Friday, July 1, 2011

The World is my Prayer Closet

As a Lay speaker I have had to do my share of pulpit-fill over the years.  If I had to pick a general thread  that runs through the sermons I have preached it would be how scripture relates to my everyday life.  A good friend of mine asked me how I am able to make that connection.  She said to me "ya know, I read the words but I just don't 'feel' them!" 

Honestly, I don't always feel the words either!  More times than not, however, I do make a connection.  I tend to start off my Bible reading with an expectation that I'm going to get something out of it that I can use in my everyday life.  I'm not sure when I first started thinking that way but if my various Bibles with their multi-colored highlights and handwritten notes are any indication it's been many years!  I do believe though that I can point to one thing that pointed me in that direction-a book called "Experiencing the depths of Christ" by Jeanne Guyon.

I "rediscovered" it on my bookshelf yesterday.  I had read this book about 20 years ago.  The copy I have is an "updated to modern English" version of a book originally published around 1685.  It is a book about prayer and the discipline of praying.  The first type of prayer that she talks about is "praying the scripture".  It is a process where you pick some scripture and read slowly and pause to see what you experience-what message you believe is being conveyed.  I love these quotes:
"Praying the scripture is not judged by how much you read but by the way in which you read."
"In praying the scripture you are seeking to find the Lord in what you are reading."
"Plunge into the very depths of the words you read until revelation, like a sweet aroma, breaks out upon you."
In essence, she describes exactly the process that I use!  I have found over the years that the more I do this, the more I get out of my Bible reading!  I have been using this method all of this time without consciously realizing!  For me, it was a wonderful realization and a relief because I've had this sense that I needed to be doing more!  I've felt rather guilty because my life doesn't allow me the chance to lock myself away in a prayer closet for extended periods of time.  My study, my prayer, my praise come in bits and snatches because I have a family to take care of and needs that must be met! 

God is faithful!  He meets me where I am at and takes those small seeds of offering and waters them and makes them grow and bloom!  Life becomes a continual prayer.  Even when everything is going haywire and things are falling down around me I can still experience peace and joy and praise because God is there!  He is still leading, guiding and orchestrating even when I am not aware! 

It reminds me of Psalm 1:2-3:
"...their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.  They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.  In all that they do, they prosper."
My life in this world is my prayer closet!  Whew!  What a relief!

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