“This latent force.”
I read this phrase in a book talking about the meaning of prayer, written in 1915.
It got me thinking….
What do we do while waiting in the ‘long until.’ In other words, what is the most natural thing we can do to spend our lives until we see Him face to face?
Some of you remember Michelle Beckman’s memorial service. For those who didn’t know her, Michelle lost a battle with cancer about two years ago, one of our best leaders. During the service I remember thinking she would have cringed at all the attention, the people who crowded into the sanctuary, feeling stuffy in their suits, a little self-conscience in their skirts. It probably had her ducking for cover under the avalanche of kind, uplifting memories of her ministry to others. But certain ones spoke of her human side, too. Refreshing! I left that day sobered by the way others had fashioned a very broken image of an exceptional person.
In her last stage, she told me she felt impatient for her race to be over. In that moment, it dawned on me that her greatest legacy was not the wisdom she offered, or the coaching, which was far better than anyone I knew. It wasn’t her tireless pursuit of excellence, and execution, which doubled down during her final years. But it was that somewhere along the way, she, Michelle Beckman, stepped into the purpose for life, the most natural thing about her, and every child of God. At some point she let prayer envelop her surrendered soul, and settle there, right up to that day the long ‘until’ caught up with her.
Prayer lies like a bulb in cold earth, awaiting our constancy to warm it. It’s a latent power in every man, woman and child of God. The most natural thing we could ever do is to cry out in desperation, in prayer to Him who made us to pray, created us as intelligent, persevering and well directed sons and daughters. Someone long ago said, “The reason why we do pray is simply that we cannot help praying.”
In Michelle’s case, this latent gift of prayer, which had been pushed away for a number of years, finally moved in, so to speak, and settled down into her persona. It wasn’t her agenda, and it wasn’t her bully pulpit, nor was it a stated conviction. Those kinds of things would have cheapened it for her. No, it was her, it was every child of God in every generation for all time, who look on prayer, not as discipline, not something to muster up, not duty or even devotion. But who see prayer as something natural, like breathing. To pray because that’s what you do, created in the image of god, created for intimate wonder, created for personal joy in the presence of God, through Christ our righteousness. David lived it, breathed it, and never forgot it. He said of himself, “I am prayer.” Sounds like prayer moved into his life, too.
“Lord, I want to be prayer. But I cheapen it by creating strategy around it, by writing pithy too-many-word essays about its efficacy, and in the end simply tire of it, give up on it, and deny the most natural thing about me.
Lord, I want to be prayer.
Do you dear one; who read these cheap lines, want to be prayer?