Thursday, January 20, 2011
Standing in the gap
3:04 p.m. Today's project was to plant the iris and amaryllis bulbs given to us by our daughter's fiance Pavel, whose family are major gardeners. After calling for some quick instructions, I had Steve use his post-hole digger and make the holes I needed.
The area I've wanted to beautify is the slope on the side of our front yard. The year my mother died, I had planted a fern and shade garden there with lilies of different kinds, a soothing place to pray after my daily visits to her bedside at Loma Linda University Medical Center. The next year, a massive auto-truck collision broke down our wall, knocked down two trees, and destroyed my garden. No one was hurt, praise the Lord, but it sure was strange to see a huge truck in the front yard...even the cops were taking pictures on their cellphones!
Today, I wanted the flowers to be about a foot apart, in a zigzag pattern on the lower part of the slope. It was important, Pavel said, to leave at least a 1 foot gap between the bulbs, because they'll spread and multiply over the years. That's a good thing for flowers, but gaps are not acceptable when it comes to prayer and ministry to the Lord!
There's been a quiet strain of thought--or more accurately, conviction--going on in my mind over the last month, especially since I finished reading a Christmas gift from my son Steven, The Purple Pig and Other Miracles by Dick Eastman, that chronicles the beginning of 24/7 prayer ministries throughout the globe: worldwide house-to-house evangelism by Every Home for Christ; the International House of Prayer in Kansas City; the Call, the annual youth prayer gathering in Sacramento; the Day of Prayer May 23rd; and Youth with a Mission, that takes young people across the seas with the gospel.
Before that, I had been inspired by a speaker who came to the high school group where Steven is a leader at the People's Church in Fresno, Marta Escarcega, who taught the students about intercessory prayer. The warriors of the Seven Mountain Worship Intercession Network keep the Central Valley covered in prayer in homes and on the streets of the city. I had the privilege of sitting in on one of her sessions while visiting Steven's church, and learned quite a bit.
Last night, while Steve and I were enjoying worship and Bible studies on God TV, I texted Steven to ask if the Saturday night prayer meeting he started on the Fresno Pacific campus was inspired by Purple Pig, and if it led to asking the Lord a contemporary version of "What wilt thou have me to do?" as Saul of Tarsus asked the risen Jesus on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:6). Yes, he answered, and now they have added worship with the prayers, sometimes with instruments, sometimes not. I texted him back that I am now asking God the same question.
I definitely know that I don't commit enough time to focused intercession--that's a sorry fact. My tendency is to share, preach, teach and write about God's Word. As a people person, I thrive on ministry to my sisters and serving wherever asked at church. However, even though each believer has specific gifts from the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 12), we are ALL commanded to pray for one another for healing (James 5:16), for victory in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:18) and to pray for the furtherance of the gospel (2 Corinthians 1:11). How many prayer meetings have I attended lately?! None. Lord, forgive me for not making the effort!
Today on Facebook, Steven posted Ezekiel 22:30:
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.
He followed with a question: "Who will stand in the gap?"
I want to say to God, "Send me! Use me to pray, seriously commit to prayer in any way You desire and design!" but I feel nervous and uneasy, concerned about more time away from my husband in his time of need, gas money, etc. etc., a pile of excuses and lame ones at that. I can commit to prayer time right here at home; Steve and I can pray more together to start with. And God can lead in any direction He chooses, that's the best part--assuring, yet a bit scary.
Will the gap widen or shrink? We believers must each ask what our part is to be in the ministry of intercession.