Friday, February 26, 2010

Reflections on prayer...

I was thinking about prayer as I prepared to write on my blog today after a few weeks away. Five instances come to my mind--(1) a church prayer meeting Wednesday, (2)devotions with my wife today (3) a men's prayer meeting this morning (4) prayer with a buddy yesterday afternoon and (5) a visit and prayer time with a friend who is dying. All of these were for me productive times of prayer for different reasons.

1. On Wednesday evening 40-50 met at the church for nearlt two hours for a schedulesd time of prayer and praise. This was not a large number-I always hope for more--but we have purposed as a body to pray more together corporately. It is always significant to me when we pray for one another. This is a group with whom I am confortable sharing my needs.

2. My daily devotions with Beverly are especially maningful to me these days. We have been reading a book together, "PRAYING FOR YOUR ADULT CHILDREN. With six children (and eleven grandchildren), this is a daily activity for us together. it is a comfort to me to release my family daily to God's love and care and to remind them that we are praying for them. This encoruages them, hopefully, to share their needs with us.

3. I met for prayer with eight othe men at 6:30 a.m. this morning--what a blessing! A core group of us have been doing this regularly for over a year now and we openinly share our concerns--one has prostate cancer, another needs more work, one has a grandson who just had a brain tumor removed, another needs to sell some property, another's brother needs Christ and is facing surgery, etc. I was especially moved by the prayer of one who is retired who prayed aloud,"Lord, use me when I leave this room..."

4. Yesterday afternoon a yong man--almost thirty years younger than me--stopped by the office, and we shared and prayed together. We have some experiences in common, though far apart in years, and we have a common desire to live our lives to the glory of God. He inspires me, and, hopefully, I encourage him when we pray together.

5. A friend is dying. He knows he has just a few months at best to live. He is in some pain and spends alot of time in bed. I am not sure about the depth of his relationship with Christ, but I know he is reaching out and I have a unique opportunity when we share together in prayer to direct him to Christ.

As I reflect on these times of prayer--a sampling of the opportuntities God provides each week--I am reminded what a vital dimension prayer is of my daily life, as I live out my faith and seek to minister to others. I often wonder aloud, "What would I do if I could not pray?"

Thank you, lord.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dallas, here we come!

I will be gone for the next week visiting children and grandchildren in the Dallas area. They are just digging out of over a foot of snow--an unlikely phenomenon in their neck of the woods.

I am ready for this trip--I have not been to Dallas for a year, so I am anxious to see family. In preparation for the trip I took the day off and rested and, as a result, should be in rare form when we get off the plane! Usually, we run until we leave and then arrive exhausted, get caught up the first few days, and then it is time to go home...still exhasuted.

I love Jesus' invitation to come to Him and find "rest"; I am grateful to God for the rest He gives when we come to Him and yoke oursleves to His strength.

Dallas, here we come, rested and ready for the grandkids!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

62... and counting

I received over 100 reminders from well-wishers via Facebook about my 62nd birthday, in addition to a passel of cards from family and friends over a two week period. Another card trickled in yesterday. No one let me forget I am 62.

62 seems like a big number...only 8 short of the "threescore and ten" allotted to us from a scriptural vantage point.

62 means I am standing on the brink of qualifying to receive my social security benefits, should I opt for them early. I can also join AARP and receive discounts for everything from oragel to Grecian formula.

62 means it is 44 years since I graduated from high school and this year 40 years since I graduated from college... My glasses are bifocals and I have a special pair I wear when I am working on my computer. Thankfully, I still have all my teeth intact.

62, my wife tells me, is just a number...but it is a large number (that is my gut response). So...what's next for me as I round the final quarter (am I being too optimistic?) of my life? I can remember running the mile--four times around the track--and the last quarter was the lap I saved my energy for--that final burst as I crossed the finish line.

I have been leading a discussion group of about ten successful men from age 57-72. We have been using Bob Buford's book, HALF TIME, in which he suggests the final half of our life is often spent transitioning from the pursuit of success to seeking for significance. A companion book we are reading is Richard Stearns', THE HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL, in which he shares his life-changing experience in Uganda and his subsequent move from a well-paid position of a major corporation executive to President of World Vision. Both of these books remind those of us who are in this season of life to seriously ask the question, "How do I want to spend the rest of my days?"

At age 62 it is a question I have been asking for several years now as I consider retirement and repositioning myself for the final lap. God may keep me where I have been for the last fourteen years, or, He may have another adventure in mind. What I know is this--I want to spend my days investing in things of eternal value.

Psalm 62 closes with these meaningful words, "Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done." The reward I desire most is to hear Jesus say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...come and share your master's happiness" Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

62 means it's time for a sustained burst around the final turn. May God help me to be faithful.