Today I went to gather some wood for a fire and when I pulled it off the pile, sawdust fell to the ground. It was fine and dusty. My mind began to contemplate ashes. The ashes this wood would eventually become; the very truth that my own form was made from dirt and would return as ashes one way or another.
There are many verses in the bible which speak about ashes. My heart has been contemplating those that speak of prayer, desperation and sorrow. I think about the fire in my heart to burn for God, to pray with Jesus until I am left in ashes. Burnt up, giving everything I have until I am nothing. I want to be found in the ashes, having held nothing back in the firestorm of my prayers.
Like Abraham, I say, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes…” He was praying for the salvation of others.
In many prayers I ask not to settle into a seat of complacency. It should come as no surprise at my complete dissatisfaction. I do not turn myself away from others; I simply turn myself head-on into the need for more. I have no road map, just a desire to move forward on a crooked road I am assured the Lord is making straight for my path. Each time I turn left or right, my ears hear “this is the way, walk in it”.
*Isa 30:21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
* Isa 45:2a I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight
Life with Him is dangerous and I am scared. I admit it. Infatuation was the door I walked through but I just can’t leave. He has shown me a love I’ve never known. My stomach churns when I am not near Him. I feel lonely when not in His presence. Life feels empty without Him.
He wants my undivided attention and my life, but then asks me to pour it out to strangers; to everyone I meet and know? How can I do this? I am selfish and prideful. He even asks me to put my life on the line for Him; to die for Him. This is craziness in the world I exist. People say I am taken in by a spell, part of a cult.
For over two thousand years this love of Jesus has permeated society. Yes I have been captivated by this great love, and yes, even afraid I will follow Him wherever He may lead…
“Nobody does it better, makes me feel sad for the rest, nobody does it half as good as you”, just some words from an old song rumbling around in my mind after reading the news. My fingers grip the bible tighter than ever, and tears burn more than my eyes, they burn in my heart. I think about the love of Jesus and the ways he prayed for people, teaching us all how to pray when the disciples asked?
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation
but rescue us from the evil one.”
It was the words, “makes me feel sad for the rest”, that hit my heart; triggering a call to keep crying out for my family, my friends, my neighbors and yes, the lost I read about in the news. And then I remembered another part of the song, “I wasn’t looking, but somehow you found me, I tried to hide from your love light.” I am sure it was prayers that helped me be found.
My words are nothing astounding in revelation but I do hope we keep encouraging each other to pray without ceasing.
*Mat 6:7-13, Lyrics from Carly Simon, Nobody Does It Better