Unhitching from the Crazy Train Part 3
Sometimes life can feel a little bit like a crazy train ride. This eight session Bible study: Unhitching from the Crazy Train is well worth completing so you can unhitch from the roller coaster-like ride! For more articles like this, check out the Bible Studies category.
Lesson 5: Aligning Prayer
“It is clear that we are usually surrounded by so much outer noise that it is truly hard to hear our God when He is speaking to us. We often become deaf, unable to know when God calls us and unable to understand which direction He calls us. A spiritual life requires discipline, because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear. That is true prayer: being all ear for God. The core of prayer is indeed listening, obediently standing in the presence of God.” Henry Nouwen
“The great struggle of my life is not trying to discern God’s will. It is trying to discern and disown my own. Once I see that, then prayer flows.” Paul Miller, A Praying Life
Use prayer as a means of keeping company with Jesus. Stabilize when we go to the Father and repent of having other gods before him. Ecc 5:2 “Do not be quick in your heart or with your mouth to utter anything before God.”
Aligning prayer is a different method that begins with Silence. Faith shown through prayer is to step back from your picture through silence. Our picture is a small part of my overarching story. Our story is written by our Father and He says that no matter how far you or your loved ones are outside the picture, you are never ever out of the story that I wrote of your life before you were knit together in your mother’s womb. And there is NOTHING that is going to happen in this story that I have not allowed, and if I have allowed it I am going to use it for My glory and for your good.
As we step back we are remembering this. Wait in silence, remembering the two gospel tenants: 1. I am a well provided child of the king and He is going to give me everything I need at this moment. 2. I have the righteousness of Christ in me now, and I do not risk losing it or have to fight to keep it. Psalm 62:5-8 “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. Oh my people, trust Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.”
Before you pray bow quietly before God – just remember who HE is, how certainly He can and will help. Just be still before Him and allow Him to stir within your soul the childlike disposition of absolute dependence and confident expectation. Wait upon God as the Living God who notices you and is just longing to fill you with His salvation. Wait on God until you know you have met Him. Prayer will then become so different and then when you are praying, let there be intervals of silence, stillness of the soul in which you yield yourself to god, in case He may have something to teach you or work in you.
Aligning (contemplative) prayer is not meant to be a monologue but a conversation, allowing for periods of silence. As a beloved child of God, ask Him to speak to you through His Word and your heart. Do not stop asking. This is not a quick process and is work! We shift the locus of control of what we desire to Christ, and then give our submission to obey. Leaving our yoke and getting under His – asking Him to take us with Him and teach us. Examine your prayers… are you prating that God would change the attitude of your co-worker or praying for more grace to bear up under it and be able to love your co-worker?
Psalm 1:1-3 “Oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never whither, and they prosper in all they do.”
Lesson 6: Seeing Jesus in the Moment
As we take the yoke of Jesus and He instructs us through His Word and prayer, our spiritual insight is sharpened. We not only hear Him; we see Him at work in our world and inner lives. I focus my often-wandering gaze by wearing the lenses He gives me through communing with Him. The truth He reveals forms the way I view life: He is sovereign over ALL of life, and He is with me in EVERY moment of life. He is great, and He is good.
How is it then that you wait? In the moment. In the moment is where He is found. Not ahead. Matthew 6:34 “Take no thought for tomorrow for each day has enough care of its own.” Restrict your focus to today. To anticipate the future is to double your anxiety. Do not look behind. Isaiah 53:18 “Forget the former things. DO not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing. I am making my way in the dessert.” We see when we look. We look when we dare to believe that what He is saying is true. I tune my wandering gaze by wearing the lenses that Jesus gives me.
Lens 1. He is sovereign over ALL. Romans 8:28 “In ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him.” He is over ALL things including your bad choices and the sins committed against you. While He is not the author of those circumstances, He is the “allower” of them, because if He is not, then He is not sovereign. We are banking on the fact that whatever He allows into our lives regardless of how it got there, the plan of God cannot be thwarted (which does not remove you from responsibility for your sin, but it does remove you from the responsibility of your destiny and the destiny of those you love). Repent and get back in the yoke, recognizing you are not in Plan B. You are always and forever on Plan A. If you are not, then you are more powerful than God.
Lens 2. ”He will never leave nor forsake me.” Hebrews 13:5 This is the definition of blessing. This is the blessing – He will never leave nor forsake me.
Choosing to believe is putting these glasses: He is sovereign, I am loved. He is great, He is good. If you define the goodness of God based on your picture, based on what you see in front of you, you are in trouble; you are no different than any other unbeliever walking the face of the earth. What makes you DIFFERENT is that you have been GIVEN, the gift of God – the glasses by which you know who He is.
Pragmatically, the best way to stay grounded in the moment is to practice the discipline of gratitude, which Scripture commands more than 100 times. The discipline of gratitude is an essential ingredient in seeing Jesus in every moment and in discerning my role in building His kingdom rather than my own. 1Thess.5:16-18 “Give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is the will of Christ Jesus.” Thanksgiving forces us to see Jesus. When we see His gifts (mercy, love, Holy Spirit) we are compelled to trust, and we REST and we bank on this for when we don’t and can’t see. Philippians 4:5-6 “The Lord is near. DO not be anxious. In everything by prayers and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.”
Julie was in California helping her son while he was undergoing chemotherapy for life-threatening lymphoma cancer. She asked Him where he was, because she was envisioning a very dark future. The Father had to teach her to stay in the moment. She put on her “glasses” and saw that her son’s future in-laws who were VERY strong believers. Julie was struct that she didn’t do anything tight to deserve future in-laws who were believers. BUT it gave her manna, sustenance for the moment to help her stand, and reminded Her that He was there and could be trusted.
God used her circumstances to teach her about unhitching from the circumstances… to ground her from living so much off feelings. YOU REALLY CAN UHITCH FROM THE CRAZY TRAIN. She discovered that she was free. She didn’t have to be afraid any more of what was going to come down the tracks because she learned He was there. We must go again and again to focus on Christ. We have the same Spirit in us that Christ has!