Saturday, August 17, 2013

Prayer and the Moment of Rescue (Prayer Summer)

Recently I heard from a friend who is doing Prayer Summer with me. While taking their hour of prayer God confronted them with some unrighteous behavior they were engaging in. This broke their heart.

As I heard this I found myself thinking, "This is good. Thank you, God, for doing this for my friends!"

Then I remembered an old television commercial for "Mennen Skin Bracer" after shave. It showed a man in a bathroom, looking into the mirror. He'd just finished shaving, took a bottle of Aqua Velva, poured some on both palms, and splashed it onto his face. As he did this a hand came out of the mirror and slapped his freshly anointed cheeks. The man said, "Thanks, I needed that!" That's how bracing and refreshing Aqua Velva was supposed to be. It gave the man a wake-up call.

Many times, while praying, I have had a "Thanks God, I needed that!" experience. God has pointed out something about me, something inside of me, that is spiritually diseased. When this happens I write it down in my journal in words like... "God, You have just searched out my heart and shown me something that needs to be removed." This could be pride, a bad attitude, hatred, lust, envy, covetousness, jealousy, a controlling spirit, lack of compassion, or resistance to God. A revelation of my inner garbage has often been accompanied by a sense of brokenness and grief.

In 43 years of following after Jesus God has uncovered all of these things and even more, within me. This is good. When this happens (and it will if you continue to meet one-on-one with Him) it is another "Thank You God" moment.

I've met many who fear meeting with God because of this. They are like the person who fears going to the doctor or dentist because an illness or cavity will be discovered. We need to remember that living under the illusion of health (also called "denial") is to be on a road to spiritual disaster.

While on one level we may not like being told "You are sick" because we desire to be healthy, on another level we should be very glad for the revelation of inner sickness when it is there. The revelation of inner sin-disease is always the beginning of its removal, by God. God never just shows us our failure and leaves us in that miserable place. That would be like a doctor who only diagnoses but does not cure. Whenever God shows us our failure it is always for our rescue. The revelation of personal failure is the moment of rescue.

I have found that when God shows me something inside that is not of Him it is not accompanied by condemnation. People do that; God does not. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) God comes only and ultimately to rescue us, to save us from ourselves. We may not have even thought we needed a rescue. Then, as we meet with Him for another praying hour, God-as-Great Physician identifies a spiritual cancer, operates, and bathes us with radiating, healing love. This breaks our hearts. We see that it is very good. We cry out, "Thank You God, for rescuing me!"