Stuff I like #11–Prayer

A while back, I had lunch with the gentleman in charge of the single’s ministry at CVCF. I’m on the planning/leadership team for that ministry, and to say that it’s been a chore so far would be the understatement of the year. Now, I understand that ministry is never easy, I do. And nothing good is easy. I understand all that. But the single’s ministry has thusfar transcended all types and categories of annoyance for me. It has been passion-sapping, to tell you the truth.

Anyway, back to the lunch. One of the things we discussed was about the people on the team finding things they’re passionate about to do. And something about passionate people being attracted to other passionate people (not in a romantic sort of way). So I didn’t really go looking for it, but over the course of the last year, I think I found the thing I’m most passionate about, that I love doing more than any of the other ministry type things I’ve done.

Praying for people.

Whether in the context of a theophostic Healing Prayer session, or simply just praying for people, I love doing it. I feel empowered doing it. I feel right doing it. I feel that when I’m praying for someone, I’m closer to doing what God has for me than any other time. I’m not claiming any extraordinary power, by any means. I’m no healer. No pastor. Not even a lay counselor.

But when I pray for someone, or for the church, or simply just intercede during a prayer session, I feel so incredibly in touch with the Holy Spirit. It’s awesome. Of course, I can’t attest to whether or not my prayers mean much at all to the people I’m praying for, all I know is it’s the closest I come to Jesus.

I still feel a little awkward in a prayer circle, or at a prayer meeting, and sometimes I probably run off at the mouth a little too much. Something I’m working on. Only prayed at the altar for someone one time, but it was a really moving experience. Many of the deacons and elders were at a retreat of some sort, so we small group leaders got drafted to pray after the service for those who wanted prayer. I sat there for a minute or two, and it seemed like nobody was going to come over to me, which was OK, because I was pretty nervous. But then a slender woman a few years older than me made a beeline for me, and I got up to greet her.

Turns out she was very ill with lung cancer, and I was at a loss for a moment. Then I just asked God how I should pray for her, and after a moment got a pretty clear indication of the way I should go. I could really feel the Holy Spirit–the air was practically crackling. I think it moved me more than her, but I haven’t really been the same since then.

There’ve been a few opportunities since then, and it’s been thrilling every time in a different way. I get to see Jesus do amazing work in people’s lives (and make no mistake, it’s all him).

Then last week after soaking prayer (where someone comes in and plays worship music) before Healing Prayer began, a woman I hadn’t seen in a while came up to me after the music stopped playing. She’s someone I’ve always been a little intimidated by in regard to prayer–she’s just this amazing, powerful, Godly woman, who’s overcome a great many personal difficulties just to so much as walk around. Anyway, she came up me and asked if I had any anointing oil. She didn’t know what had happened during the worship time, but something had, and she wanted to pray over it and seal it.

I told her I’d left it up front, but I could go get it if she’d like. She said that she would.

So I went and got it, and sat down next to next to her, put my hand on her shoulder, and leaned in to pray so she could hear me–the room was filling up, and it had gotten a little noisy. I felt tentative as I began to pray, and stammered a bit to start. I asked God once again how I should pray, and immediately got the sense I should just pray.

So I did, and as I prayed, I felt the tentativeness leave, and was able to continue. While I spoke quietly next to her ear, I could also hear her praying in mine. Like the time at the altar with the sick woman, it was totally electric for me. And at the end of it, she gave me a hug and left.

And I realized, I want to do this. It feels right. I want to pray for people. I enjoy praying for people, and I enjoy witnessing the Holy Spirit at work in people’s lives, and in mine.

So that’s what I like most. That’s what I’m passionate about. I’ll see where it takes me.

Advertisements

morning constitutional

Today was a pretty good morning. Took Sumo on a slightly different route. The walk was 10 minutes longer, and a little more strenuous. My hope is to get to the point where I can jog at least half the way, and hopefully complete the route Kris and I used to jog.

Not sure how conducive jogging is to prayer, but I’m sure I’ll find out eventually. The thing about this morning is that I realized there are actually several areas of my life I have not consecrated to God. The main thing was my health, and my intellect (such as it is). I had read Mikey’s blog on the mikeyshow page a while back, and he talked about asking God for help in his diet, with controlling his appetite, and just generally eating better. It’s had dramatic results in his life, and he’s lost a lot of weight. So I tried to do that this morning, and while I did eat a croissant for breakfast, I only ate 1, and most other times, it would have been two (if something is 2 for 1, you have to eat both of them!).

The new dosage of my blood pressure medication has had good results, too. Hopefully that, combined with the exercise, will lower it even more. All I know is that I feel pretty good today.

Issues

Father’s day was over the weekend, and I totally forgot about it. I guess I can’t really expect anything different–it was nearly 25 years ago that he died. I never got to know him as an adult, and the truth is that sometimes I hardly remember the person I knew as a child. And I feel a little bad about that.

Chris wrote something a while ago concerning his father, and I’ve been thinking about that on and off ever since. The conclusion I’ve come to is that I think I have pretty strong issues myself–in the heavenly vs earthly father sense, that is. I didn’t realize how deeply my experience with my own father had affected my life until I really tried to think about it, and remember.

My experience with my dad was not abusive, by any means. Nor exactly neglectful. It was just not… loving or nurturing (not really from my mom, either, but that’s a post for another time). He was definately not Ward Cleaver.

My dad would sometimes bring me places with him, but all I can remember about that was sitting in his truck with the windows rolled up and watching him yell at people (he was a cement mason, and I got to visit a few job sites). I remember he would sometimes get so mad the big veins would stand out on the side of his neck and his face would turn red.

