Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pray, Pray, Pray

Every New year it's the same resolution. And it's about February when 2012 resolves fall by the wayside, drop off the radar, are lorded over by laziness. For 2012 I had promised myself
To PRAY more.

Not to R E A D more books about prayer by spiritual greats like Charles Spurgeon (12 Sermons on Prayer), Jack Hayford (Prayer is Invading the Impossible), Andrew Murray (Intercessory Prayer), Stormie Omartian (The Power of the Praying Parent/Wife/Woman/etc.), A.W.Tozer (The Pursuit of God), Beth Moore (Praying God's Word) to name a few...as good as they are...

B u t, to P R A Y more often

Just T A L K to G O D,
All day long,
Everyday.

"Pray without ceasing, Pray at all times. Paul the Apostle said. "Be constant in Prayer". Jesus said, "...they ought always to pray, and not lose heart." And He repeatedly invites us to persist, to trouble Him, ask, seek, knock.

In short, the parables describe a praying person as a perfect nuisance.

It may not be okay with your husband or housemate, but it's okay with God to be a nag!!! I'm allowed! :) :)

Daily concerns can assault like rapid-fire weapons. Preying on my tendency to indulge my emotions to settle in on knee-jerk reactions of
anger
fear
worry
blame
anxiety
coveting
resentment
manipulating
conniving, (Geez, I'm messed up!)

Resisting the onslaught by appealing my Maker sends the fretting flying, freeing me to enjoy peace
tranquility
contentment
kindness
gentleness
a deep-seated joy.

God's presence comes and quiets, calms, and clears my cluttered brain. And a hushed heart can hear prayer's answer, the next step, the clarion solution.

Quite often answers don't come.....and then there's the deep well of waiting.. '.Wait on the Lord.'
(Romans 12:12) This is where He sculpts, shapes, and performs surgery on the sick parts of my soul until I am situated to see some new glistening facet of His heart and magnificent perspective on His ways. And a fresh revelation of who He is is what it's all about. That is life!!!

Persisting in prayer is not ordering Deity around. It should never be 'spiritual lust' as Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest. "Spiritual lust makes me demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God who gives the answer." (pg 38)

Remember in The Help when Aibileen is thinking about adding the 'separate bathrooms for blacks' issue to her prayer list: She says, "Cause that's the way prayer do. It's like electricity, it keeps things going". (pg 23)

We are mistaken to expect the answers to be revealed as lightening or thunder. They can appear so subtly, so interwoven in the normal conversations and occurrences of our day, we miss them and risk joining the ranks of the ungrateful.

Eat.Pray.Love.
is a fine worldview.

But Pray. Pray. Pray is better.
I have no problem eating ....and loving is as necessary as breathing.

Tragic events and personal crises get us praying easily. Weren't we surprised to hear LL Cool J open the Grammy Awards with prayer in response to Whitney Houston's untimely death? Pray on LL Cool J!! Along with the rest of us!

But most times, my self-sufficient, prideful, I'll-do-it-myself-my-way, autonomous, independent person bristles violently at the selflessness and submission required for prayer. Even though it is more vital than any other earthly activity.

So I will keep trying to make praying the first and foremost habit to form and maintain for February,
this year, 2012...
and the next...

and the next.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Old 2011- New 2012; Old Friends - New Friends

Enjoyed a sedate, yet sparkly New Year's Eve with

Old friends:
Holly Johns and family whom we met the first day of our kids' school in 1998...and...
New Friends:
Barry and Donna Stephan who moved in last year two doors down.

My last minute decision to have a New Year's Eve party had a hidden sequence I hadn't realized till typing just now, paralleling the night perfectly:

A night where we look past on the old year
and
forward to the New:
old friends - new friends.

At this point some may want to skip the dry personal anecdotes and move down to a slightly more interactive Beatles parody. If you went to the party, keep reading.

Breaking the rule of never practicing new recipes on guests, I served three new dishes: spanakopita, caprese salad and Creme Brulee. After a small adjustment of adding more feta to the second batch of spanakopita, it improved. Thanks to Holly, we had corn chips, homemade chili and wonderful chocolate dipped cookies to round out the New Year's buffet.

A rousing game of white board Pictionary tied up when Shelby Johns and I on opposing teams yelled simultaneously

"SMOG!"
to Donna's skillful sketch of lines in the sky, smoke from a chimney pushed up against a mountain. (My California roots with visions of a rusty San Fernando valley sky should have brought it faster to mind to win). Rather than do a tie-breaker, we amicably ended at a 15 /15 score.

Cody Johns rattled out "Hit the Road, Jack" on piano while we sang along.  Marcus Johns accompanied Shelby's beautiful Mariah Carey-like vocals while others constructed a fire out of 2010's Christmas tree in the patio fire pit. Pyromaniacs that we are, a heart-stopping "FUMP' made us jump as it ignited (couple drops of gasoline does the trick) and scared the daylights out of the new friends.

I justified forcing my Beatles parody of "Yesterday" on my captive guests prefacing that it was appropriate for New Year's and to which some middle-age contemporaries in the room might relate.

You remember the tune...:

Yesterday
All my wrinkles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly,
I'm not freezing like a used to be
Global warming has come over me
Yes, climate change comes suddenly!

Why I have to grow, I don't know
I couldn't say
Pounds keep piling on
Now I long for yesterday -a -a- ay

Yesterday
Looks were such an easy game to play
Now I pay big bucks to hide my grey
Oh, I believe in Yesterday
Hmm..hm, hm ,hm ,hm ,HM, HMM.

Martinelli's in champagne flutes. Tim switched OFF Lady Gaga singing in her spider-web, black cage-like-hour-glass costume. (NOT how we want to ring in the New Year, thank you.) Then switched back to watch the ball drop and kissed each other at midnight!! Two am bedtime.

On to tomorrow and year 2012 full of newborn, fresh experiences.

Happy New Year my friends!!!

Old and new.

Tell me about your New Year's celebration......

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