September 20, 2012

AA - Brave and Courageous though humility.

I went to an open AA Meeting tonight because of an assignment for one of my classes. I was nervous to go, new place, new experience.  The members were welcoming. I double checked that it was an open meeting, where non-alcoholics could attend...family members, college students doing an assignment for class, and it was confirmed...yes, the group is open. I really hadn't made a connection about the family member part until a bit into the meeting. My dad was an alcoholic and died over 10 years ago, I had made my amends with him, forgiven him, it is just not something that I dwell on regularly anymore.

The meeting was wonderful. I went in with a bit of a bias as to what it would be like, because my dad always put AA down with lots of derogatory remarks. I guess some of them stuck because I heard it lots growing up. I remember hearing my dad say so many times he didn't need a group of whiners and complainers to help him quit drinking, he could quit any time he wanted. He had the power. The group was anything but whiners and complainers, they took responsibility for their actions, followed the steps of AA with the help of the group and a sponsor, and took away the power of the bottle.

So many of the members said that the hardest part was admitting they were powerless over alcohol. I sat and listened to this group of members, every age, every color, every socioeconomic class, and thought that they were maybe the most brave and courageous people I knew. They were brave enough to take away the alcohol and see who they were without it, they were brave enough to admit that they didn't have it all together - it takes much more courage to be humble than it does to let pride be your ruler. They were taking control of their lives with the help of God and AA.

One of the members said that he had been sober for several years, and that he had learned a lot through AA, but the most important thing he had learned was that he would never have to walk through anything in his life alone, ever again. Wow. There were men and women ready to be sponsors to any newbies in the group, to walk them through the steps. The commitment that the members had to each other was amazing. Brave and Courageous.

I kept picturing how my dad's life would have been different if he would have said the words, I am powerless over alcohol, I saw his face in lots of the men's faces tonight. I wished with all of my heart that he would have not let fear keep him from getting help. It was fear, he made it sound like he was powerful, but he was just afraid. Afraid of how he would cope without his lover called whiskey, or beer. Afraid. Not a partier, but afraid. Not in control, afraid. It is funny that my last post I wrote on my blog was my experience of being delivered from fear. When fear is in control, it messes with our heads, it seems like a dinosaur - but it is just an illusion. Fear is only a lie, that is all evil has to use to trick us...lies - there is no reality in fear.

The things that I used to be so afraid of, seem silly to me now. Something that would panic me, I find great blessing through trusting God for His provision. I wish my dad would have been able to see that he had much to offer this world without alcohol, I wish he would have said the words...I am powerless, for God delights in those that know that they need him. If we think we have it all together, God wont push his way in, but if we bow to Him and ask for His help he is already there before we finish our sentence. He is the great Healer, Rescuer, and Savior of our souls.

God, we all need you, whether we are alcoholics, drug addicts, suffer from anxiety, are full of pride, are full of fear, use shopping as a drug, read books that take our minds to places we shouldn't be, the one's who don't know Your love, who don't trust you, who keep secrets, who cheat on exams, who let their eyes wander, who are afraid. Come Lord, into our hearts, we invite You to rescue us, You are our only hope.


September 07, 2012

Quotes on Prayer




Our church family will be devoting 24 hours of prayer this September 21-22.

I personally have experienced most or all levels of desire to pray.

I have wondered if my prayers were heard, I have doubted that prayers were useful, I have prayed because I thought it was the right thing to do, I have yearned for a heart that longed to pray, I have had my interest spurred by people who can not survive without prayer, I have asked God to give me the desire to pray, I kept on asking God, and kept on asking, I opened up space in my day for prayer, I made prayer time a priority, I realized that if I didn't pray that I was allowing satan to be the voice I listened to.

Too busy, too tired, too disenchanted, too doubtful...those words are not from the Holy Spirit.

They are ploys to keep me from connecting to God in a place that speaks to the most inner part of me.

If I am not dedicated to prayer I will truly be operating on my own power and strength. I will have closed the channel that God gives me to truly know Him, and if I don't know God, I don't trust God, if I don't trust God then pass me the apple off the tree because I will think He doesn't have my best interests at heart, and will take my life into my own hands.

 God has heard my plea, He has taken my hard heart, and softened it to a place that if I don't make time to pray I am parched. It is the time for my soul to rest with God. There is no right or wrong way to pray, but this is where my journey has me right now. I pray some scriptures, I lift the names of my husband and children, I pray for people whose souls are desperate for Him, and for those who don't know they are desperate for Him, I pray for marriages, I pray for physical help for the sick, and then I rest in a place of stillness with God for however long I can. Some days it is 5 minutes, some it is 35 minutes. When I pray for others I take the time to see their faces in my mind, I lift them to God in my mind. There is something beautiful about this process of pause as I ponder the faces of those I love with God's love. They set more firmly in my heart when I see their eyes, their smiles or their tears. It is a beautiful time of praying for others, it blesses my heart.

As I wrote above, it was through reading that I witnessed the hearts of men and women whose hearts were sold out to praying with God. It was through their words that I read if they had a busy day ahead then it was even more necessary to pray. I read through their words that in prayer came a connection to God that I desperately wanted. It was through their words that I saw that prayer does change things, most of all it changes the one who is praying. I can say that prayer has given me peace in desperate circumstances, it has given me love for those that have broken my heart, it has given me a passion to speak words that bring life and love, all this is from the Father. The only thing I have done is to pursue God (which is actually just a response to God's voice drawing me to Him) and beg Him, plead in the way that Jacob pled when he would not let go of God unless he was blessed. God does it all, if we will just ask with our heart and not let go.

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Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting some quotes that I love on prayer from different authors. Some are quotes that drew me in to a yearning for prayer years ago, some are new quotes that I love, too. This list will keep growing, but I wanted to have a place where I could go back and find all the quotes I posted in one place. So starting us off:

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"This evening we had a precious prayer meeting. When the usual time for closing the meeting came, some of us wanted to continue to wait upon the Lord. I suggested that those who had bodily strength, time, and a desire to wait longer upon the Lord, do so. At least thirty remained, and we continued in prayer until after ten. I never knew deeper prayer in the Spirit. I experienced an unusual nearness to the Lord and was able to pray in faith, without doubting."  

January 3, 1842, George Muller from the Autobiography of George Muller. This book is a very special book to me, for the first time (outside the Bible) I had read about someone who through his journey learned to completely rely upon God through prayer for provision for himself and the orphans he was responsible for.

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"I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence - we need to listen to God because it's not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters. Prayer feeds the soul-as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul-it brings you closer to God. It also gives you a clean and pure heart. A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others. When you have a clean heart it means you are open and honest with God, you are not hiding anything from Him, and this lets Him take what He wants from you."
Mother Teresa, A Simple Path
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"In the cell of silence and solitude, this is the essential kernel of truth that is heard: when all is said and done, it is good to be near God. by removing the noise and external clutter for periodic entry into the "sanctuary," into the very conscious presence of God, we make ourselves available to gain a completely different perspective, a life-giving rule that equips us to live in an obsessive, materialistic world." 

From the book, Thin Places by Tracy Balzer