Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, your 3rdSpaces.Com family
We've decided to take some time away, but feel free to read our blogs dating back to June! We will have new posts beginning next year, and even some by guest bloggers. (Email us if you're interested in submitting something!)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, your 3rdSpaces.Com family
"Are we complacent in our prayers? Afraid to be bold because we fear God won't answer them? Afraid that God might require more or something different from us?"
I just read an article in Huffington Post about the Prayer Wave that's beginning Tuesday, Dec. 10 (Human Rights Day) to end hunger, and I began to wonder, can prayer end perils such as hunger and poverty.
As Christians, we are taught, and many of us believe and have evidence, that "prayer changes things." For the most part, we ask, we believe, we surrender, and situations change. Most of us can attest to “prayer working” for something we are directly involved with like our problems at work or a family member's illness. But what do you think about something as global and far-reaching as hunger? Can our prayers solve that?
Well, that’s what the Pope of the Catholic church and organizers of this Prayer Wave event think, and they are calling to others to sign a petition, and join in daily prayer specifically for ending hunger. I've signed it (I'm not Catholic, but I believe in this effort) and I am excited to focus my prayer time on ending hunger; but I have to admit, there are a few things that this has me thinking about:
1. Why am I/are we just now using prayer as a "weapon" to combat such devastation?
(I'm sure others have been praying to end hunger since the beginning of time, so I guess I'm really wondering why I haven't been devoting my time to specifically pray about hunger or child trafficking, or violence -- these things that break my heart.)
2. What if, even on the local level, we began to think all of what we can do through prayer and join our spirits, across denominations in prayer time? (Countless churches worship on Sundays. Though they have their prayer at different times, what if those praying -- aloud and silently -- become consciously aware that they are joining with others, including those not even physically there, in prayer. Think about how powerful that would be!)
3. Has prayer, in the mind of many believers, lost its power?
(Are we complacent in our prayers? Afraid to be bold because we fear God won't answer them? Afraid that God might require more or something different from us? Is praying something we do just because it's what we've been taught or do we truly believe in its power?)
This article, especially in light of the Advent season and the passing of one of the most admired men for his faith and courage of love, Nelson Mandela, has got me thinking. The act of love is what "church" is, right? We (the church) are people of faith and action. Believing, going and doing what God has commanded. That won't be comfortable or easy in the ways we like to think about it, but with prayer, all things are possible.
So, do you believe ending hunger in our lifetime is possible? Do you believe it begins with prayer? Will you join with others (even if you don't believe in their polity) to pray to end hunger? Will you pray for God to help your unbelief?
"Our time here isn't to find or negotiate or to deny our gifts but to allow them to breathe!"
Before we've fully digested and enjoyed Thanksgiving, there's Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. We give thanks and then we give our credit cards. But how many times have you thoughtfully purchased someone their gift to only have them return it, or how many times have you returned or "re-gifted" something given to you? I'm guessing it's happened more than once, to your chagrin!
But the question I really want you to think about is have you ever wanted to exchange the gift God has given you perhaps for something more your style? Something that you're more comfortable with? Maybe you have found yourself saying, "God, I would much rather be doing something more fun and artistic instead of being good with numbers and working in this cubicle." Or, "God, I would much rather have a steady job and paycheck than be an artist." Or maybe you've said something like, "But, God, I'm an introvert, I don't think you could possibly give me the gift of being a public speaker, I would rather be a writer (an award winning author, actually)."
Perhaps none of those thoughts have come to your mind but you get my drift. We're often negotiating with God, wanting to exchange our gifts for some that seem "better." But why? Is it to make ourselves more comfortable in the world? Or appear bigger? Whatever the reason, it's probably our ego's voice taking over trying to have us believe our gifts just aren't sufficient. I wonder, if we could look back at the end of our life, how much time would we see we spent bargaining with God, unsatisfied with what we've been given, always looking for the next best thing.
In our consumer-oriented culture, it's easy to get caught up in upgrading. And, I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to be and experience the best in life. But, there comes a place on the journey when we must sincerely accept and acknowledge that God is the and has the Master Plan, and that it is for our good and the good of the world. We must learn to be content and know that who we are, as God's Beloved, is enough.
I am guilty of wanting to exchange my gifts from time to time. I admit, I can be like an ungrateful child at Christmas stomping away from others, pouting, with my unwanted gift tucked under my arm, wondering where the gifts that I asked for were (especially if I've been "good.") And God, the gracious parent, letting me have my "alone" time, then coming with a warm glass of milk and sharing lessons, "But my child, this gift I've given for you is special and just for you, not to separate you but to allow you to use it to bless others; if only you can see the beauty that it is and that you are."
Thankfully, God is patient and merciful with us on the journey with Him/Her as we learn the greater truth that our gifts -- the ones placed within us before we were born -- are enough. Our time here isn't to find or negotiate or to deny our gifts but to allow them to breathe! No matter our age and season, our gifts do not die or lose their luster; as long as we are here, they are always ready to do their purpose though new ones may emerge and evolve.
As we enter this Advent season where we pay particular attention to waiting on Christ (Christ Consciousness) to appear, I hope to be more aware of how God is appearing within me day-to-day. I believe this doorway between the Spirit of God and others that's in us -- be in a smile, a joke, a helping hand, a hug, a piece of art, a listening ear, a prayer -- is more than likely the gift God has given us for a time such as this.
Our individual and collective gifts, big or small, are necessary. Our gift is a way in which we commune with God while we are here on earth. It's a way we know who we are in Christ.
I'm thankful that God didn't allow me to exchange my gifts. I'm still learning how to walk in and embrace them with greater appreciation and awareness. And when each of us moves in that Light, from fear to love, our gifts will make room for us and heal the world.
Goodness! I love life and giving back. Sometimes, however, I feel a little lost on the journey. Then, I remember that God's got this and I'm a conduit of His/Her purpose, love and grace. It shows up in my art, in my presentations and workshops, in my relationships. That's what I write about here -- this glorious, delicious, messy journey we are each called to embrace.