It’s been too long since this blog has been updated. Nonetheless, this blog serves as a useful place for me to return whenever I need to do some spiritual journaling.
Been relying on the regular Living Life and God’s word as part of my daily devotion, but occasionally a dose of powerful Christian literature can do wonders to your spiritual life. I am ultimately someone who gains a lot of spiritual revelation through reading, if you speak of learning styles, hence I want to commit myself to do more reading of Christian books this year.
Was reading Banning Liebscher’s book Jesus Culture and though the book speaks more of raising a new generation of Christians, I found the chapters on prayer powerful and thought-provoking, not so much because there were lots of new revelations, but just because of the simplicity and conviction of faith behind the writing.
Liebscher summarises the four keys to prayer as follows – have also excerpted some key points:
Intimacy enables us to sustain prayer because it makes prayer a matter of spending time with the One you love, which is the natural expression and desire of love.
Prayer is hard to sustain if your view of God is anything but that of a loving Father.
Many people don’t sustain prayer for their city because they don’t feel any responsibility for their region. If you live with a sense of responsibility, you will live differently… People sustain prayer for things they feel responsible for. Many people have a hard time upholding prayer because they have no real sense of responsibility for their city or their nation.
Many people, without realizing it, go through the motions of prayer with no power because they don’t believe their prayers move the heart of God. But the truth is that we have a god who is even more eager to show up in our city than we are for Him to show up.
When the Lord speaks to us through dreams, prophetic words, Scriptures, and other prophetic experiences, He’s providing fuel for our fires of prayer. These things give direction and let us know we are on the right track. Any time we begin to feel weary in our prayers, the Lord is faithful and sends us a dream or a prophetic word or enlivens a Scripture for us, and faith to keep pressing in ignites again in our hearts. It is one of the most exciting, dynamic aspects of our interactions with the Lord. It makes prayer an adventure.
There are some ‘less quotable’ segments of the book, not because they are any less powerful, but because they are more lengthy and narrative. These segments really spoke to me because Liebscher uses those segments to really draw out the parallels between earthly fatherhood and our Father in Heaven’s response to our prayers. It was as if those paragraphs were really written for me, as a father.
Particularly memorable as a segment where he described how him and his wife tried to do some ‘sleep-training’, which Jas and I have tried too and he couldn’t bear it once his daughter started crying out ‘Da Da! Da Da!’ (exactly how Dylan calls out for me!). He used that analogy to show how our Father in Heaven also hears us and desperately wants to reach out to us and answer our prayers. Felt exactly the same way when we did sleep training for Dylan, which honestly didn’t quite work out. Heh.
It’s amazing how many aspects of prayer can be encapsulated in this father-son dynamic – responsibility, as listed above, is about feeling your Father’s heartbeat, knowing what is important to your Father and feeling for it too, not just your own personal needs. Belief too is about knowing the nature of your Father in Heaven, being more loving and wanting to give than any earthly Father. Revelation is an interesting one – though we as earthly fathers cannot give dreams to our sons on earth, sometimes what we ‘give’ in response to our son’s requests is not what they ask, but a word of advice, a word of encouragement or even sharing a ‘story’ of our own experiences to spur them on.
How amazing it is to be able to view prayer, once again, in light of the Father’s love, from the perspective of a Father (to understand how the Father in Heaven feels, but also to know how I can improve as a father) and as a son of God – how I should pray, how I should respond to Him, and how I should respond to His response.
It’s enlightening and amazing how such a simple truth of God can take on greater depth and understanding as we grow and mature in life. Being a Christian is such an exciting journey!