What 100,000 Domino’s Teach Us About Prayer

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The Story

Bob Specas is about to break the world record for domino toppling.  Its June 9, 1979 and Bob is just a few thousand dominoes away from setting up 100,000 to claim the world record title.  It’s such a big deal that the media has gathered to watch and broadcast this historic event.  Just as Bib was placing one of the few remaining dominoes, on the other side of the room, a careless cameraman dropped his press badge and the room went silent as everyone heard the hiss of dominoes toppling when none should have been.

Can You Relate?

Does your prayer life sometimes feel like that moment back on June 9, 1979.  You work so ard, pray so hard, diligently, consistently, only to wait, watch the exact opposite result happen right in front of your eyes.  Or even worse, you don’t see anything happen…nothing ever happens and you think it never will.  Prayer, as Pete Greig says, is kind of like domino toppling.

“..some prayers get answered the very first time you ask, most take months or even years of faithful asking before you see any breakthrough. Day after day, you say essentially the same thing..and one day, in a matter of minutes it triggers the fulfillment of years of prayer.”

What Does The Bible Say

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” ~ Romans 12:12

Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer by sharing the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18.  I think that parable is even more important to us today.  We live in such a fast paced world that craves and expects instant gratification. I know I do. Don’t you?  There is a story about D.L. Moody carrying a list of names of people he was praying for to choose Jesus Christ as their saviour. The story goes, that almost all had accepted Christ prior to his death…but not all.  BUT, at his funeral the remaining names on the list (4 of them) chose to place their confidence in Christ.

It’s Not Your Time Table That Matters

I admit it, I’m often more concerned with God meeting my expectations and my timeline than being concerned about meeting His. I recently read about a make-believe scenario. Imagine an angel just told you that your next prayer would be answered by God.  Would you pray? Of course you would. Imagine that same angel told you that your 365th prayer was going to be answered. Would you pray 365 times.  Of course. The problem is not that we don’t know how many times we need to pray before God answers….the problem is we are disobeying him by giving up on prayer.  Jesus Himself tells us not to give up. He will bring justice. (Luke 18)

One of my goals during this time of reflection has been to place more and more priority on finding contentment just by being in His presence. Some days its way more difficult than others. I think I’m slowly learning.

By preserving in prayer we prove that we are willing to wait faithfully and to surrender consistently to the priorities of Christ in our lives ~ Pete Greig

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” ~ Romans 12:12

PS

Bob Specas was able to intervene the cameraman’s mishap. He was able to stop all the domino’s from falling. He was still able to break the world record later that day.

[Image via Louish Pixel | flickr.com]

90% Choose Answered Prayer Over Time With Jesus

News Headline

This could have been the headline 2000 years ago…

The Story In A Nutshell

The story goes that there were 10 very, very sick men. They were outcasts, not allowed to live in proximity to other, healthy, people. They heard about a person who had a reputation as a healer. Some actually said he was the son of God. They heard that he was travelling between cities and so they took their chance and found a spot he would have to pass by. Pass he did, and they screamed and yelled as loud as they could to get his attention.  Witnesses say that this man, called Jesus, stopped and immediately turned to them. Witnesses say it was an amazing moment. You see the men were lepers, highly contagious… the worst of society. In the same moment that Jesus stepped towards them, everyone else stepped back, wanting to add distance between themselves and the lepers.  Jesus told them to go to the temple (which they were not suppose to do), but when your life is hanging in the balance, a person will do almost anything to find help.  They went and were healed.  It seems that this Jesus, is indeed a healer, and almost everyone is starting to believe that this man, truly, is the Son of God. One man came back and thanked Jesus and spent time with Him.

Luke 17:11-18

The Real Story

What I find so interesting in this story is not the miracle of 10 lepers being miraculously healed. Granted, that is some miracle, and I’m sure it was the talk of the town! But I don’t think that’s the real story. The part that has convicted me personally, is that only one of the ten came back to thank Jesus and spend time with Him. And, of all people, it was a Samaritan, a historic enemy of the Jews (that’s for another post.) All ten man had a very real need. Some of them had likely prayed for healing for years. Had begged God to reveal Himself in their bodies.  They prayed all this as they watched limbs and flesh fall off their bodies. They were desperate for an encounter with God…or were they?  This story highlights how our priorities influence our prayers.

I love this insight from Pete Greig.

“All ten men were equally healed, yet only one truly worshipped. The other nine considered their answered prayer more thrilling than the presence of the Answerer. They took their healing gladly, but they missed the greatest miracle of all: The presence of God!”

The Application

You see, the lepers prayer for healing was a legitimate prayer.  God is a God that heals. However, beyond healings and miracles, God desires a relationship with you. Do you desire the same? Nine of the ten missed a divine moment to spend time with the son of God. They were more concerned with themselves than the one that created them.  The miracle is they all received a great gift… the gift of healing. However, only one of them experienced the life changing encounter of His presence.

Are you more concerned with being in His presence or getting a one time present?

Who Are You In The Story?

I know I’m often one of the nine. He’s teaching me that He does have so many good gifts, miracles to give.  However, there is always one gift, His presence, that far outshines everything else.    Here’s an even harder question. If God would only answer one request… (He love sto answer prayer, but work with me here) …More of His presence or answer that big prayer request. Which would you choose? Good motives/priorities check, isn’t it. 🙂  I’m so thankful He is patient with me.

[Image via StuartMiles | freedigitalphotos.net]

I Often Find Prayer Boring

Now, before everyone gets frustrated or upset with my title, let me just say upfront I fully believe and know that:

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Prayer – The Examen of Consciousness Part 3

 

INTRO

I find that a deep, consistent prayer life is very difficult to sustain and even engage in.  God made me to be a doer, a lover of crossing off the items on my list. I’m someone who loves to achieve. When I pray about something, I’m usually already acting out my solution as I’m praying.  Simply, I find it difficult to be still.  During our staff chapel this week we walked through the Jesuit tradition of “The Examen of Consciousness.” While any traditions can be taken to an extreme I found the exercise helpful and thought I would explain the steps in 4 different blog posts of the next couple days. Information used from the Jesuit Society of Jesus.

Step #3: Intention: Ask God to send you His Holy Spirit to help you look at your actions & attitudes and motives. You can read Step 2 here.

 

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Prayer – The Examen of Consciousness Part 1

I find that a deep, consistent prayer life is very difficult to sustain and even engage in.  God made me to be a doer, a lover of crossing off the items on my list. I’m someone who loves to achieve. When I pray about something, I’m usually already acting out my solution as I’m praying.  Simply, I find it difficult to be still.  During our staff chapel this week we walked through the Jesuit tradition of “The Examen of Consciousness.” While any traditions can be taken to an extreme I found the exercise helpful and thought I would explain the steps in 4 different blog posts of the next couple days. Information used from the Jesuit Society of Jesus.

Before you start try to be in a place where you will be least likely to be disturbed, distracted, etc. Jesuits would often light a candle to mark the beginning of their time in prayer.

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