Wednesday, September 7, 2011

For my friends who are hurting...

I found this  helpful. It is a quote from The One-Year Wonder of the Cross Devotional by Chris Tiegreen.
Sept. 3
   "... The good news of salvation is traumatic.  New life begins in pain. Always.
    Think about that.  Jesus suffered on a cross to give us life.  The Spirit convicts us  of our sins - and often subjects us to futility and despair - before we come to Christ.  The mission of Jesus involves intense, prayer, hard work, and spiritual opposition before bearing fruit...
    That is the dynamic Paul and Silas embraced in a Philippian prison.  Because they were faithful, an unjust imprisonment, a violent earthquake, chaos among criminals, and a suicidal guard led to a family's salvation and a citywide testimony.  The conduit for grace is often despair...
   If you became a Christian thinking that life would be easy, you may be disillusioned by the war you entered.  As a believer, you have probably encountered counterfeits, injustices, and chaos, and wondered why God was absent. The answer from Acts 16 is that He isn't. In fact, He is never more present.  He allows desperate times as a platform for His grace. All He asks is for His servants to seize the platform..."

Chris also has a book called Violent Prayer, Engaging your Emotions Against Evil.   In the Fall of 2009, basically from August 09  to  Feb. 2010., we often felt pressed to the wall. Those of you who know us, know what we went through with the meth house next door and the people selling who lived just on the other side of the meth house.  It was just really bad - screaming and cussing late at night. Erratic driving at odd hours. A couple of times there was gunfire close by late at night and I had to call our son and ask him to postpone coming home from his friend's house until things settled down.  During this time, someone apparently got into our mail and got enough information to forge a check for 600.00 on our account and that was hard to straighten out.  We also had minor vandalism done to our property after going to the police about the check forgery. At times we were stunned.  During this period, I got Tiegreen's book on prayer and started reading it.  One of the things that he recommended was to  pray boldly for things that you know are in God's will.
    For instance, we know that the Lord's prayer in Matthew tells us to honor God and then to ask that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  He went on to say that we know it isn't God's will for people to be shooting drugs into their veins, etc and so we don't have to wonder if it's right to ask that God show up strongly against this type of behavior and bring His kingdom principles to reign in such a situation.  So we began to pray that God's will would be done in the  lives of the people next door and that God's will would also be done on the piece of property  they owned - the same way that it would be if that land were in Heaven.  As Chris says, this is not a magic formula - it's just one way of praying.  However, in this case, we found it to be effective.
    We started praying this way in November and in February the house next door was seized.  It had been used for drug activity off and on since 2001 and there had been several arrests for cooking meth over the ensuing years. But for some reason, the house was never taken.   And then in the fall of 2009, things just seemed to be spiraling down into an endless vortex that would never get better.  As bad as things had been over there from time to time, it had never been like this and we felt pretty hopeless, wondering where it would all end.  We had no idea that  within a few short months, the violence and illegal activity would be  completely gone. And 12 months later, the house itself would be gone (in spite of the fact that the city said it would take 6 to 8 years to get around to cleaning the property ups).
    Sometimes, when things look the bleakest, it is true that God is about to step in and act. And while Praying Violently may seem like a weird title, the principles in it are sound.  The example I've given of how to pray is just one from the book - there are others.
   Prayer is supposed to be our first resort in times of trouble. Sometimes, when everything is unraveling, it is our only resort. We have an enemy and he knows for sure what he is doing. Sometimes it helps if we also know what we are doing when things start to spiral and chaos ratchets up in our lives.  We don't mind reading (and applying new  ideas)  about how to improve our garden, remodel our house, restore our marriage, improve our financial investments, etc.
  But maybe we balk at reading and applying a book on prayer. Maybe it sounds boring. Maybe we feel we don't need it. All I know is that when I thought things would never be better, this book gave me a prayer rope to hold onto. And I'm convinced praying effectively, Biblically makes a difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment