Wednesday, December 9, 2009

That Doesn't Hurt

It is about 5 in the mroning (it could be earlier) and your eyes are barely open. You have a knowing to get up to pray and the longing to go back and slumber. Having full knowledge of who He is, you battle the flesh to get up and be obedient. You enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4 AMP) as you begin your prayers in the Spirit. Within the first 15 minutes, thoughts about your day and all that you have to do try to come. So while in prayer, why not start writing your to do list? How about getting a few minor household chores out of the way; its like two birds with one stone sort of a thing. Hey, that laundry isn't going to fold itself. Isn't it garbage day? Why not take it out to the curb while you are up doing stuff anyway? Are you still praying?

When I was a child, my parents taught us to pray just before bedtime. We knelt at the side of the bed with ourhands pressed together saying the same rehearsed rhyme that we said in those impressionable years. We thank God for everyone and loved people all the same. Feeling good about going to bed, oddly enough, after those prayers; we got a kiss from Mom and the lights were switched off for the night. No big deal, right?

Then as adults and returning back to church, many ministers have taught certain methods to pray as they understand scripture to be. I have heard to kneel and use the Word. I heard to sit with another chair facing you as if you are speaking to God. I heard to pray in the Spirit and do other things like multi-tasking. I heard that people literally get into a closet while others sit under large pieces of furniture. I suppose one could mimick anyone of those techniques based upon who was teaching and how their life has fared or do what seems just right for you.

Nit-picking through what got others out of their issues is a waste of time. I decided to do the multi-tasking thing because kneeling at the bed side was getting hard on the knees, my feet would go to sleep, and sometimes I would be waking up from that kneeling position wondering if I had finished praying or not. I deducted that I did and moved on with my day. Throughout my faith filled life, I made sure that my prayer time was anything but uncomfortable. If I kneeled it was on my bed and sometimes under covers. Most of the time I prayed while doing something else. If the phone rang, I answered it. If someone was at the door, I saw to it. I figured that I was getting things done and that should please God. Well, that was my reasoning and not godly thinking.

In my studies on the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22 AMP), I came upon longsuffering and was stumped. The term in of itself seemed to contradict what I thought Jesus came to rid believers from. How can we suffer when He said He would not leave us without comfort (comfortless). Doesn't comfort and suffer oppose one another? And one must endure with suffering and periods of length (long)? I refused to receive that understanding of the Word. I had to be getting that wrong. I studied and defined that word and still I just didn't like what I got. So I casted the care on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7 AMP) and continued with my faith the way I understood and liked.

I cannot explain the strange things that has happened to me over the years. The battles of anxiety and frustrating issues are to numerable to mention. I prayed and prayed. I called prayer lines to have them pray for me too. I woke family members in the middle of the night to pray. Peace within my soul needed to be still. I read scriptures and I was quieted for a time, but then I was back on the prayer lines and waking folks up again. I didn't know what else to do. So I talked with God and asked where was I disobedient to receive this chastisement? I didn't hear anything for many days but I did gradually receive Peace again.

My multi-tasking prayer life continued the way it was. Sometimes I realized that when I kept still and focused on the specific prayer, the answer came sooner. I also noticed when I stayed still the release of the prayer wasn't an all day project.

Eventually, God brought me back to the longsuffering question. I believed when Jesus came and willingly allowed Himself to be beaten, tortured, and ridiculed for the sins of the world, true believers didn't need to go through that. Jesus was crucified on the cross unjustly. He had done nothing wrong; and still He went through the pain and suffering because He loved us so much. He did this so we wouldn't have to. He broke the laws of sin and death. We believe and so we receive ever lasting life. No pain. No suffering. It makes sense. It is a reason to rejoice. Thank you Jesus - right?

Then Paul went and wrote because Jesus suffered so do we. If we don't suffer, we aren't His (Romans 8:14-17 AMP). What?!!! Why does he write stuff like this? I tried to make sense of it and couldn't. Pain wasn't something I was willing to receive not after believing my latter will be greater and anticipating (Haggai 2:9 KJV) the abundant life Jesus said is mine.

So where is the clearing of this path? What is going to move this mountain (Mark 11:23 KJV)? Jesus didn't leave believers comfortless. We have the Holy Spirit and the maintenance of the Spirit of God is developing and cultivating the fruit thereof. Having been born in an evil nature (Romans 13:13 AMP) before receiving Christ, we developed many habits that needed to change. Some were easier than others. Some took diligence and with the decision to not to return in that mess, came the reward. The renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2 KJV) by faith is instantaneous. Walking in love in all you do must be taught for the willingness to do so can be easy. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning can give reason to be grouchy but understanding that someone did it for you makes the adjustment much easier.

Longsuffering is fruit that no one initially would like to cultivate. It sounds painful. Bowing at the knees to pray for as long as it takes with the tingling in the feet, creaking of the back, feeling like the circulation stopped in the arms and the occasional snooze in between to start the prayer all over again is a pittance compared to those who would not get up early to do so therefore; suffered through financially. Or those who complained about praying so long and went through a lost deal, having no transportation, fired from a job that was guaranteed, a failed marriage, peace of mind is troubled, or whatever you could be facing now.

No, we don't have to do what Jesus did. His ministry is unique of its own. Paul wrote the truth and none of that fruit from each of us is the harvest God looks for. Seriously, in comparison with what Jesus did, does your knees really hurt?

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