Last week, we set a challenge on here for the month of June: pray for one thing, a thing you feel very strongly about, for one hour. If you want to be reminded or see that challenge again, head here. Today Lisa Murfin, one of our church members, shares her experiences for us.
I loved this challenge! It brought me back to my first love: Jesus. But that didn’t happen instantly. As seems to be true of most things in life, it was about the journey so much more than it was about one disciplined hour ticked off my To-Do-List. Like Jacob, I wrestled with sitting quietly for an hour in prayer but through the journey of that hour and beyond, I was given fresh eyes to see Jesus in everyday life, to hear Him as I interact with others, and a reminder of His deep love for each and every person.
What did this challenge look like for me? I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of girl. It is basically true to say, “I love everyone and everything!” That can be a dangerous and ineffective way to live, however, since I am not, sadly, Super Woman. I cannot DO everything. I need daily disciplines in order to truly love people well. I had gotten a bit complacent about starting my days with God, so this challenge meant really stopping to be alone with God for an hour and asking Him to show me what particular passion He had given me that He wanted me to focus on.
I have been walking in relationship with Jesus for a while, and I have learned that prayer can absolutely be a conversation with God as I read my Bible or go about my day, and it can be a devoted time alone with Him such as this challenge suggested. Both are necessary to really learn to “hear” Jesus speak to us. I have to confess, however, that after disciplining myself to just sit there and listen for an hour; I didn’t “hear” Jesus say much. I had a general peace that, “He had it covered,” but I didn’t sense any answers or specific guidance.I have to confess ... I didn't 'hear' Jesus say much. Click To Tweet
What I did sense, was that God had made me to be an encourager. He has grown in me a passion to live a whole, purposeful life and a desire to help others do the same. What I didn’t know was what that should look like in my day to day life. I got up from my prayer time, unsure what to think. I was a bit disappointed, but this was where it got fun!
Dave Criddle approached me and asked if I would take this challenge to pray about something I am passionate about. Yup! I had been praying for God to show me what passion/focus He wanted me to have BEFORE Dave issued this challenge. Dave’s asking me to do this was like God saying, “Press on with your search. Spend time with me again and learn how to hear my voice.”
A couple of days later, I was reading my Bible in One Year reading plan, and read of the Crazy Love that God has for each and every person He has made. For every believer our first focus should be on living in relationship with the Living God; “the Creator of the universe who loves me!” The introduction to this devotion ended by asking, “What are you passionate about? Where should you direct this crazy love?” God began to answer that prayer I had prayed the week before through the daily discipline of reading the Bible. I needed to focus on living in relationship with God. My ability to love and encourage others will flow from that primary relationship.
That seemed too simple in so many ways. It didn’t seem to tell me HOW I would truly live a whole, purposeful life and help others do the same. (Yes, I can be stubborn!) God in His grace presented it in a couple of different ways. I can’t list all the steps of this journey, as this is a post not a book. However, I can say that God was faithful to answer my prayer in ways He knew I would receive. A simple answer in that hour of prayer would not have penetrated my stubborn heart and mind like the repetition He used this week.
The idea that tied all of this together came through two conversations with two different friends. One friend shared a devotion which used the Message translation of Ephesians 5:1-2; 8-10. As I shared this devotion with another friend this morning, we both realized that God was asking us to trust Him with the big things while also trusting Him for the moment by moment wisdom and courage to do the next right thing. Bottom line: We are to walk in relationship with Him.
What I loved about this challenge was that Jesus showed me how important it is to be in relationship with Him and with others. I believe I heard Jesus because of that seemingly fruitless hour of prayer. I heard Him speak to me through His Word, through podcasts, through books, and through other people. Prayer and life are all about relationship. That fills my heart with love and gives me great purpose.
Thank you Lisa! If this has struck you or you have any comments, drop them below. And do carve out the time to engage with this challenge yourself, too! Let me know how it goes
If you've enjoyed this post, please share it around using the buttons below. Also, join the conversation and let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below. If you want to contact us directly about anything, you can do so here.