East to West

Eight friends and I returned from the Far East today after more than a week of rich ministry and testifying to the glory and grace of God. I entered the trip in a better place than my last international venture, but I think I was still walking mostly in my own strength. I wrestled with God’s independent, active, passionate movement among the nations, and at the same time, His passionate response to the prayers of His people. How does His sovereignty interface with the prayers of His people, of which He says they avail much when fervent (James 5:16)?

Day by day He broke my heart. Sometimes my Father softened it through the love of the local church shining in such a dark place. At other moments, what worked on the knots in my heart was my teammate who prayed for God to surprise her and believed that He would. Still more, my precious Lord opened my heart as we patiently waited on Him to awaken dead lives with the gospel…and then saw Him do it! I struggled with distractions that I thought would tarnish my memory of the trip, but now see that God was humbling me there, too.

My prayer and journalling have changed. They are united many times now, which breathes new life into scribing what had become mere recitation of events. And they are personal. I beseech my Father in a way that still feels unsure and yet vulnerable and authentic at the same time. I have asked Him to surprise me, to move in my life in ways that I know are undeniably Him, and I see it. Let the little children come to Him, Jesus said (Matthew 19:14). Daddy, I come. I don’t deserve anything You might grace me with, but if I may, Father, please continue what You have begun. Jesus, send me as You did Your disciples. Spirit, melt my heart unceasingly and instill in me Your words wrapped in humility.

Tomorrow and even tonight, the world will try to retake my attention. It will fight against my prayer to my Father. It will raise up urgencies which are nothing on the eternal scale. And it will try to suppress the glory of my Father which He has given me to reflect. Lord, You have said that Your Spirit within me is greater than the adversary in this world (1 John 4:4), and that I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37). I pray for my brothers and sisters who returned today, too. Stoke the fire You kindled within us. Encourage them. Wrap them in Your love. May we seek Your face and Your presence above all else. You are precious, Lord. We are Your children and we love You.

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