We’re doing the “Strong Challenge” that Crossroads church in Cincinnati started, along with about 50,000 other people, in one of our small groups. This week, we were supposed to focus on prayer. If you click on the above link and watch Brian Tome, you’ll hear some of the most powerful information about prayer I’ve ever heard. It’s remarkable and well worth the 40 minutes of your time – seriously, it could change your life – and I don’t say that about many things.
If we both had about 4 hours, I would share with you all that God has done in the last two weeks because of prayer and how it connected to the challenge. J Anyway, as I was reading Proverbs 24:3-4 this morning, By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures, I thought of how I responded to the Strong challenge yesterday and today.
We were supposed to write a prayer letter, laying out all the dreams God has given us.
My letter was very simple and about two sentences.
I want basically two things: healthy relationships with those in my life, and my will to align with God’s.
I wrote the letter yesterday, praying for these two simple things.
Then, I asked Him to reveal the dreams He had for me that I didn’t already know about.
I got nothin’.
He was silent.
And that made me really happy. J
And today, when I looked at the small prayer on the page, my heart overflowed with gratitude.
I have known this before, but today, I realized on a new, deeper level that left me in tears that the “rare and beautiful treasures” that are in my house are my kids and my husband. There were also treasures outside my home, my precious friends, many of whom I do ministry with, and the Spirit connected the dots for me of a few recent events…
Last night, I spoke to a parenting class on “Effective Communication.” The primary point of my talk was to “be a good listener,” and what all that entailed, mostly being someone that wasn’t listening with one’s own thoughts going or what we were going to say next, but rather with a heart of trying to understand the other person’s communication. To listen with our eyes, ears, and heart.
When I was getting ready for my talk, while driving two teenage boys around, I took the opportunity to ask these captive test subjects two young men what they thought I should talk about. Both of them responded immediately.
“Tell parents not to freak out about everything – especially ‘little’ stuff, because then it makes us not want to share anything, because we think our parents can’t handle it,” came one reply.
The verse which demonstrates the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit of self-control came to mind: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and even slower to become angry. James 1:19. Research shows this applies also to good news – they don’t want us to be overly emotional about anything – mainly because they are overly emotional about nearly everything, and they want someone in the house to have some control. And if we’re not deeply connected to God, we won’t bear this fruit of His Spirit. Who else will model this stuff for them?
The other teen’s response didn’t surprise me, either. “Don’t find time for us only when there’s a problem. If all parents do is make relationship happen when things are a mess, we don’t trust them.”
Smart “kids.” The more I know teenagers, the more I like them. J
Their thoughts apply to adults, like spouses, too.
Dare you today to read Proverbs 24 for yourself, prayerfully asking Him to speak to you, then STOP and LISTEN… and see what He will reveal to you. It’s GREAT. J God will reveal Truth to us, encourage us, and a plethora of other things if we’ll stop treating Him like the Wendy’s drive through window voice. Prayer contains listening – it’s communication with God. Dare you. J It changes everything.
Double-dog-dare you to share, comment, and “subscribe,” via the little box above. Maybe God has someone on your heart right now who needs to hear His Truth? Please know
we promise to never give out your email address to anyone. Ever.
Triple-dog-dare you to join us in Indianapolis on the 4th and 5th of November at the Greencastle Church Women’s Retreat! Sounds like a tremendously fun weekend of tank filling – more information here: Respect Dare Retreat. This is one of the few “open” events we do during the year. Thanks to Greencastle Church for making it open! J
But what I really want to encourage you to do today is find 40 minutes where you can listen to the Strong Challenge link in the first sentence above. Do something else while listening/watching if you have to, but give it a play.
So thankful to be on the journey with you,