i spent last thursday and friday at our denominational conference (PSWC) annual celebration. it was a powerful time of listening, praying, and reflecting. one deep conviction that is brewing in me since then is the importance and need to pray more. i wrestle with this because most of the time nothing “happens” DURING my prayer time. i’m always hoping that something miraculous will happen on the spot. don’t get me wrong… i think that there are moments where revelation and miracle happens in the midst of prayer, but for the most part, i don’t “feel” or “see” anything change during my time of prayer.
as part of the celebration, they honored our previous superintendent (John Notehelfer). They particularly emphasized the fruit of his prayers in us ten years later. it was at that moment that i realized that i am so shortsided. i always want things to happen now. i always feel like it’s pointless if things don’t change right before my eyes. i think that it’s more productive to focus on what i can accomplish and finish quickly. but real, lasting, impactful transformation happens through the power of God and the Holy Spirit. and, it may not happen in a moment. and it definitely happens when God’s people fall on their knees and pray. i mean, God calls us to this posture for healing of our communities:
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will healtheirland.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
so, maybe we if we can get beyond the shortsidedness of our “quick results” oriented life, we’d get on our knees and truly know in our hearts that it makes a difference in our world when we pray…
so, my big question that i’ve been wrestling with for some time now that always gets rekindled when i come to a gathering of pastors and leaders is: “what does speed have to do with the power of the Holy Spirit?”
i ask this question because it seems that we’re mezmerized by the “fastest growing this…” and the “speed at which things get accomplished…” oddly, it creates this anxiety in me that i’m moving too slowly and that i’m always fighting failure since i’m slowing down. the affirmation of speed as it correlates to the power and presence of God also makes me feel like I don’t have that much power and presence of God in my life. i’m sure i’m writing and thinking out of insecurity, but it’s hard when it’s in your face all the time and all around you.
what does the affirmation of speed create in me? i think that i become more shallow. i move from person to person because i don’t have time. i’m very selective with my meetings in order to accomplish my agenda which needs to be accomplished quickly. i work so hard that i can never “enjoy” the moment or the blessing right before me. what’s worse is that i’m pretty sure i make others around me more anxious about moving too slowly and make them feel like lazy sluggards for not helping our community grow. sorry…:)
i always think about the high probability that Jesus would be fired from most churches today because he wouldn’t be effective enough. I think that he would be judged for only amassing 12 followers over the course of 3 years and the fact that 1 of them betrayed him only adds icing to the cake of the argument. he deeply invested in his disciples and gave himself away. he took the time to be with them and walked with them through ministry.
i fight for peace in my life all the time. when someone asks how my church is going (codespeak for how’s attendance?) i always cringe a bit. but, i believe that people in my church are growing. i believe that we’re learning through the scriptures and through our experiences in our community. i believe that strongholds are being broken and people are feeling more and more liberated. i believe that we’re seeking after Christ and valuing our “relationship” with our Savior verus just trying to “fix” our junk. so… i think we’re growing… really growing…