Showing posts with label revelation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label revelation. Show all posts

Thursday

Walking Into Inheritance

 Each of my children in turn has brought someone home to meet the family. In every case, they were wonderful people. In every case it was an interesting experience; I experienced something of a time warp. 

You see, I’ve been praying for my kids since I first learned that we were pregnant. Part of that – me being the responsible dad and all – included praying for their future spouses. 

So when my kids brought their intended home to meet the parents, several things happened. We celebrated, of course, we blessed the relationship, we continued developing our friendship with them, all the usual. 

But I also recognized that with that announcement that they wanted to marry my son or daughter, they were also stepping into decades of prayer for themselves. Kind of a time warp. Science fiction becomes real. It’s pretty cool, actually. 

It has been interesting, even exciting, to see how these good people are walking in the things I’ve prayed for them since before they or their spouse were even born. And of course, my prayers for them continue these days, but now I have the advantage of knowing who I’m praying for. 

Since then, my kids have been having kids of their own, so now there are grand kids to include in the prayers. I love declaring destiny, generally destiny I hear Father whispering, destiny I see in the Book, or even destiny I see forming in their skills, interests, passions. 

I’ve been enjoying praying for these wonderful humans who share a quarter of  my DNA quite as much as I enjoy lifting up their parents who share a larger share of my DNA. (I find these to be curious thoughts.)

The other day, I was out walking with Father, praying for my heirs and descendants, when I realized that I didn’t need to know exactly whom I was praying for any more than I did when I prayed for my little toddlers’ future spouses. 

So I kept going, speaking life to my great-grandchildren, and their children, my offspring whom I might never meet. Blew my mind a little bit. And then it set me into my place in history, in the grand scheme of goodness that God is in the midst of. 

And yeah, it’s a little like a science fiction time warp. But it turns out that it’s real. And in reality, there’s no reason that any of my (or your) prayers should ever have an expiration date. And if my prayers never expire, then I maybe ought to target those prayers in light of things (and family) to come. 

So as I prayed for every one of my grandchildren’s children, and about their children. Occasionally I would get a glimpse of an individual destiny in the uncertain fog of the future. That always gives me more focus for that (potential) individual. 

(By the way, this isn’t limited to my biological progeny. There are a few individuals who have adopted themselves into a relationship with my family. They get prayed for, too!)

Things get complicated quickly. The average Christian family today has 2.7 kids, I am told. That means  that in a few generations, I might be praying for dozens, maybe even hundreds of of descendants. That’s a bunch of people that I’ve never met (and might never meet), but who will eventually count me among their grandcestors. My blood (or a little of it) will flow in their veins, my DNA (or a little of it) shapes how they will be crafted, my history with God (or a little of it) cut the path that they will walk. 

I confess, it’s a little bit overwhelming. (And then I consider, what must it be like for God, the Father of Life? No, that’s too much; I can’t go there right now!) 

I try to approach prayer like I’m trying to approach most everything in my world: I pray for the people and destinies that I feel like Father is drawing my attention to. (My big brother said it this way: “I speak just what the Father has taught me.” I like his example.) 

So I’m just writing to explore the incursion of time warps into my prayer life, to help to make sense of this path that I’ve been walking with my Father for a while now. 

If this is helpful to you, feel free to step on this path with yourself, and discover what kind of time warps he has available for you and for your legacy. 

Whose Answer to Prayer?

For some time, I’ve been praying some pretty significant prayers about somebody close to me.

There were some changes that I thought would be healthy for him to make in his life, but I very much did not feel the freedom to talk to him about them.

So I went over his head, and talked to his Father.

(It’s probably appropriate to point out that part of my prayers were for healthy changes in his life, but the larger portion were about getting my will out of the way. I sometimes find it a challenge to pray for people’s choices in a way that still respects their free will for their lives ahead of my own will for their lives. And the more I care for them, the bigger that obstacle is for me. Sigh.)

Last week, my friend asked me to go for a walk with him, and as we started, he said he had something to talk about, and he did not want my advice or counsel. (I interpreted that as, “This is pretty serious for him!”)

Then he explained how he had come to some conclusions and abruptly made several of the changes that I’d been praying for. I barely kept from jumping and dancing around him, so happy I was about him. 

We walked for several miles while he vented and I listened. I asked a couple of questions, but otherwise didn’t hardly say anything: this wasn’t about me; it’s about him. Toward the last mile, we discussed some of his goals for how to walk out these changes, and how I could support him and his changes.

I spent several days rejoicing.

A few days later, as I was talking with Jesus about my friend, supporting his changes in prayer. 

And then I recognized something kind of dangerous in my thinking. I was praying for my friend’s success in the area of these changes, when God quietly uncovered some things in my heart. I was seeing this as about me: these were my prayers that were answered, and I felt a responsibility to reinforce the answers in continued prayer.

I became aware that yes, my prayers had some not-insignificant effect here (He never tells me how much), but this isn’t my victory. This is God’s victory that He s sharing (and working through) with His son, my friend. This is not about me.

I’m still invited to pray for my friend’s victory, but I’m not invited to take ownership of the change, to take responsibility for his continued success.


