In the beginning of July, I was blessed with the privilege of attending my fourth Journey to the Heart. The Lord used those ten days of self-examination and time alone with Him to reveal Himself to me in great and powerful ways! I found myself asking the first day, “Lord why am I here this week? What are you going to teach me? Why is Your Word not coming alive to me today like it should?” It was as if I took a step forward, and threw all my burdens before Him in a huge tangled mess. He spoke to me in a quiet voice that morning. He said, “Ye receive not, because ye ask not…” Such a simple answer!
God is not a God of intellect or human reasoning. He doesn’t care how you word your prayers, or if you sound “put together” when you come before Him with all your worries. He much prefers a child that is desperate for Him, lost without Him, and no longer concerned about anything but Him. He wants you in your lowest, weakest state – the REAL you – void of all human strength, empty of all self. That is when He draws near and whispers in your ear the perfect answer; that is when He fills you up with Himself and provides a solution that heals every problem and destroys every burden.
So I asked!
Prior to the Journey, our family had been in Pennsylvania visiting relatives. During our time there, the Lord had placed on my heart a tremendous burden for some of our unsaved relatives. That first day at Journey, I felt the Lord leading me to ask for their salvation again. I knelt by the bed in my room and found myself pouring out my heart before the Lord. He gave me peace as I laid it all at His feet! I was able to cast my cares upon Him and spend the remainder of the day rejoicing in His love and feeling a new awareness of His presence!
It was just the next day that I was talking by phone with my younger sister Bethany, who is 12. She shared excitedly with me how they had decided to stay in PA one extra day for no reason at all. That day, our cousins came by to visit. (This was the same day I had prayed). Bethany poured out her story of the conversation she had carried on with our cousin Emily, who is very close to her in age, and how the Lord had led her to share the gospel with Emily. She told me that Emily had received the Lord as her Savior and had dedicated her life to Jesus!!! “Ask, and ye shall receive…”
Perhaps the greatest lesson God taught me at Journey is this: Solutions to my problems do not come by a method, but by a relationship with Him. On Friday evening in the Northwoods, 6 teams (64+ girls) had gathered to pray in the upper prayer tower. For the first time, I witnessed one-accord power in prayer throughout an entire group of girls and not just a single team! I watched as young ladies committed and re-committed their lives to Jesus, confessed hidden sins, cried out for freedom, and laid their requests at the feet of their Maker. During this time our team cried out for salvation for lost friends and family, healing for the sick among us, and various other needs. The Holy Spirit was present among us that night!!! Others who were far beyond the walls of the prayer tower testified that they had heard us crying out to Jesus – a noise like thunder.
Later on in the week, Satan attacked me with discouragement. I found myself questioning God, “Why do you not heal the sick that we prayed for? Why do you not save the lost that we lifted up to you?” It occurred to me that I had been looking to this one-accord moment as the key to all my problems. I had been convinced that I could simply lay every prayer before the Lord and He would grant it all for me just like that. God taught me a powerful lesson on drawing near to Him, and persistently, fervently praying without ceasing.
Prayer is not a one-time act. God instructs us to pray day and night, without ceasing. Furthermore, we do not use it as a tool to just check off every problem and solve every trouble. Prayer is a means of drawing us near to the heart of Jesus, and of fellowship between believers and their Heavenly Father. It is meant to be the vital part of our relationship with our King and Creator, and thus the most effective weapon in that way. God is ever teaching me that He knows my every need, and He desires me to be in full fellowship with Him, that I may trust His perfect will whatever that may be – without doubt or worry, or anxiety.
Lay every burden at His feet and cast your cares upon Him. He will open His hand to pour forth untold blessings upon you, if you simply ask in faith, believing.
July 2010 Journey