Originally published 21 July 2010 as A Just Prayer Night. It’s funny to look back because He has changed my heart substantially since and I would much rather worship in the basement than in a megachurch. Enjoy!
This past weekend a group I am apart of had a prayer/ worship/ intercession night. It has been a long while since I was a part of one of those nights.
It has been about 7 years and as such it was very awkward at the beginning.
What seemed like almost instantly, my buddy was making an amazing chalk drawing, a couple were leading/ playing worship music, another friend was painting and drawing and I was…well I was distracted.
So I started writing and this is what happened. I only edited a little bit of this because the rawness of what became a prayer is what makes it whatever it is…Also I cuss when I pray. Please don’t let me offend you.
Is it bad that I expect more? That I always want more of You, God? Not more of You more from You really…Or is it just that I want to be entertained? Can I worship in a basement with two unrehearsed instruments? Or do I need the lights, sound systems and 10 piece band? Can I connect in the noise and movement of artists? Or do I more desire the world renowned conference speaker?
What if I need silence?
What if I need anonymity?
What if I need to be hidden?
Am I ready to be exposed again? For what I really want and believe? Or broken again? Crying like an injured toddler…again? Humble…again?
I am not who I was… I am not the humble guy. I am proud. Like really superiorly proud. I mean, You know, Life is good. I am better than some people, well… a lot of people. But is it any fault of my own? Was it my work or plan, my sweat or blood? Did I do it?
I was given what I did not deserve. The car(s). The job(s). The house(s). The home(s). Community(s). Friends(s). Money. Resources. A country of rights. Freedom. A dominant skin color.
Did I choose to be born a middle class white kid? Did I reject the assignment to be born in the utter poverty of beautimus Nepal? Was there some auction with a papa and a mama bidding for me…like some hard working slave?
Did I pick an earthly father that gave his life for my needs and comforts? Who sacrificed so I could have all I needed and most of what I wanted? For a sister that threatened mortal violence if I fucked up my life anymore?
Was it my choice to be loved by random, beautiful, smart friends who listened, encouraged and gave their paychecks, time, and energy so I can have? So I can live… learn… love… and lose.
Was it my plan to experience great losses and learn from them? To be uprooted? Broken apart? My heart ripped from my chest when my father no longer responded to my cries? When friends lost loved ones and jobs and possessions and their very lives…
How can I take credit for these? And yet I expect to change YOUR world…
Father. Show me how to care for the lost. The broken. The hurt. The destitute and dying. The forgotten. The invisible. Proclaiming good news to the poor. The physically and spiritually deficient. Freedom for prisoners of addictions, abuse, circumstances, pasts. Renewed Sight for the blinded. Blinded by greed, gluttony, legalism, liberalism, and releasing the oppressed. And proclaiming your favor on earth as it is in heaven. inspired by Isaiah 61– read it!
Not waiting lazily and patiently for a sword spitting savior on a white stallion. But looking today (!) for your sons and daughters who are oppressed. Seeking out my near and distant neighbors too heavily burdened to lift their eyes to you. Witnessing and acting on the need for flava enhancing and brightness on the bus, block, and boulevard.
Realizing my silence and lack of action continually blinds those I am corporately blinded from. That my indifference imprisons those who slave over hot conveyor belts. My desire for comfort leads to 30 men sleeping on mats in a single bedroom in Ipoh Malaysia… A plane ride, stolen passport and an incurable debt away from their beloved family. But it’s so far away now and yet somehow still too close for comfort. How are we to live in a global culture and economy and still love all our neighbors?
Lord, show me how to change my heart for this city. That I would be wise not ignorant. I would be brave not in fear of man. That I would be willing to risk instead of searching out comfort. Let my mouth open to the injustices and disparities between races, sexes, wealth, happiness, equality, peace and even patience of fellow humans.
Let my mind be ready to defend violence with love.
Hate with love.
God, you redefined love as the world knew it. You sacrificed when you could have restarted the game. You were patient when your creation was demanding instant gratification. You showed mercy when punishment was deserved. You allowed a kingdom to sprout when a dictatorship was needed and a democracy when a monarchical kingdom would have been more effective.
My cry is to live in that love you so graciously gave. And I would share no… Be the love to this broken, hurting, clusterfuck of a world.
Thank you for listening Lord. May I continue to long for and praise you when my days are short and experiences long…