Praying Against Fear

I was investing some time during the Covid debacle, praying about the spirit of fear that I saw creating havoc in our nation. I needed to drive a for a while, and I like making use of the time (“redeeming the time” perhaps?).

I was praying about the grip that fear had in our nation, but I was focusing on how I see the grip working in my family and friends. Father had shown me something of the enemy’s plans in that area, and I could see them at work, like thorny vines wrapping around minds and wills and squeezing life out of them.

(By the way, the whole vaccine issue is powered by a spirit of fear [and some other things]. Some folks are afraid of a virus, or of not complying with authority, so they choose to get a vaccine. Other people are afraid of the vaccine itself, or about the loss of civil liberties, so they reject the vaccine.

Curiously, each group accuses the other of being insensitive and of acting out of fear. And probably most of those accusations are at least partly right. But I digress.)



So I was praying for people I care about. I was praying for courage, praying for an openness to the truth, denying permission for that spirit to be present or to work among them.

And as I prayed for them, I prayed in similar fashion for myself. That’s what I do.

I learned some time ago that my knowledge and beliefs are not actually completely perfect in every detail, so any time that I pray for someone to be open to the truth or for courage to stand against lies, I include myself in the prayers. I’m not above being wrong, after all.

My prayer time started off a little awkwardly; that’s not uncommon for me, as I look for “the vein” of Father’s heart in the prayers. After a little bit, I felt like I found it. I saw how it was working and how to respond effectively to the thing, and I was really enjoying praying for folks I care rather a lot about.

Then he took a sudden left turn. “You need to repent, Son.”

Wait, what? What for? I’ve been careful to include myself when I’m praying for folks on this issue! What do I need to repent for?

And with one glance of his eye, he showed me how I needed to let go of the judgment I had in my heart, both for people who held opinions that were part of fear’s agenda, and for people who were unwilling to really look at both sides of an issue, who never really listened to other people’s heartfelt concerns if they didn’t agree with their own position.

Whoa. What do you know. You’re right, of course. I repented, carefully, with detail.

Then he opened it up a little more. I’d struggled with the same issues of judgment in several other issues. In all fairness, they’re pretty divisive issues, but let’s be honest: we’re quick to divide over an awful lot of issues.

I’ve been walking with Jesus for a lot of decades, but he’s still taking me to school pretty regularly. I sure appreciate his tender mercy.


Fear As an Expression of the Imagination

Walking with Father recently, he brought up the subject of fear.

There are some things in the world where a healthy respect is appropriate. That’s not the issue here.

We as a species have the ability to imagine what might come about, and, if we want to, to fear that. The fear that begins with, “But what if….” is real.

That’s what Father brought to my attention this morning: the process of imagining what might happen, what things could maybe turn out like, even what surely will happen except for something trustworthy intervening.

The picture he showed me a picture of a very high, transparent bridge. A man on the bridge had suddenly looked down and saw nothing between him and the river hundreds of feet below. He freaked out.

That fearful man didn’t have all the data, but he was responding at least an approximation of reasonably, based on the limited data that he had.

Then Father took a left turn.

“That man on the bridge was imagining what would happen if there really was nothing beneath him.”

I scratched my head and thought about it. We walked in silence for a while.

After a while, Father reminded me of my (not insubstantial) skills at imagining what may happen and responding to those imaginations with fear or regret. There are maybe a lot of us that are pretty good at that.

He kept turning left. “These people who imagine what might happen and respond with fear, these people have a powerful imagination. That’s a powerful gift.”

I confess that I haven’t had much patience for myself or for others when one or the other of us imagines a “what if” and responds in fear. That process has really irritated me, and sometimes I’ve responded in anger or frustration or legalism or some such.

But today, Father showed me the other side of that situation.

I’m going to have to reflect on this a fair bit. Now it’s time to learn to use that powerful tool for the kingdom.

Imagination is a tool. Use the tool for good.

Odd thought just crossed my mind. Romans 5 is happening, or something like it.
 
We’re sure seeing a lot of the works of darkness revealed over the past several months: riots in the streets, bad people, bad plans and bad actions are caught. (Keep praying along that they’d be revealed, of course. And brought to justice.)
 
But then there’s Romans 5:
• Romans 5:10: For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
 
• Romans 5:15: But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
 
• Romans 5:17: For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
 
• Romans 5:20b: But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
 
The principle that I think I might be hearing is this: if we’re seeing the works of dark spirits, how much more will the Holy Spirit be accessible to us in that time and place?
 

My suggestion: in this dark season, look for the light. Snuggle close to the Light, whatever that means for you. In more religious terms (there’s a place for them): press into the Holy Spirit, open yourself to him (transparency, or “seek him with all your heart”), and keep eyes and ears open for revelation.
 
I think we’ll find him willing to share his heart with us. And I’ll bet you a shiny new nickel that it’s kind of a whole lot more encouraging than the sewage the spirits of darkness are spreading around.
 
Note: I believe that the revelation will come in unfamiliar form, perhaps in hard-to-recognize form. It may be in unusual coincidences, or stray thoughts in your imagination, or casual conversation. I was overwhelmed by Holy Spirit speaking about our days in a Marvel movie the other night. Keep your eyes open.
 
Where sin abounds (and isn’t it abounding now?), Grace (God’s power, God’s direction) much more abounds.