Tag Archives: heart

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

No Minor Miracles

‘Everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; to him who knocks, the door will be opened…if you who are evil give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!’ (Matt. 7)

May I encourage you in the last few days of our prayer fast to press into the God who hears, sees, and acts on behalf of His persistent ones? Focused prayer opens our hearts to the needs of others; we invite God to consider those needs and He invites us to trust just how He intends to meet them. In blessed moments, we behold His sovereign care of those we love most.

I am tempted to dismiss the following as coincidence or luck. I rebuke myself. Perhaps these are glimpses of how God rouses and protects His beloved ones in response to our prayers. Consider:

As Annette and I prayed for Sam and Chelsea on the eve of their wedding, Sam was hydroplaning on a wet freeway due to his poorly weighted truck. He was en route to get his wedding license. Unharmed but shaken, he called us just after we had prayed for him. He then proceeded to the bureau in peace.

During a windy day last week, Ann Armstrong prayed with the staff for protection upon our homes. I thought her request unwarranted: ‘The winds aren’t that bad…’ Around the time she prayed, a strange gust blew inside our house and flipped a large glass-paned print off our mantle and onto a lit candle on the hearth beneath it. The pane should have shattered and knocked the candle onto the carpet. Instead, the top of the frame fell smoothly into the thick soft wax, putting out the flame and breaking the fall of the 4’ by 2’ picture. Annette heard the thud from the other room and was incredulous at the lack of damage.

We have been praying for and reaching out to a mother and son whose father abandoned them. They have experienced much fallout from this, including serious illness and spiritual disillusionment. In these 40 days, we have stepped up our prayers and outreach to the mother. She is beginning to trust Jesus again and is experiencing a kind of well-being that has eluded her for years.

3 years ago, I met a ‘gay-identified’ man and the Spirit directed me to fight for his salvation. He stopped going to that gym a year ago but I kept praying for him, especially in these 40 days. When I ran into him in a store the other day, it was as natural as the weather to resume the conversation with him. He admitted some hard knocks, and I, endowed with the Spirit’s power, urged him to build his house on Jesus, imploring him that any other foundation will crumble.

I believe that my friend took my words to heart. Perhaps prayer helped break the ground of his heart and prepared me to plant seed there. Jesus loves this man and wants Him to know the Father’s love. The Holy Spirit gives us the privilege of partnering with Him as He acts through, and on behalf of, His praying Church. We become a prayer, provoked by God’s passion that none perish without Jesus.

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Downward Ascent 3: Almighty Meekness

‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’ (Matt. 5:5)

Weeping over one’s poverty is a gift. The contrite heart cries. Consequences of sin in our own lives and in persons we love reduce us to grief. Yet for that grief to become good, raised from the ‘worldly sorrow that brings forth death’ (2 Cor 7:10), we must surrender to Jesus. He bears our affliction and transports us to His Kingdom. There, divine comfort coaxes us to exchange rags for riches. The King defines us now.

The result is meekness. When one finally lets go of how (s)he will manage the unbearable weight of sin (our own, another’s, the world’s!), God becomes who He is and we become who we are. The meek know the difference: humans are small subjects of a great Kingdom. Our littleness frees us ‘to entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly’ (1 Pet. 2:23). We can drop our stones of judgment and rest in the One who makes all things new, beginning with ourselves.

Any proper self-assessment I possess, any real quality of meekness, has resulted from a type of ‘reduction.’ I can go a long way on my own passion. It has taken bitter disappointments to level and reduce me to the Meek One. Dying again, submitting my hard husk to Him, has slowed and sweetened my heart. God claims the trauma for Kingdom purposes and releases seeds from it that later bear fruit.

Hinting at this fruit, a colleague once remarked: ‘I like you better when you’re beaten up.’ What he meant was: ‘I like you better when you are reduced to Jesus.’ He likes meekness, those who live in apparent reliance upon the Almighty One.

I witnessed vividly this meekness during a healing prayer time. Frustrated by a blind-spot in the one receiving prayer, my first inclination was to confront the block directly. Led by the Spirit, my co-laborer simply suggested to the receiver: ‘Why don’t you pray and ask the Father about that?’ In meekness, my colleague gave God room to meet this one. The Almighty acted, without a word from me.

Meekness gives Jesus room to be God in our lives and in the lives of those we love. The meek pray more and talk less; they trust the King.

Jesus trust in His Father made Him lowly and meek. The Son relied upon Father’s strong shoulders and tender heart. Similarly, Jesus invites us in our weariness and clutter to unburden ourselves. How? He is meek and lowly (Matt. 11: 28-30) yet Almighty. He stretches out His arms and provides a safe place for us to be small and to rest. That is meekness, the ground on which we the created commune with the Creator and so become mighty in His image.

Fitting: we who are becoming meek like Him shall inherit His earth.

‘Jesus gave me to know the depth of His meekness and humility and to understand that He clearly demanded the same of me.’ St. Faustina

Prayer for Monday, March 17th: ‘Father, free us from the ‘worldly sorrow that brings forth death.’ We do not want to be preoccupied with morbid ideas of self and others. Turn our poverty and our grief towards You. Free us to be small objects of Almighty Love. Elevate our view with Your eyes; envelope us with Your arms of love.’

Prayer for Tuesday, March 18th: ‘Father, forgive us for bearing burdens alone. We confess the temptation to usurp Your divine shoulders and perfect judgment. Show us our size. We give to you the unfinished business in our lives, including the mess we see others making of their lives. We entrust them to You. Reduce us to almighty meekness.’

Prayer for Wednesday, March 19th: ‘Father, we ask for closer communion with You in this Lenten time. In this winter of sin, prepare us for spring by showing us the clutter of our hearts. We welcome Your invitation; we return to You. May we regain strength through solitude and trust. Teach us to pray more and talk less. Make us meek as You are meek.’

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