Friday, September 21, 2012

What did you say? I was too busy talking.


When it comes to my Spiritual life, it's amazing how ritual, legalism, rules, check boxes, religious behaviors, required actions, all start creeping in as things become routine. Being transformed starts to take a back seat to being informed. Information gained from the Scriptures starts taking priority over letting myself be transformed by Them and His amazing handiwork.

Don't misunderstand me, information is great, how could I say otherwise. The Scriptures are there [to some extent] to inform us indeed. After all, it's one of the ways He speaks to us. However, I began to take my current Bible reading plan and turn it into a check box. Is this an issue for everyone who has a reading plan? No. However for me it is at times. I decided to stop bouncing across books just to make sure I kept up with my plan and simply pick a spot, and start reading. I ended up in Nehemiah. Why Nehemiah? Ask Jesus, all I know is I was prompted to start there.

However upon starting, I was immediately drawn in by Nehemiah's prayer. Prayer has been on my heart lately for multiple reasons, and when I read that first chapter it reminds me of how beautiful, powerful, and very serious prayer is to His people.

Nehemiah, after receiving some difficult news, begins his prayer with weeping, mourning, and fasting. Before Scripture reveals the specifics of his prayer, he does this "for days". Some may say it was simply a time to cry and mourn, I sense that he needed (and wanted) to get his heart right before he presented his requests at the throne. I sense that "for days" when he was praying, he wasn't speaking, but listening.

The prayer continues with some beautiful passages. He wanted to stand in the gap and ask for forgiveness not just for himself, but for all of Israel. He recognizes and calls on God's promise, something that speaks of beautiful confidence in a Holy, but very personal and loving God.

However, I still reflect back to the days of fasting and prayer. I truly think he was listening, and waiting on God. Something that in the rush of "reading for information" I seem to need right now too, just some quiet time with him. Perhaps my prayers "for some days to come" should be spent simply listening, not talking.

His,
~Matthew

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