Prayer: Echos in the soul

Prayer is such an important part of my life.  I believe that I was so damaged when I met the Lord that it made it very easy for me to fall head over heals in love with Him.  I had spent my whole life feeling alone and unloved.  When His love was proclaimed to me, I clung to it desperately.  I wanted to be in His presence continually.  I spent many hours in prayer those first few years.  I, honestly, spent 2 or 3 hours praying, worshipping and reading His word most days.  I could not get enough of Him.  I would kneel in front of my bed and begin to thank Him or sing and I could feel His tangible, beautiful presence surround me and engulf my whole being.  Then I would just sit with Him and His love would surround me.  I never wanted to leave.  The song, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace” was so real to me.  I would get lost in Him.

In reality, I had to learn in those years to be more like Martha and less like Mary.  I know it is usually the opposite problem we hear about.  I wanted to be with Him all the time which led to neglect of some responsibilities and wanting to be almost like a cave dweller.  I loved Him, but loving His people did not come easily.  I had to learn that He wanted me to love Him by loving His people as well.  I had such a passionate love for Him and a Mary heart.  What I had to learn to be Martha with Mary’s heart.  I needed a little of Brother Lawrence in me.  His book The Practice of the Presence of God is a really great book about blending the Mary and Martha types into life.

Anyway, as I have grown over the years, I have learned to balance things a little better.  Prayer, however, has continued to be a very important part of my life.  There have been seasons of more and seasons of less prayer over the years, but it is a natural rhythm in my life to rise, workout, then get quiet and let the Lord settle, root, guide, prepare, and speak to me.  It is, quite honestly, my favorite time of the day.  I am so humbled and amazed each day that the creator of the universe wants to spend time with me.  When I get quiet and still, I realize “He is here” and what a beautiful awesome realization.

I used to think that when I got still and began to worship that it was like I was beckoning Him and that He would oblige and come visit me.   He has taught me, over the years, though, that He is always with me.  I am one with Him, nothing can ever separate me from Him.  His word says I am one with Him just as He is one with the Father. (John 17:21).  Therefore, He is always with me.  His Spirit dwells in me and therefore I am never alone.  When I get still and I feel His presence surround and engulf me, it is Him reminding me and making me aware of His presence.  He doesn’t show up just then, He is always with me.  I just need to stop and be reminded that He is there.

So many times we just get too busy to remember He is always with us.  That truth has been so beautiful to me and has transformed many a day into prayerful days of worship in the midst of the activity.  I can stop for a minute when I get a break at work to go to the bathroom and let Him remind me that He is there with me.  Sitting in the stall, just 60 seconds of, “Hello, blessed Lord.  Thank you that you are here with me.  I love you.  Fill me with your Spirit.  Help me to walk in the Spirit and use me today as you will” can transform a mundane day of making coffee, changing diapers, cooking, whatever it is into a day of worship.

The real point in this post is something I read in my devotion book and a prayer that is taped to me mirror.

The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi is taped to my mirror.  It has been for many months and I pray it every morning.  I almost have it memorized.

Lord, make me a channel of they peace, that where there is hatred, I may bring love, where there is wrong, I may bring a spirit of forgiveness, where there is doubt, I may bring faith,  where there is despair, I may bring hope, where there is darkness I may bring light, where there is sadness, I may bring joy.  Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to love than to be loved.  For it is by self-forgetting that one finds; it is my forgiving that one is forgiven; it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

It is such a beautiful prayer.  I love it.  I pray it each day and each day I can see how far from it I am .  I desire the prayer to be truth in my life, but sadly I see myself failing daily.  The end of it is so powerful “to comfort rather than to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to love than to be loved.”  Sadly, this is not how most of my days play out.  I continue to pray it and at the end also to ask the Lord to make it be truth in my life.  Lord, please bring it to pass.

I read a quote in my devotion which reminded me why I continue to pray a prayer that I know it not yet truth in my life.

“There is no end to a prayer.  It echoes on forever in your soul.  Long after the visible demonstration has been made and forgotten, the prayer that produced it continues to work for your spiritual advancement, for the creative power of a God thought is unlimited and eternal.”

        From Power  Through  Constructive Thinking  by Emmit Fox

I need to share a couple more as well.

“If prayer is a force at all, it cannot be possible to pray without something happening.”

From Power  Through  Constructive Thinking  by Emmit Fox

“Prayer is not controlled.  We are the ones controlled, called upon to submit to a mysterious inward process, to be carried beyond ourselves without ever knowing clearly what carries us or where we are going.

From Toward God  by Michael Casey

“Prayer is larger than any of us.  It is less a question of bringing prayer into our hearts than bringing our hearts into prayer; not drawing water from the sea to fill a bath, but being immersed in an immense ocean and becoming one with it.”

From Toward God  by Michael Casey

Prayer is a mystery.  It is beautiful.  It is communion with God.  It is a force.  It is so comforting to know that the prayer the Lord prays through me never stop echoing inside of me, changing me, bouncing off of my soul and making me into His image.

So many prayers I have whispered and forgotten.  Forgotten until I see them become reality and then I remember that I had once prayed for that.  Prayer is a beautiful mystery that I feel so blessed to be able to participate in.  There are times in the midst of worshipping and enjoying the Lord that I pray something which after the words leave my mouth, my flesh shudders  and wishes to take back, but I know that the Lord prays those prayers through me when I do not have the courage to pray them.  He helps me pray those things which He knows I need and which He wants to bring to pass in my life.

They are beautiful and sometimes terrifying echoes in my soul.  As I pray each day, He is changing me and He is using the mystery of prayer to launch never-ending echoes into my soul.  These never-ending echoes are power and grace and beauty.

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One Response to Prayer: Echos in the soul

  1. Deborah Ingersoll says:

    Wow, this really gave me some things to ponder.

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