Monday, January 31, 2011

Simmering Beneath the Surface

Prayer. It is quite possibly my favorite part about having a personal relationship with Christ. When things are good I send up my praises, when I have questions I pray through them, when something tragic happens I pray. I pray for strength, guidance, peace, patience, health, and yes even material things on a monthly, weekly, daily and occasionally minute by minute basis. However, when I take a deeper look at my walk with Christ I see that there are occasional patches where somehow my prayer life is forgotten, or rather became superficial or all but left behind. Stagnant, I believe is a good word.

Kind of like taking a pot of water and placing it on the stove. When new water is added to the pot you turn the heat up starting at second or high intentionally adding as much heat as possible, bringing the water to a rapid boil. But eventually, once the water is hot you start to turn the temp down. Slowly at first, maybe third, then low, then all the way down to it's resting point at warm. You don't forget about the pot, it's always there, holding the water you've put into it. Occasionally you might come in and remove the lid, peeking in at the water, stirring or touching it to test it's temperature. Then you replace the lid and leave the room again until you have another cup of water to add to the pot and then you return, instantly turning the heat up to high.

In some ways I think this is exactly how God wants it to be. He wants us to take our concerns, dreams, and circumstances (our water) and give them over to Him, putting them in His hands (the pot). Unfortunately though after a month, week, day, or ten minutes of prayer (heat) we reduce the intensity, whether on purpose or because life has pushed the thoughts aside. Someone once told me that instead of just telling someone that you will pray for them and then stashing the concern away for bedtime or whenever your next "scheduled" prayer time is, just take the time to pray it then. This is something I always try to practice, however, I do not feel like that one prayer should be all I say but so many times my intentions get pushed aside and the follow up prayers simmer somewhere just below the surface.

I want to be better about intentionally inventorying my pot of water. What prayers are simmering away? How intense and passionate am I about them? Have I reduced the prayer for a friend whose battling cancer because 6 or 12 weeks have gone by? If I am, shame on me, that's when the intensity should be kicked into full gear, that's when strength and peace are starting to die out again. This I know from experience.  

Here's a little sample of (what was) my luke warm water:

A friend battling cancer
Cancer followup testing
A friend fighting for custody
A youth pastor
Buying a house
The boys health
My friend's pregnancy
My "mama's" and their kids, their health, pregnancies, one who lost her daughter, one who lost her father.
My girls that they know who they are, that they are loved, and that they follow Christ.
My parents health
Salvation for *
My health
At least 3 friends who are "trying"
My BIL that he iss safe while deployed
My sister while her husband is deployed
My friends back
My pastor and his family (their health!)
My husband

So, what's in your pot and how hot is it? 

One last comparison, that just occurred to me. The hotter the heat, the harder the boil, the harder the boil, the quicker the water evaporates.  Certainly it's the same with prayer, the more consistently and passionately we pray for something, the faster we will see an answer (not always our answer, but God's answer is always better anyhow).

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