Lenten Prayer, Interrupted

February 21, 2010

CRM Lent 2010

As many of you know, our hot tub is a place of prayer for me. But saying so doesn’t mean it’s always prayerful. I often soak with no clear meditative thoughts, other than to enjoy the moment. Or I pray, but I don’t hear anything.

And then there are times like today.

For Lent this year, I am using CRM’s Lent Devotional. They’ve been good before, but something about this year’s devotional, combined with who I am this year, is creating a potent mix.

Day 2 had me with the phrase, “I knew I was going to be a missionary,” followed by the author writing about the disappointment of things not working out that way.

Day 5 (today) was written by an author serving in Japan, struggling with feeling forgotten by God. So familiar. One of the reflection questions was, “Are there any areas in ministry or prayer where you have given up?”

As I reflected on that question, I felt suddenly compelled to the hot tub, even though it had been raining. I checked and saw that there was a break in the rain, so I went out. I was barely in the water before I was praying earnestly: “Lord, I want you to use me!” I got no further in my prayer, because a surprising response cut me off:

Why do you want me to use you?
Is it so that you can feel better about yourself?
Is it to fulfill some ideal that you and Kay are “leaders with great potential,” whatever that means?
Is my love for you not enough?

Update: Kevin Rogers has taken what I shared and turned it into a meditation at The Orphan Age: Love Is Enough.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

8 responses to Lenten Prayer, Interrupted

  1. I was wondering when you would get to this.

  2. Powerful. I remember that when I was praying, pleading with God about having a second child, I heard “My love is all you need”. Hmm, can you sit with that revelation, not to do, not being ‘used’, just being loved?

  3. funny, i’ve been reading those devotionals, too, and have had the same discontent over not being “used” for the past 2 years. i literally wrote on my prayer card this week “i love hearing stories about how people are blessed by god in testimonies, but then i selfishly wonder, ‘when is it my turn?'” after many, many angry conversations with god on the topic, i think i’m learning 2 things through not being used.
    1) i’m not what i do. my worth isn’t defined by how i perform for god or others. so many pastors and ministers not only believe that, but they implicitly (and sadly, explicitly) tell their congregation that being a faithful follower of jesus means doing more. i’m leading a group of leaders dealing with emotional health and i made cards for them to carry around that say, “you can be yourself because [in light of the gospel] you have nothing left to prove” (a quote from the emotionally healthy church). i don’t know that i would have been able to say that with any integrity 2 years ago.
    2) god doesn’t want skilled people, he wants deep people. as i wait (and wait and wait) for the rain to come, my roots are forced to grow down ever deeper. in the absence of giant obvious blessings, i’m forced to look harder to see god’s work, but it’s there. god’s voice is there. i’ve spent more time with him in the past 2 years than i ever had as a church staff member. maybe i’ll never publish the many things i’ve written about my experiences in recent years. maybe i’ll never be on staff at a church again. but maybe the only thing god ever really called me to do was to walk with him.

  4. Good stuff Jon — don’t you love/hate it when He hits us with core questions like that?

  5. Noelle, get to which: blogging my meditations, or the realization?

  6. Laura, it’s a tough one, eh? Is Jesus enough? In a way, it’s an answer with many questions.

  7. Frances, I get all insecure when your comments are better than my posts! Cut it out! 😉

  8. Keith, it’s hard when God is silent… then hard when he speaks!