Thursday, April 07, 2005

"It's just a spirit thing, it's like a holy nudge..."

Something that has been driven home to me lately is the importance of prayer, especially when you don't know why. I can say that I have been praying for you, either by name or by thought. I say this, not because I want you to think I'm somehow holy or important (so much the opposite), but because I want you to realize that we are community, and that as community, we have a responsibility to each other. Sometimes, in my quiet moments, God brings you to mind, and I feel led to pray for you. Some of you have shared as much with me.

What's amazing and intimidating is that we don't know how the Spirit works through these things. I'm slowly learning that there is no such thing as chance in the life of the believer. Everything--everything--is invested with meaning. And in prayer, this couldn't be more true. You don't know what your brothers and sisters are going through, you don't know what's in their heart, and yet the Spirit compels you to fumble through a prayer for them: "I don't know what's happening with them, Father, but give them strength and a sense of your presence."

I often don't know what to say when this happens. I just begin speaking, and I trust that what I say is what I'm supposed to say. What needs to be said. These impromptu intercessions take turns I don't expect, often. I'll sit back and say, "now what possessed me to pray about that in particular?" But I already know the answer: the Spirit of God possessed me--or, if you prefer a less eerie term, the Spirit "moved within me."

(From the outside of faith, I can only imagine how bizarre and senseless this sounds. I'm sure that if a friend in this group read my words, they'd either be bemused or creeped out. If they don't think it's ludicrous or foolish, they might think it's scary. If you're in this category, my friends, all I can tell you is that it's neither. It's really...comforting. Because you realize that even when you're alone, you're not alone. Maybe all of this is mass psychosis, sure. I can't guarantee you that any of this God stuff isn't some kind of psychological self-delusion. But I have peace and direction. I'm okay with that.)

All of this circuitous prose to say, pray for your friends. Pray for your family. If, in your closet, the Spirit of God brings certain people to mind, randomly, and provokes you to pray for them, don't for a moment question it. Instead, simply allow yourself to be moved. To be moved through. To become part of the divine mechanism of God's interaction with man.

What this requires, though, is that you are open to the Spirit's voice. That you're not calloused or blinded to His pull. This puts the idea of sin in a new light. Sin causes separation from God. Even as believers, sin puts up barriers between us and the Father. Paul talks about walking according to the flesh; I believe this is something we can fall back into, even after we've been redeemed. So, if this is true, and we can "lose the signal" so to speak, this can have a ripple effect. If we are part of God's will, through our prayers for "the saints" and our good works for others, and we are not fulfilling these roles, then these "secret sins" that we think hurt no one actually hurt many, by depriving them of our participation. Not to say that God can't use someone else in our place, but there's no guarantee that He will.

So. Pray for other believers. Pray for old friends. And when the Spirit pulls, yield. Listen. Obey. Don't question or look for reasoning. He Who Sees knows what is needed. He will give you the words to say.

It's hard to explain, this dance we do with the Spirit of God. But then again, some of the greatest truths of existence are hard to explain.

(Brown-Bag Poetry, coming up later.)

No comments: