I Quit My Job

I look over at my alarm clock and groan.  It’s numbers glared malevolently across the room.  “You’ve got to be kidding me, Lord!”

During a week of silent prayer at Gohop we laid down our present mode of operations before the Lord and waited for new instructions for the new season.  We didn’t want to transplant what we had been doing at the old location, but rather participate in what we saw the Father doing in Waterdown.

“More than the watchmen waits for dawn – my soul waits for you to come,” Hmmm, there it was again.  I had sensed a gentle invitation to the morning watch – coming out to the House of Prayer in the wee hours to commune with God and to pray for the community.  I asked the Lord – should I do five days a week?  The Still Small Voice responded.  Seven.

Seven?

Every day?  What about my days off?

Waitaminit!  Since when had worshipping/praying/seeking the Lord become a job?

Mike Bickle, from the House of Prayer in Kansas City calls it a “professional spirit”.  When communion becomes duty.  When the House of Prayer becomes something you do rather than something you are.  I knew I had it when I went to the cottage for two weeks and took “time off” prayer, meditation, and the word.  What is that?

I knew what I had to do.

Well, repent, to begin with.

Then I quit my job.

And began a lifestyle of seeking, gazing, beholding.  Seven days a week.

Sounds glamorous and deeply spiritual (can you see my halo?), but easier said than done.  Sighing, I rise from my bed and shuffle to the bathroom.  Your mercies are new every morning – and I’m sure going to need them!

Heads Up Gideon! From Surviving to Thriving

I don’t know about the rest of you all, but I’ve had a couple rough years.  Life on the front lines of the prayer movement can feel like being a squirrel accidentally let loose in a bumper car ring, hopping this way and that, hoping not to get creamed.  I’m fighting the good fight and moving forward, but I’ve learned to answer people’s queries “how’s life?” with the response, “I’m having lots of opportunities for spiritual growth,” sometimes accompanied by a wobbly smile.

Maybe that’s why I relate to Gideon.  There he is, hiding out, trying to salvage some dinner for his family in the context of unrelenting warfare.  Definitely in survival mode, keeping his head down.

I love God’s recipe for restoration.  Firstly, He dollops the whole conversation with assurances of His presence “The Lord is with you”.  At the front end, he adds a dash of identity, calling this down and outer a mighty warrior.  Has God been calling you names lately?  He’s not trying to be mean, rubbing it in, or making fun of you.  He’s just calling you forth.

You’re all probably much more spiritually mature than I am, but I can really relate to Gideon’s faith filled response “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”

I love how God deals with Gideon’s whys and whining.

He doesn’t.  He completely ignores it.  Just pretends He doesn’t hear, and then tells Gideon what He wants him to do.

Go in the strength that you have.  Let me translate that into Alcoholics Anonymous lingo.  “ Just suit up and show up.”  Just show up.  Cause you know what?  It’s not about you, anyhow!

Ouch!

I had a mentor once who saw clearly through my youthful self-centeredness in life and ministry (It’s all about me, Jesus, for my glory and my fame!) and told me, sometimes many times a day.  “ It’s not about YOU, Jill.”

It’s not about us.  It’s about God, and what He intends to do.  It’s about His presence, His purposes.  It’s about just showing up for the game.  “Put yourself into the path of oncoming grace,” another mentor would often say.

So be encouraged, Mighty Warriors, hiding out with your heads down.  The Lord is with you.  Just go in the strength that you have, and watch to see what God does with your itty bitty acts of obedience.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Praying Granny

I was surrounded.

Flowered frocks, thickened ankles, grey heads dipped in reverence.
One raised her hand, eyes tearing over, voice wavering.  “I really think we need to pray for the younger women these days.  I can’t believe the things they are allowing to be done to themselves. I’m not sure how we should do it, but we need to pray!”
Aged heads nodded around the room, wrinkled fingers clutching Bibles.

I was in the granny zone, the only woman under 50 (well under, I’ll have you know) in the room.  And I realized that for this prayer meeting, the Lord had called out the BIG GUNS.

Perhaps Paul was beginning to feel the aches and pains of age – maybe the Mediterranean air was making his joints throb when he said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day,” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Outwardly logging high on the body odometer, but inwardly stronger, larger, more expansive in the spirit.  These ladies were smallish on the outside, but BIG on the inside.

Maybe it’s because after years of expending their own natural resources and getting tired, they have discovered the wisdom of reaching for the resources of heaven.  Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with age and experience.  Maybe it’s the dogged determination, longsuffering and endurance that one attains when the music of life doesn’t resolve, but lingers in dissonance?

Do you have a praying granny in your life?  The fact you are presently walking with God is a likely indicator that you do, or did.  As we till the ground of our region in prayer, we are ever reminded of the ones who have gone before us, whose hidden tears have softened the soil of our hearts and our cities.

If you don’t, then go adopt one.  Our churches are full of them.  And often they feel forgotten, useless, overlooked, like they are past their “best before date” as it pertains to their contribution to the Kingdom.  Visit her. Take her a package of tea, and some shortbread, or maybe some hyacinths.

And ask her to pray for you.  Trust me – you’ll be glad you did.

Stirred Not Shaken

Stirred Not Shaken

11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.

12 The LORD alone led him;

~ Deut. 32:11-12

We knew that change was in the air.  For a long time we had a sense of “divine dissatisfaction” with the status quo here at Gohop.  Crossroads has been extremely generous towards us, providing free rent for eight years, letting us have free run of the building.  We have been so well taken care of and so comfortable, and we are deeply grateful for their contribution towards the prayer movement.  However, about a year ago, the Lord began to communicate to us that a time would come when He would take us out of our comfort zones.

That time is now.

Due to increased usage of the studio space directly beside the prayer room, we will be unable to continue corporate prayer in that location.  For the time being our office will remain at Crossroads, and the prayer room will continue to be available 24/7 for quiet prayer.  However, our corporate prayer times are moving to another location – the Youth Unlimited House at 273 Parkside Drive (Parkside and Hamilton Street North, in Waterdown).

When an eagle’s young begin to mature, at about three months, the mother eagle begins to “stir up the nest”.  The grass, moss and feathers that lined the eaglet’s home are removed.  Food is withheld, or held just out of reach, to encourage the young to expand their borders.  When the time comes, the eaglets are nudged to the nest’s edge and encouraged to hop from nest to limb (or rock) and back again.  And often, the parents just heft the babies out!  God has stirred up our nest, and we’re testing our wings.

This last year, as we talked about the transition we were sensing, the word picture we got was that of an incubator.  In a sense, Crossroads has been an incubator for us, providing us a place of safety and security, so that we could grow and mature to the place where viability outside the womb (or nest) was possible.

So are we shaken?  No.  The wonderful thing about being an intercessor is that often you get a sense of what will unfold before it happens.  Are we stirred?  Yes.  Transition is exciting, and we are eager to see what God has up His sleeve for us in our new location.