Friday, November 09, 2007

fervent and focused

I used a word this week that probably had more of an impact on me than on the intended recipient. "Breakthrough."


Here is a truism. I first heard it applied to math problems. For most people who don't get it, it's because they give up too soon. They may be just moments away from reaching a solution, and the difference between some of the people who get it and some who don't may just be a matter of minutes or even seconds. This idea can be applied broadly to our shortcomings, don't you think?


I have two pictures. They both represent prayer, but while the first one is focusing on the activity of prayer, the second one would be the act of praying, and our eyes are drawn up to the cross. The second shot is not focused on the act so much as the One to whom we are praying. The difference may be subtle, but it's there.


[Theological clarification: We are not actually praying to a wooden cross, but to Christ, Himself. The wooden beams are not in any way infused with Deity or Sacred (with a capital S). Simply, they serve as a reminder of what He did, and therefore draw our minds to Him.]


"Over a month ago, I was challenged that my prayer life could use a boost. I could not recall any recent incidents of God answering personal prayers. It did not take long to realize on which end the problem lay. If I could not point to God’s use of prayer in my life, either I’m not praying as I should, or have not taken the time to realize where He is at work...or both."


This excerpt came from a friend's letter. (Sorry, but this friend shall remain nameless.) Can you identify with this? Could this excerpt have been written by you? Keep praying. You may be on the verge of a breakthrough.


L.L. Barkat said...

This year I've experienced a new thing with prayer... that is, being asked to pray a certain way for a certain someone by (I believe) God Himself. It's such a reorientation to ask not what I wanted to ask in a way not like I wanted to ask. And it has me thinking that prayer may not be what I thought it was all these years... me asking of Him, but rather Him asking of me.

Lara said...

My experience this week even:I've been praying and working at something that has been proving difficult and frustrating. And so in my prayers I paused to ask if I was doing the wrong thing and the frustration was of God, or if stopping would be a copout, a failure to persevere. I got my answer in my time with God this morning - mine was to work, His was to do and perhaps the difficulty was just a chance for Him to prove it was beyond my abilities, but within His. So my prayer today was more surrendered. And suddenly the difficulty was gone and I saw success.
That, for me, was a breakthrough (not a new one, just a reminder).

donsands said...

The all-time great "Breakthrough" for me, and for us all really, is when God "breaksthrough" our hearts, and opens them up to the truth.

Before that happened, all our prayers are useless, even when them may seem to be answered.

But after we are born again, then all our prayers are heard by our Father in Heaven.
"For we did not receive the spirit of bondage ... but ... the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out "Abba Father". .... Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Rom. 8:15,26

The Holy Spirit takes our meager words and takes them to God the Father, through the cleansing blood of Christ our Lord.

A good prayer I have been praying has been father grant me to have your Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13

We can ask God to fill us with His Spirit, in order to be able to love others, witness, and rejoice in our hope that we have in Him.

Anonymous said...

Donna Otto says, "The common begin but the uncommon finish." I wonder how many breakthroughs I may have missed because I was impatient, bored, or lazy! Thanks for a good reminder to persevere.

Every Square Inch said...

I know this isn't the point of your post but I've come to believe that I'm humble only to the extent I'm praying - prayer is the cry of a humble heart. When I'm not praying as I should, which is far too often, I'm not postured in humility.