The Lord showed me something ugly in myself last night at our prayer meeting.
Oh the time was sweet and powerful, don’t get me wrong… the 8th graders had a blast watching “Elf” while we prayed upstairs. So many things were revealed about the pain some of us are experiencing and our hearts were strengthened as we beseeched God on behalf of our 8th graders, our marriages and ourselves. In short, you were covered in prayer last night, my friend. And so was your child.
But something else came up for me, drummed up by the Holy Spirit. I was reminded how critical it is for us to gather together, to not “forsake the gathering of the brethren” (Hebrews 10:25). But to be honest, if I wasn’t leading and hosting last night I wouldn’t have come to the prayer meeting. So many things would have kept me away, the weather being the least of them. I am very good at reasoning my way out of being with other Christians, so much so that I am usually absent from the prayer meetings of classes where I am not the prayer coordinator. I let petty things keep me from the power of God that comes in the space between one believer’s heart and another. And I forget that that space is only created the second we bow our heads together and walk hand in hand into the Throne Room of Grace.
But Christ was merciful to me.
He brought pray-ers to my home, in the cold and snowy night, and prayer went forth.
That is what grace does.
It reaches out for us when we are not reaching for it.
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[b] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:14-19
This Christmas season, my heart aches for the kind of soaking in the Holy Spirit that is described in these verses from Ephesians.
• That I would fall to my knees in worship. Yes. That I would be so overcome by the glory of God it would bring me physically to my knees.
• That I would acknowledge Him as Creator of everything and all that means… how that truth alone is answer enough to every woe and worry and wound.
• That I would know I belong to the One who has unlimited resources and that He will supply all of my needs in His timing and in His way.
• That His power and strength WOULD REACH ME IN MY PLACES OF DEEPEST NEED THIS CHRISTMAS.
• THAT HE WILL FEEL MORE AND MORE AT HOME IN MY HEART. That sin and self will be crowded out by the UNSURPASSING GLORY OF GOD.
• That I would just trust Him more.
• That my roots will grow down into the bedrock of His LOVE.
• That I would understand more profoundly the width and length and height and depth of His love and that I would know Him when I see Him, hear His voice, know His touch and invite Him into my minutes and madness… that I wouldn’t ignore Him… as I am so prone to do….
AND MOST OF ALL…
• that I would EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF CHRIST. To encounter Him, to know Him, to allow myself to be exposed and naked and therefore affected by Him.
Somehow all of this leads up to the astonishing truth that I will be made complete with the FULLNESS of life and power that comes from God. A fullness that John Piper calls, “infinite, divine, glorious, delivering, blessing, real FULLNESS. Paul prays that we would experience Christ’s fullness, not just know about it.”
Yes. This is the longing of my broken heart. My fallible heart. My prideful heart. Not just to know “about” Him. But to taste and feel and embrace and see and smell Him this Christmas. To give myself the time and quietness in this crazy season to actively SEEKOUT AND INTENTIONALLY CHASE AFTER THIS EXPERIENCE.
Perhaps these longings are ringing and echoing in your heart as well?
Oh what joy to know that these desires are in line with the will of Christ and He rejoices to see them burst forth in our hearts!
OH THE JOY OF BELONGING TO CHRIST AND KNOWING HIS HAND OF GRACE AND GLORY WILL CHASE AFTER US… and find us!!!
May the fullness of the Love of God dwell richly in you this week, this month and this Christmas my friend. May you sense His relentless pursuit of you! May He be the deepest desire of your heart. Of mine. Of our 8th graders!
Joyfully and Hopefully Serving though Broken,