A candle with a purple stem was lit this past Sunday at church, symbolizing the beginning of the Advent season. This first candle is a representation of expectation and it is the hope of what is to come. This light from God, which shines in the darkness of this world, is what we wait anxiously for. The eve that is coming, when we sing praise to the newborn king, will seem like the grand finale but it is actually the beginning of something that is intimately new.
Are you ready for something new?
A new year is coming, quicker than my plans can keep pace. The calendar, finally flipped to the last page, is covered with dates, deadlines, and to-do's as Christmas Eve gets closer and closer. But, what if, in the middle of all this hustle and bustle, you and I pause to pray?
Because really, prayer is a form of adoration and what better time to gaze adoringly at the gift God so graciously gave to us? Instead of worrying about all we want and need and have left to buy, what if we took a moment to pause and say, "Jesus, you are enough for me."
When Jesus is enough for you, how does your prayer life begin to change?
So often, my prayers are about what I so desperately want out of life. Prayers for finances, futures, and family to be safe and healthy. Like Martha, I exclaim in a high pitched voice, "Lord, I need help!"
Yes, that is true. I do need help. But what I need most is to receive this incredible gift of love, that is so intimate and pure that I can cradle it tenderly in my arms. I need to look into the eyes of this love and whisper, "You are enough for me."
Is Jesus enough for you?
Before you answer yes quicker than you can think, really let this question soak into the deep places of your soul. Is Jesus enough for your family, finances, and future?
If you are hesitant of your answer, please know that you are not alone. This is the question that surfaced for me this past October as I spent 21 days in prayer. Some days my expectations were burning like the first candle of Advent, other days my hope was extinguished up in smoke. I wrestled with the longing to go deeper with my relationship with God while somewhat regretting the decision to give God everything. I lost control during the month of October but what I found was the truth of what it means to yearn for God's favor. Instead of just asking for God to bless me with the fulfillment of my plans, I came out of this prayer challenge with the realization that living in God's favor is about loving God and loving others.
When the love of Jesus is enough for you and I, we tend to love those around us in a much deeper way. Suddenly, our plans and lists and goals are almost trivial. We can't take our earthly successes with us but we can live with the promise that if we love others, we will forever be brothers and sisters in Christ. Love is what lasts in this lifetime. Nothing more, nothing else.
When the rhythm of our days moves to the pace of love, we are much kinder to those that God has given us. Gifts come in the form of people instead of performances. And as my pastor says, we begin to see that this world is messy and we all need more grace.
I don't want this conversation of prayer to end today friends. Join me in January and let's pray together for 21 days?
Over the month of December, as you celebrate and stress over the craziness of the season, think about this question, "Is Jesus enough for me?" And if your answer is "I'm not sure," I'd like to invite you to participate in your own 21 Day Prayer Challenge starting January 1st.
I'll be praying right along with you, offering you hope as your walk your own circles of prayer during the first of the year. I'm also going to invite some friends to join in the conversation with us, because I firmly believe we are better together. So go ahead and declare that the new year is going to be a new start in your prayer life.
*Because who you become is determined by how you pray.
Sign Up for the New Year 21 Day Prayer Challenge in the form below. I'm excited to see God move through each of our lives in 2015!
Till next time, let your light shine!
*Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker.