Could it be?

could it be?

Could it be that God still speaks from time to time?

Could it be that though the Divine can seem silent when the world screams with pain, perhaps there is more going on than we can hear?

Could it be that an infinite God, a fractured world, and a breathtaking people blend into confusing patterns of Presence and Absence? Could it be that this is part of the wonder of living as a human being?

Could it be that it wasn't just my voice I heard in my head as I walked along in prayer? Could it have been the actual voice of an actual God, telling me I was not alone? Could it be that if I suspend my disbelief for just a little while, I might laugh with the joy of delight?

Could it be that I do not have to understand God's engagement with the world in order to experience God's care for me? Could it be that God's presence can be ridiculously obvious when I am aware enough to notice?

Could it be that Jesus is asking me, "What do you want me to do for you?" just as He asked blind Bartimaeus? Could it be that God wants me to know the answer to that question so I can hear the invitation in it to live more fully? Could it be that this is what God's calling on our lives is really all about?

Could it be that God still speaks from time to time?

Could it be that the answer is yes for me?

Could it be that the answer is yes for you?

 

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Will you kiss it?

It was a church service focused around God's deep and unconditional love for us. There were beautiful songs of worship. There was a message was on John 15, "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." There was a touching reading of Sarah Bessey's piece, "You're already so loved."

Then, there was a time of silence. It was in that space of quiet that Love came alive to me.

In the silence I heard a small voice in the back of the room plead, "Mommy, will you kiss it?" 

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It's difficult to know how to pray when it comes to our own lives.

It can be easier, in some ways, to pray for the illnesses of others or the brokenness of the world. We can see from the outside how things are not the way they are supposed to be. We can love others as we lift them up to God.

Loving ourselves through prayer is much more complicated. It's easy to worry about being selfish or narrow-minded. What do we ask for if God already knows what we need? Aren't we asked to be patient and dependent? Shouldn't we just pray "Your will be done" over and over again?

Maybe. If that's really how we feel. Often, though, prayers like that aren't from the honesty of our own heart, but from a perception of what God is like and what God expects us to be like. 

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Daddy, will you kiss it?

"Daddy, will you kiss it?" 

It is our uncertainty about God's answer to that question that holds us back in our prayers. In so many ways, it's what we really want to know.

God, will you pause what you are doing, come down to my level, look in my eyes, and acknowledge my pain? Will you honor my requests, whether lofty or silly, with gentleness and compassion? Will you hold me in your arms, and tell me it's going to be okay? Even if the actual healing will take time and work, will you give me strength by kissing my soul with your love?

Daddy, sometimes the tender places aren't where I have already tumbled, but where I fear I might fall if I try. My hopes and dreams are aching for reassurance. Will you kiss those too? Will you run beside my bike without training wheels, holding the seat until I am ready for you to let go? Will you cheer me on? If I fall, will you help me get back up? If I get lost, will you show me the way?

God, do you love me like a good Daddy and a good Mommy? 

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In the silence, I heard a child ask, "Will you kiss it?"

In my heart, I heard the voice of God whisper "Yes." 

In my soul, I felt a tender kiss.

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When I Don't Know How to Pray

Sometimes I struggle to pray for other people. Not because I don't want to, but becasue I don't know how. 

Why would I presume to know what someone else really needs? People ask for prayers for tensions to be resolved or pains to be healed, but what if God is working in their lives in the midst of the difficulties? Should I really pray for that to be cut short? 

Not only that, there's the risk. What if I pray for something for someone, and it doesn't happen? Does knowing I prayed for them simply add to their disappointment in the God they thought would provide? 

How do we even begin to pray for the complicated relationships of the world system? What do we know about how to solve intertwined oppressions of war, poverty, slavery, oppression, and terrorism that God wouldn't already know or long for? What could my prayers add?

As if staring at a blinking cursor with an approaching deadline, I freeze, wondering what should come after a name or a situation in my prayers. 

Subconsciously, I think this is why I forget to pray for other somtimes. I want to avoid the awkward fumbling for words that will surely follow. 

I may have found a word that can unlock this for me. A word that can authentically and deeply pray for another person, and for the world, without presuming to know what is actually best. It is a word that simply asks God to do what God does- to heal, restore, and make whole. 

Shalom. 

Shalom is the Hebrew word often translated as peace, but it is so much more than the way we view the word peace. Shalom means wholeness, friendship, and healing. Shalom is not simply the absence of strife, it is the presence of God and His restoring love. 

Shalom is something we need a lot more of, individually and globally. Shalom is the word I am chosing to pray. 

Loving God, bring Your shalom to us.  

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