May His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
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