Sunday, December 13, 2009

Prayer Letters

Prayer Letters

It was a quiet Friday morning.  I slept late, knowing I need the extra rest as I've fought cold after cold all fall and am clearly not treating my body well.  

As always, I woke to spend some time in prayer, offering thankfulness for another day and then way too quickly, moving to what I'm so prone to:  the complaining prayers.  The ones that effectively say to God, "Get with my program here and make it quick."

I let the dogs out, and retrieved the newspaper, reading it over breakfast and hot tea and then headed to email and to consider the rest of the day.  

I did the usual deleting of newsletters I subscribe to but didn't want to read today, tossed out the ones from airlines trying to get me to book holiday flights and companies where I've made online purchases seeking to entice me to buy more. 

There were two emails left, both from people I've known for a number of years and who spend their lives seeking out the lost and offering them the hope of salvation in Jesus.  In both cases, I've promised that I would faithfully pray for them and their work.  So I opened them, read them carefully, and re-entered the place and discipline of prayer.  

One letter involved a group of people who live in the Pacific Northwest, an area of the country that has long been extraordinarily unreceptive to the hope of the gospel.  There is a loosely connected group of people who have moved there, are finding jobs, settling themselves and their children in these communities, and seeking in quiet ways to offer the kingdom of heaven to those around them.  

The other is from a friend who lives in Kazakhstan, half-way around the world from here, and works with a group of people doing much the same.  

Life is hardly easy for any of these folks.  Precarious finances, health problems, little structure to guide them--all adds up to a very strange and challenging way to live.  But they are driven by what they themselves know and have experienced:  the realness of the grace of God that has brought reconciliation and freedom to them.

As I prayed, I thought about upsidedown-type life that those who seeks the grace-filled place called "the kingdom of heaven" live in.  It's a place of giving, not getting.  The rewards are often not immediate, but when they come, when someone who was wandering in spiritual devastation somehow discovers the power of a life reconciled to God, then those rewards surpass just about anything else.  These people touch eternity with their lives.  History may not record them in books or newspapers or magazines, but history will know them because they brought light and hope which will then be passed to others. 

Are you called to this kind of life?  Many are, but many don't respond to the call.  It's too hard, too stretching, not comfortable enough.  But if you are, and if you respond to it, no other way of living satisfies.  It's the best and most joyful path of life, both now and in eternity.

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