“By prayer let me wrestle,
And He will perform:
With Christ in the vessel
I smile at the storm.”
- John Newton
Sometimes…well, truthfully, often it seems to me that prayer is a wrestling match. It’s not wrestling with God, but with my own self. I sit down with the best of intentions to be present to the Lord in prayer. Suddenly my mind kicks into gear – the ToDo list, calendar items, fears, anxiety, chores; a storm of thoughts clamor for attention. I begin to wrestle with them all in order to do what sounds so simple – pray. “Master,” I cry out, “don’t you know what’s happening?” And there I am, in the boat with Jesus who is sleeping through the storm. He awakens and speaks to my stormy wrestling, “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39) Be still. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Rest has emerged from the wrestling by the word of the Master. Finally I can be in God’s presence and open myself to the divine work of transformation wrought by the Living Word.
Prayer begins when I sit down with intention; I get into the boat with Jesus.
Prayer continues when I cry out from the place of my own weakness.
Prayer deepens as I remain quietly open and available to God.
Faithful prayer is continuing to show up to God with our entire imperfect selves. And the One who created us by and for love is delighted to transform us for the sake of his kingdom. (Philippians 1:6)
Let’s be transformed.
Written by Jennifer Shepherd
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