November 14, 2018
I’m not one for making self-empowered resolves. For me, it’s a sure recipe for disappointment. I prefer instead to make plans & then, let God direct my steps in the details. 99% of the time, any given day doesn’t go exactly as I thought it would. Usually, my timing is off, & God knows that. He sees the people, in His scope, that I didn’t consider when making my list. This perspective helps me not waste emotional energy being inflexible about things I shouldn’t be trying to control anyway. I didn’t always view life like this. Don’t get me wrong. Lists help me remember, to free my brain, & I like checking them off like anybody else. But I used to be set in my ways, & worked myself into a frenzy, to accomplish specific goals in a designated time frame.
Spiritually, I always searched for 1 specific verse to pray for my family annually. Don’t ask me where I came up with this formal requirement. Probably an article or a book or a Bible study. I’m not saying praying a verse, for a year, is wrong. It’s just that I had turned the search into legalism. One day, the good Lord surprised me with a verse that changed my life, let alone that year. I was doing my daily reading in Luke 24 when it hit me…stopping me in my tracks. You know, that feeling when all the lights turn on in your head, & you put something together that you never saw before. It was so simple that it was phenomenal! Because it was clearly meant for me in that moment -- to change my thinking.
Jesus was speaking to His disciples after His resurrection, proving/showing them that He was Who He said He was. Like most of us, they were skeptical, startled, & afraid at this initial revelation. My Bible highlights His words in red. It caught my attention because right in the middle of verses 44-49, is verse 45 in black. It states, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” That might not trip your spiritual trigger, but it was hard-hitting to my soul. Right then & there, I knew this verse would forever, on earth, be significant in my spiritual walk. I prayed, “Lord, you did it for the disciples. You can do it for me too. Please open my mind to understand the Scriptures.” I highlighted the verse & wrote “My prayer” in the margin.
I’ve been praying that prayer for almost 20 years. I’ve never asked for another verse to pray, because God has answered that prayer over & over & over! I’ve always loved the Word. I grew up with Bible reading & Bible stories from a children’s book I have to this day. I like to read…period. But truly, this long-ago prayed prayer, continues to change my life. It’s God’s work for certain & I can’t lay claim to understanding it from a human standpoint. But from that day forward, the Scriptures became alive to me, in a completely new way. And I continue to have an increasing intimacy with the Lord, through His Truth-bearing Words. It never ends, this side of heaven, but is ever-expanding & increasing.
The only way I know to explain it is stated clearly in 1 Corinthians 2:11-16. When you are saved by grace, the Holy Spirit indwells you. The Bible is God’s infallible Truth, guaranteed to change us, literally, by the renewing of our minds. When believers read it, the Holy Spirit IN us, bears witness TO the Truth. We can’t purpose to do the changing. It’s a supernatural working in our souls. No 1-2-3 “how to” formula. You know it when it happens. The Bible is a never-ending treasure of Truth, sanctifying us on the journey toward Home. Presently, we are a work in progress & no matter how old we are, we will never outgrow our need for daily mercy & grace. When I read the Bible, I ask God to show me Himself so that I can experience a new level of understanding relationally. (My opinion: Any reading we do should bear witness to the Truth or it’s probably not worth our time & efforts. Specifically-- don’t purposely fill your mind with information that opposes God’s character.) I read until my soul is satisfied & refreshed. I call the moments of God ministering to me, my “ah-ha” moments. Although that exchange is quite indescribable, you recognize His presence.
This long-ago prayer, that changed everything, also helped me realize that you can be confident you are praying God’s will when you pray Scripture. Some foundational verses I pray for family, & others, besides Luke 24:45, are Luke 18:1, 2 Thess 3:5, & 3:16…for starters. I pray for understanding, wisdom, protection, humility, & that we wouldn’t be stumbling blocks to children, in both the literal & figurative sense. Psalms & Proverbs are rich with Truth & comfort to pray over people. There is a peace, rest, renewal, teaching, & oftentimes, a great conviction when the Truth is voiced with your lips in prayer. It has been a joyous, wonderful discovery in my quiet times to be surprised by the Lord with new applications to seemingly old, familiar verses. I hope & pray you will seek Him first, in the Word, for yourself. Then, give the Truth (Jesus) away. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you (& me) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” AMEN!
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