On Sunday after church I had a wonderful opportunity to drive to Hartford Hospital to visit two of our parishioners who had been placed there for treatment
It is strange how health care is changing here in the Northeast. I have never had to go to Hartford before for a pastoral visit, but for some reason there were no beds in MA or NH to be had for what these ladies needed treatment for. One of them actually had to travel 3 and a half hours by ambulance to get there.
But I am a firm believer in the fact that God knows what He is doing and He has the people of our church in the palm of His hand.
The roundtrip drive to Hartford is 4 hours. It was a beautiful trip accentuated by autumn colored roadsides. I wish I had thought to stop and take some picture but these photos are near enough representations to show you the beauty I was driving through.
I seldom have four hours to myself. So the time to drive and talk with God was absolutely welcomed. I talked with Him about adjustments He is bringing to my life schedule. I asked Him about the upcoming pastor’s gathering at the Cape and how I am going to best use those hours. I listened to Him to hear what He would say about my next sermons on the step of love, and I prayed for the needs of several folks in our congregation who are sick like these two ladies.
The visits accomplished their God-given purpose and the time on the road did too. I am so thankful God gave me this extra time.
I have come to call my position of prayer the Sage’s Cave. It is not so much a place or even a position but a state of mind.
I started my prayer life (forty years ago now) like I imagine everyone does, with a list of things I hoped to get God to do. This kind of prayer is called petition/ intercession. Petitions are prayers for yourself (God heal my heart, God give me a new job). Intercession is prayer offered for others (God heal Sally’s heart, God give Sally a new job).
As I have grown into the Sage’s Cave I have found that the petition/intercession part of prayer has taken a very back seat in a rather large bus. It is not that there is anything wrong with petitions or intercessions. I still petition God for things. I still intercede for others. It is just that for me petitions and intercessions are the least relational prayers and I am very much more interested in knowing God and knowing what is on His mind than I am in getting stuff or things from Him.
I have somehow come to the position of seeking His face more than His hand as the song by Paul Wilbur says,
I do really struggle with this sometimes, because my prayer life is a lot of waiting and listening now. It feels like I am doing even less than I used to do in prayer and I know most people think prayer is useless unless it leads to an action of some kind.
I am learning to be content in the waiting. I am finding that is where the weight of God’s glory resides. Something inside of me tells me that waiting for His glory is my most important ministry now.
Sometimes as I am waiting. God gives me little things to do. Sometimes I see visions of things coming or of things already happening. Sometimes I get understanding of some Scriptural principle. Sometimes I get whole sermons. And then sometimes I just sit and hear nothing but the sound of my own breathing and the music or Scripture playing in the back ground.
Today I am moving towards three hours of waiting in a lot of sweet silence.