Other times he would take me sailing with him, which was something that was really difficult for me (the truth was, I hated it, but was made to go often enough that I became resigned to it, after a fashion)–seasickness was the rule rather than exception. I could tell that it frustrated/disappointed him to no end. Like I should have enjoyed myself, and something was wrong because I didn’t. Still, I would do my best to elicit praise (or really even attention) from him whenever possible. I would bring him coffee in the mornings on weekends when I was small. I would run to the liquor store to fetch the paper. I would sometimes ask to go places with him I really didn’t even want to go just to tag along, and be with him. I remember riding to Thrifty to get ice cream with him on a couple of occasions when I was small, and sitting on the back of his motorcycle, clutching his desperately. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

My favorite memory of my dad was when I was maybe 5. I would get up early sometimes, so I would be there when he left for work. I would say, “see you later, alligator,” and he would respond, “after a while, crocodile.” Not original, I know now, but it meant a lot to me then. Sadly, the older I got, the less I would get up to see him off, and our little routine soon disappeared.

But for the most part, my efforts were to little avail. I’ve spoken to my sisters about it, and the consensus was that it was just how dad was. He would provide, but would not or could not provide much affection. And none of us can remember much but apathy from him toward our own lives. We were all pretty much free to do our own things. I think I would have been satisfied with even a little validation, but like many of the other things in my childhood, the only place I got it was from my sisters.

And the thing that was so frustrating about that was that I wanted him to care what I was doing. I wanted it desperately, but the only time that seemed to happen was when the possibility arose of costing him some money. Like shopping for school clothes. Or getting school pictures taken. I’m sure that much of it was that his work was seasonal, and we often didn’t have much money. Regardless of the reason, what it began to feel like after a while was that I was an obligation, and should not expect to have much spent on me–time, or money, or anything else. I don’t know if that was true, but I do know that’s how it felt. I can still feel it. So I would wear old clothes that used to belong to my brother, or were obtained at thrift shops. If it was new, it usually came from one of my sisters. Dad made it very clear that he did not like to have to “waste” money on things (I know how the preceding paragraph sounds, believe me. I’m just trying for a little clarity about where much of my needs as a child ranked in the household priorities).

Still, Christmases were not that bad (thanks to my sisters, usually). The interesting thing about them is that they were more my parents growing up than my parents were. Anyway, back to my father.

I think the thing lacking most in my relationship with my dad was something I didn’t even know was missing until much later in my life, and when I did, things began to make more sense to me. Well, the plain truth was that he while he provided for me, he did not really father me, in the traditional sense. By that I mean doing dad things–I’m not implying an infidelity by any means–anyone who sees me and a picture of my dad would know I inherited more than just his road rage.

In my opinion, one the main responsibilities of a father is to raise his son, not just being there as he grows, but participating in his life, and teaching him. Passing on knowledge, and truth. Not just throwing a football around, but being there in more than a physical sense. I missed most of that.

In a sense, I can’t blame my father that much–he was over 40 when I came along, and probably thought he was long since done with kids. And when I got older, he was still doing a hard job at a much older age than most of the men he worked for and with. It must have been so difficult. Work was seasonal, and money was tight most of the time.

My main problem since I’ve been a believer has been assuming that Jesus will react the same way my earthly father did. And that assumption helped to generate a great many lies about God, that I’m ashamed to say seemed very much like truth for much of my life.

1. He did not care about me

2. He did not mean for me to be here

3. He did not love me

4. I was not important to him

5. My wants and needs as a child did not matter to him

and many more along those lines…..

The Lord has been working on helping me find the truth of these (in regard to Him). It something that I continually need to refresh myself on, and in truth, it seems like it’s going to take forever. Another useful application of truth to pray for would be the realization that healing is a lifelong process. I know this, but sometimes I don’t know it.

This is something I’ve been battling for what feels like years, and I periodically find myself wandering off into the wilderness, spiritually speaking. Sometimes I feel like God is not listening to me, and I allow myself to believe that he shouldn’t be. I feel like a little kid, following him around and pulling at his shirttails, begging for attention. To tell you the truth, it feels sort of pathetic. The hardest part for me, more often than not, is connecting my head knowledge of God and what I am to Him with my heart.

Because knowing is one thing, but feeling is another. Lately I’ve been realizing more and more that the healing I’ve experienced is great, but I should by no means think I’ve arrived. I am not complete, and I won’t be until I stand before the Throne and Jesus says “Well done.”

What does Jeremiah say? I will find Him when I seek him with all my heart? Something like that. Have I been seeking Him with all my heart? Have I really? Have I prostrated myself before Him in prayer? Have I earnestly and truly sought his counsel? Have I asked him to be my Father?

The answer is sometimes.

When I am at my most bleak, certainly. But have I been sharing the blessings of my life with Him? Of course, they’re because of Him, so he already knows, but have I been going to Him in delight at what he’s shown me and done in my life? Have I been running to Him and saying, “Look, daddy, Look!”

No. I haven’t. I didn’t do that with my dad, either. When I look at him through my adult eyes, I see that he probably did the best he could. He loved me in the way he was capable of loving. He was not a bad person, but he was older than his years, and so very tired. And in that regard, I need to forgive him his shortcomings. I can’t believe it was so hard to really “get” that. I’ve been working on forgiving other people in my life for a long time, and it never occurred to me Dad was one of those people.

I need to confess my own shortcomings as a son as well, and ask Jesus to forgive them. I don’t know if my father is with Him or not, but I know I’ll find out one day–hopefully not for a long time.

….much to do…..

and taking

the

first step is the hardest part.