One day I am going to write a book called something like Experiments in Prayer ~ because that's pretty much how my prayer life goes. It's just one long experiment.
And every so often God ups the anti.
I went for a long time when I didn't get prayer. Seriously, I couldn't imagine God wanting to listen to a long dull list of grubby little sins & an equally long dull list of all the things I wanted Him to do for me. Surely He had better things to do, running the world & all.
I am seriously grateful to the Quaker tradition. From it I learnt something that changed my life, changed my whole attitude to prayer, revolutionized the way I thought about prayer & what I thought I was doing. I learnt it was possible to rest in His presence. Nothing else. I didn't have to say a word. I didn't have to feel guilty for all the things I should have done but hadn't, nor yet for all the things I'd done that I wished I hadn't. I think it's why I love this song so much. In His presence everything else dwindles to insignificance & from His presence true prayer rises up unbidden: prayers of love & adoration; prayers of supplication & intercession; prayers of gratitude.
When I began preaching prayer was my lifeline. My prayer has always been What do you want me to say to your people? I've got pretty het when God's been a little slow by my reckoning on giving me His answer but He's never failed to come through.
And with so many Christians in the house I sort of took it for granted that everyone had a different gift mix: Liddy, evangelist/missionary; Dearest Intercessor/administrator; Dino, evangelist/....?[I don't want to say yet because even Dino doesn't have the fullness of this picture yet!]; Me ~ well, I'm the visionary. The rest try hard to keep my feet partially on the ground but you know how it is....
I don't like stepping on other people's lines. I don't like crossing boundaries. I don't like poaching on another's *territory*. Consequentially I know very little about lots of things that fall outside my gift mix. That includes prayer. I know about resting in His presence. I know about the Prayer of Tears. I know about getting Words of Knowledge & something of the prophetic but intercession has always been Dearest's bunny. It is a rare gift for a man. Nearly all the intercessors I know are women & because of that I think the gift works differently for Dearest than it does for women. Just my thinks. I could be wrong. I often am. And it's pretty much why I've never wanted this particular gift. I'd heard the stories.
Anyway [yes, this long rambling post does have a point] last Sunday night I shut down the house, collected my cats & headed up the stairs to bed. It was pretty late because it had been a biggish day & I was still pretty wired, still sensing the anointing from church, & I was pretty sure I was going to have trouble sleeping so I wanted to be sure my body was screaming for rest ~ which I can assure you it was! ☺
And the Spirit started at me!
Ok. Not happy, Jan, but if you want me to pray then pray I will. Not that He cared to fill me in about what I was to pray for but the sense of urgency grew & grew. If you are an experienced intercessor you will have twigged what was going on but I'm not & I didn't. I fumbled round & fumbled round all the while a growing sense of urgency & desperation blossomed.
The next thing the thrum of a helicopter began ~ a not unusual occurrence as medical helicopters are used regularly to airlift patients to hospital but this was the heavy woomp~woomp~woomp of the big Search & Rescue helicopters & I knew whatever I was praying for was to do with the helicopter. A little while later it came straight overhead, ,just skimming the treetops, both search lights blazing across the sky & began the methodical quartering of the terrain that means they are looking for something ~ or someone..
I continued to pray for maybe another 3/4 of an hour then as suddenly as it began the sense of urgency stopped. I rolled over & went to sleep.
This is what I was praying for. It has distressed me no end. And yet how much God cared for this man ~ enough to make sure there were people praying for him as he headed into eternity because I'm sure I wasn't the only one. God has more sense than that. I need to let it go but the image of drifting across a dark ocean in a still sea while hope dwindles, is finally snuffed out, & letting go to sink beneath the waves is doing my head in. Still.