9/26/11 “For we are God’s fellow workers . . .” I Corinthians 3:9a
This verse is one of those planted firmly in my childhood, in the King James English, “We are labourers together with God.” It was either on the bulletin each week or I learned it in Girl’s Auxiliary or Vacation Bible School. Focusing tightly on this may have contributed to my many years of assuming God is mostly interested in my performance, but that’s another conversation.
In applying the idea of work or labor to prayer – can you see, God never said it would be easy? [One thing about God, He tells it straight up front; there's no sugar coating. Though some of those who claim to speak for Him may paint a picture of constant abundance & never-ending smiles, they are just a little skewed about what abundance really is & what is the true source of smiles.] Prayer is WORK! If I could draw, I’d make a cartoon girl, sweaty & nasty, leaning over, chest-heaving, dressed in jogging clothes. Or she might have on overalls & a straw hat & be standing in her cornfield, red-faced & leaning on her hoe likes it’s the only thing holding her up.
You know prayer is work for sure if you got excited about joining with the COTC congregation & committed to spend quality time praying. How many off-the-wall, ridiculous, time-wasting interruptions have we had to fight against in the past few weeks? How much time have we spent, staring at the Prayer Requests sheet, desperately trying to come up with something to say to God, while thoughts of “What’s for dinner?” & “Wonder who will win the ‘Biggest Loser’?” nibble at our brains like sneaky mice? In terms of effort, we are pushing hard against a strong wall of interruptions & distractions that are brought to us lots of times courtesy of old horns & forked tail himself (Satan).
I’m a lifelong collector of quotes to inspire me to press on when my mind & spirit want the benefit but my body isn’t willing to do the work (to use when I must drag myself out of bed for a walk or workout, to force myself to sweep & mop the floors AGAIN, and ohhowdifficult to beat my body into submission to take down & pack up that Christmas tree). So I have an arsenal, just ask me. They apply to any kind of work & can help us kick ourselves into gear to GET PRAYIN’!
- “Take a new grip with your tired hands; stand firm on your shaky legs.” Hebrews 12:12.
- “To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.” Shakespeare
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed . . . ” II Timothy 2:15
- “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” either Joe Kennedy or Knute Rockne (um, huh?)
- “Therefore we do not lose heart. . .for our light & momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” II Corinthians 4:16
- “The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, ‘If we’re going to charge $10 an hour, we can’t call it jumping up and down.’” Rita Rudner (I know, off topic, but isn’t she funny?)
For every time we get up a little earlier, turn off the tv for a while, or turn the car toward Wednesday night prayer time instead of home – the reward is so sweet. God meets us. He’s there WAITING for us to talk to Him. Sometimes that picture alone is such strong motivation. Imagine the Prodigal Son picture, where the father passes by the window countless times per day, shading his eyes from the sun to look down the road. He just wants to be with the boy he loves so much & won’t give up waiting, though everyone else says the boy is no good & will never be back. To think of the hyperginormouscollosalness of all my Father has given me & He’s waiting there for me to talk to Him a while. I gotta pray. How can I not?
So let’s take one step, this morning, this afternoon, this Wednesday. Let’s talk with our Father. We’re going to praise Him & thank Him & then mention some of the things we know of that are going on with people that they need help with – & we can’t help but tell Him what’s going on with us. Then tomorrow, we’ll do it again. It will get easier. We’ll have more amazing times of intimacy & growth. The work will pay off, like the runner’s strong body & the farmer’s abundant harvest.