Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Intimacy (again)

I know, I know another blog on intimacy but I believe this word is what God has spoken over my heart for this year. All that to say it probably won't be the last post on this topic as I delve into to what this word means to my life.

I am thinking about this word today in terms of prayer. How prayer develops the intimacy in my relationship with the Lord. I can feel the distance when I let my prayer times slide, or fit them in only after everything else is done. I miss out on the deep, intimate times I experience when my prayer time is quiet not rushed and can come from a place of depth and honesty on my side. I read the chapter on Prayer in the book O2, by Richard Dahlstrom that we are reading with our Bible Study group. It got me thinking about my own stories of prayer and I wanted to share some of these thoughts and my experiences.

There are many parts to prayer, some of which I am better at than others. When I hear a fire truck or ambulance shrieking past, a prayer is on my lips, "God be with those involved". It is a genuine prayer, trusting God to be amidst the situation.

I have some friends who have a ministry to orphans in South Africa, each week I get a prayer update with a creative way to pray for their ministry and the children involved; wearing the same pair of shoes for a week, for every occasion to 'walk in the shoes of another' and as a reminder to pray. I am intentional to make time to intercede on the behalf of others I love the feeling I get when I am praying in line with God's heart. Catching a little of His love for the orphans as I pray.

I love the little moments too, like last weekend when I had searched my closet and my dressers for the forth time unable to find the black dress I wanted to wear for a wedding. I took a searching hiatus and feeling defeated I took a shower. While washing my hair I said a simple prayer recognising that I had no idea where else to look and asking please, if He could help me find my dress I would really appreciate it! I stepped out of the shower and suddenly a new place to look came to mind and what-do-you-know, my dress was hanging there!
I chuckled as I said a prayer of thanks. I love that God can laugh with us about our lives and truly longs to be with us in the smallest of details as well as the big decisions; and speaking of those...

Before Jeremy and I began dating, I was praying about a big decision - where am I supposed to live? I knew I had followed His call to be in Seattle but I had an opportunity to go and work with my friends in South Africa and I believed that both places could be the 'right place'. I prayed, and I fasted, I sat quietly waiting to hear God's voice. I had people I trusted interceding on my behalf and at the end I made the choice to stay here in Seattle. I truly believe either choice would have been the 'right' one and that God was just enjoying walking with me as I made it. The lessons God has been teaching me and the transforming work he is doing would have happened in either place. I am delighted in my choice now, as I see that at the point I was confident and had peace in the choice I made to stay, Jeremy entered my life. I am so very thankful that God allowed me to wrestle with him alone as to my calling. He allowed me to come to this decision with him before it was clouded with all those romantic gooey feelings that would have been there if Jeremy was already in the picture!

Throughout my time working in ministry with YWAM, prayer was a key component but I believe my passion and delight in this sacred conversation began many years before. In my teens and again in my early 20's, I struggled with severe anxiety. My only hope was the Lord and I knew it. I had a community of people surrounding me in prayer and I would cry out to God every day pleading for healing and desperate for his help and his peace. I clung to my relationship with him and understood my complete dependence in a very real way. This painful season developed a deep intimacy between me and God. It paved the way for the small prayers, the "where are my keys?" prayers and it has served as a foundation for my prayer life ever since.

Since we have been married, I have enjoyed sharing this passion with Jeremy. I love the time at night, when we are warm under the covers and we simply share our hopes and dreams together, and life them up to God. Prayers for ourselves, for friends and family, and asking God to continue to work in our lives to be more like him. I see God developing an intimacy in our marriage as we involve him in this intimate and honest way. Confessing our failures and celebrating our joys. What a gift to have a father like that who loves us so very much.

Coming to God in prayer feels like coming home.

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