It’s safe to say my spirit can get caught on things throughout the day the same way that a sweater hem can catch the edge of a nail or door jamb. By bedtime, it is necessary to come to Jesus and basically shower off all the particles my spirit picked up on.
Intercession has held an official place in my life for a long while. I delight in hearing from the Lord, yet as time has marched on, the way of the interceder has become tiring and boring. In my talks with Jesus, we have rolled up our sleeves together in hopes of remodeling this particular craft into something more fun. Fun is the magic word lately in a lot of growth areas for me.
It’s possible I have been bullied by religion into thinking I feel things more intensely than others seem to, and must be called to intercession because of the 3 am wake up calls. Hence the official office in my spiritual house. As I imagine this office in my spiritual house, I picture it’s current state to be like the President’s Oval Office. I want to throw an ax in the middle of the sturdy dark wooden desk and put up some flower wallpaper if you know what I mean. Just being in there feels “official.” I recognise the stench of death-the kill joy of something living and breathing exuberance and I ask myself what God would have intended for me instead?
My prayer life has been like having a walking talkie always turned on and the volume knob up all the way up. I have not known when I’m going to catch a signal and when I do, it can feel like an ambush. What I have been discerning is backwards: the problems in the world around me when I was made to look on wonder. This is my first renovation point. I’ve had enough responsibility for the problems outside myself to suit a lifetime and I’m happily leaving my post.
Lot’s of books and training programs for intercession like to herald Abraham for his ability to mind the gap between God and man. Renovation point number 2. I don’t know the tone or the friendship of Abraham and God. Without it, I am led to believe too much in my own importance as a gap stander and not confidently enough in the kind nature of God towards handling things.
Abram was an anomaly in a polytheistic culture. Imagine God one day walking up and introducing himself. “Hey, I’m God- the only one by the way, and I want to chat to you from time to time.”
A month later He pops back in. Courting had to be involved rather than telling Abraham God thought of him as a friend. God had to woo him out of normal perceptions into some quality time. “Hey, remember me? I want to bless your life. Will you move and leave everything behind? I’ll let you pick the land you occupy. I promise I will move with you and I will be the one to watch out for you when you get there.” I can almost see the sparkle in his eyes hinting with excitement that friendship was going to be fun.
When God speaks, your heart melts, your skin get’s goosebumps and there is weight to His words. Of course he went! Along the way what went through his mind? Did he have the feeling of duty or friendship?
Wasn’t God THE God whom he should reverently obey? If the stories of Noah had been passed down, and no one had met God in person in a long while, being God’s friend would be a high pressure role much like my intercession office and Abraham probably thought that he was being recruited to make an ark because something bad was going to happen.
I wonder if he started out the role of friend cleaning the kitchen and killing the fattened calf for dinner because that was how you treated a God? I wonder when God kept stopping by and needing nothing of importance how quickly he was able to relax and experience enjoyment?
By the time of the visit deciding the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, God had already frequented Abram’s life. So they had dinner together, and then God and his two angels went out on their merry way.
God turned and paused to say “Hey…just so you know, friend, this is why I am searching those cities tonight and I want you to know what will happen if I find what I think I am going to find…”
Trigger sentence.The flood came rushing back in and enjoyment was crowded out. Abram sensed power and anger and fell back on His context of God. His language was pleading and hesitant, His heart afraid of a holy God.
“What if the story of Abraham is actually about God healing Abraham’s fear and his sense of duty so they could be better friends?” I was outside shooting hoops and trying to playfully execute a cleansing prayer session of my day when this thought came to me. It led me to ask a follow up question: “What is the next step in friendship for us?”
A picture came to mind of Jesus opening the door to my spiritual office, throwing in a grenade, and closing the door behind him. In his best British accent he said, “Pip pip, come along now.” My jaw dropped as the sound of a toilet flushing entered my mind. What needs renovation in my prayer life is the image of the serious God in global leadership I’ve been carrying around and my role as his executive. The prophet Micah had it right when he advised us to not take ourselves too seriously. Can I really be-before any role I occupy- first an enjoyment?
The result of this conversation has changed my death grip on responsibility. Bad things happen everyday, and in none of them do I get the stink eye from my Father. I am his sunshine, and I can drop a little encouraging word where I see Holy Spirit making some magic because I know His tone and shenanigans. I can rinse off my day as more of an acknowledgement that certain things prick, but that my friend God can handle it from here. I get to be his delight, not his executive-gap-standing officer in charge of preventing the next tragedy in the world with my prayers, pictures, and willingness to wake before the sun. I am quite happy with this. I can relax a bit and move into a deeper, more authentic version of a friendship with God.
Lastly, there is one other thing Abraham taught me recently. When God made a covenant with Abraham, it was traditional that both parties would need to give something for the covenant to be legal and binding. So Abraham built an altar and killed some animals that vultures came and ate up before the sign of acceptance was given. God knew Abraham wouldn’t fulfill his end and as an act of friendship, He provided both portions and covenanted anyways.
I’ve received some miraculous unearned financial gifts in my life and each of them left me teary eyed and clamouring to hold onto the gracious nature of the givers while shutting out the doubt that I was undeserving. Faith, as it was credited to Abraham for his reception of this covenant, is like the friend so in love they have lost all awareness of social boundaries. It had to be love and trust in that love or shame would have taken him out that day. I dare say, He had to have felt doe eyed as the object of his Creator’s fascination and it would become the memory he connected to and fell back on as the years passed by while he waited for his promise to be fulfilled. Until this point in my own relationship with God, I could not connect with the feeling of love and His ability to dote on me and that is why I spent so long trying to earn my freedom and in polite friendship. It took slowing down and connecting to how he literally feels towards me to relax and stop the striving. It took him telling me he loves to make me laugh to build trust. And, it took bombing my intercession office to get me to walk away from responsibility and have a little fun with him.