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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Drop and Give Him Five!

How are your toes today? I hope yours are strappy-sandal ready but mine, dear sisters, are broken and bloody. That would be because C.S. Lewis through his book, The Screwtape Letters, has stomped all over them. Stomped and jumped and then flattened with the Mashed Potato Dance. I am knocked off my feet for the moment but in this case it is a good thing because I am reminded I should be on my knees anyway.

For those who have not read this masterpiece (okay, so I love Lewis), it is presented as a series of letters from Screwtape who is an demonic under-secretary of Satan. He is writing to his nephew, Wormwood, with advice on causing a new convert to Christianity to fall. Throughout the book, Screwtape mentors Wormwood in attacking areas of Christian weakness. One of the first subjects discussed is prayer.

The assault on my pedicure began when I read these words in Chapter 4 of the book: (Yes, I am broken to pieces by Chapter 4. By Chapter 30 I will be in ICU.) In speaking of the new Christian breaking from the habit of 'childhood parrot prayers', Screwtape says:

"..he may be persuaded to aim at something entirely spontaneous, inward,
informal, and unregularised; and what this will actually mean to a beginner will
be an effort to produce in himself a vaguely devotional mood in which real
concentration of will and intelligence have no part. One of their poets,
Coleridge, has recorded that he did not pray 'with moving lips and bended knees'
but merely 'composed his spirit to love' and indulged in a 'sense of
supplication'. That is exactly the sort of prayer we want; and since it bears a
superficial resemblance to the prayer of silence as practised by those who are
very far advanced in the Enemy's (God's) service, clever and lazy patients (new
Christians) can be taken in by it for a very long time. At the very least, they
can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no real difference to their
prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they
are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny
how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds; in reality our
best work is done by keeping things out."

As a somewhat young mother of four, I can not begin to tell you the number of books, articles, and teachers I have heard encourage the matter of 'popcorn prayers' or 'praying as you go' in this season of life. Let me be perfectly clear when I say, AMEN, we should absolutely do this! I need Jesus when I am staring at 12 loads of laundry or caring for a sick child or driving between three different baseball fields. I talk to God all day long and it is often in the most mundane errands when He gives me teaching illustrations that are relevant to women like me. Now that I have established I am a total 'pray as you go' kind of girl and that I in no way condemn this practice, here is what I believe the Spirit began to whisper to me:

1. Have I let this type of 'praying as I go' produce in me a devotional mood which leaves me with only a sense of supplication?

2. Do my prayers require a concentration of my will and intelligence in my approaching the throne of a Holy God? Am I praying in spoken word so my sentences have to make real sense?

3. How often do I take a physical position of bended knee or face-on-the-floor prayer?

4. OUCH.

Now that I have honestly answered these questions for myself I feel the need to change my prayer rituals. Don't get me wrong, I DO pray. I must. It is in the Preacher Wife Handbook. But often I am seated in a chair or lying in bed or driving down the road. I am in no way suggesting there is a holiness in positioning - legalism is SO not my thing- but I am saying that I agree with Lewis' Screwtape in his suggestion that 'what their bodies do affect their souls'. Consider with me the intensity of our petitions of the Father that are offered in spoken word while prostrate or on bended knee. Would you agree with me that it is during these times we go down as one woman and come up as another? Do you think perhaps this is the kind of prayer which frightens Satan most? I think of times past when I have been in serious pursuit of the heart of God and realize this is when I have made the most concerted efforts to get in the floor on my face before Him.

So I wonder, what would happen to a group of women who made this their habit? What Godly fire would ignite in a community where women were being changed a little bit every single day because they would not let go of God until He blessed them (Gen 32:26)? I think we would turn a place upside down, girls. Will you be willing to try?

Here is the challenge: Will you join me in carving out five minutes of your day to bend the knee and offer a spoken prayer to the One who is continually making intercession for us? I am going to commit to this and if there is a day I feel I may not honor my word, I will remember you and know I am being held accountable. Do not feel you have to do this but I hope you will. We may fail but you know what? God will not be mad. Let our motivation be a desire to be women who pray like Jesus:

"And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39)

I don't know about you, but I have a whole lot of cups before me. Many of them pass, many of them don't. No matter what is placed in front of us, it is on our faces where we will find the strength for His will. The more we exercise this privilege, the stronger we will become.

Let's start now.... drop and give Him five!

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Blogger NspiredByFaith said...

This is a great post Lisa! Count me in! I am very guilty of chatting with God throughout the day and not taking the time to fall on my face before Him. Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement.

April 11, 2007 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

My dear sister, I am very willing to drop, and give five everyday for my Lord.

April 12, 2007 at 1:30 AM  
Anonymous Deb said...

Thought your article was awesome, as usual. And I have been convicted recently about the posture of prayer. Just bowing before a Holy God, knowing I am in total submission to Him on my knees...and you know I am not legalistic either. I just know how He speaks to my heart the further down I go. No distractions, total focus. I also pray as you go, but I will take the challenge with you. Think of how many others we can give 5 to. He is worth it!

April 12, 2007 at 6:37 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

Amen and amen!! I remember one time, as I was on my knees and "face to the floor", envisioning that my heart was pointing down. I could just picture all of the "junk" in my heart being poured out at the Savior's feet as I prayed. My posture that day (and anytime when I physically humble myself in prayer) truly does affect my soul.

I'm joining the challenge, too. Thank you for this today. :)

April 12, 2007 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll join you!

April 12, 2007 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Loved, loved, loved this post. I have been thinking about these very same things lately. Not a coincidence to get further insight here.

April 12, 2007 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Ooooooh, you are so good! And I love that book too, but I haven't read it in a while. It's on my nighttable now, though! Very convicting!

April 12, 2007 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


Thank you for this article. I have been greatly convicted in the last few months about prayer.

I go every morning on bended knee. I don't quite understand it. But there is great power and extreme intimacy with God while praying on the knee with zero distractions. Powerful. Thank you.

April 12, 2007 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Another thinking post award to you, my friend! I agree with Linda that I love loved loved this post.

You might want to scooch over because I'm kneeling right beside you, sister, and I will be every day. You've reminded me of my lazy lie-in-bed prayers and how pathetic my devotion is at that time. I'm starting today!

April 12, 2007 at 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Photo Buffet said...

God hears us in any position, but what a beautiful reminder of his Fatherhood, and how blessed He'll be by this act of devotion. Lisa, you've inspired me this morning. Thank you.

April 12, 2007 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

I am going to really try. I will be honest, "every day" would be hard for me to promise. I really hate to promise and not do it, I do find myself at least once or three times on my knees before the Lord. I have to, for me it helps put things in perspective.

Last night I feel asleep before I said my prayers. Actually I feel asleep listening to Matt Chandler (and if you know this preacher, he is difficult to fall asleep to. If you never have heard him let me know I will email you heart stopping sermons. The man does not mind stepping on my toes)

Oh goodess I am rambling and off subject. Anyways, I am really going to work at this. This is a great post. There is such power in prayer!!

April 12, 2007 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Great post Lisa!

I will join you in the challenge.

April 13, 2007 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

What a wonderful post, Lisa. Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, I will 'carve out' five minutes per day to drop and give Him five...I pray all day long too, but I need to just get in the habit to really concentrate...I think I will do it when I get home from work, on our patio.

Blessings to you and yours.

April 14, 2007 at 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This might come off a little differnt but my name is Amber I am going threw a hard time right now becasue I dont know if the lord hears me. So I am hoping you the reader can help me by praying for me. I am praying to have a child I have been trying for the last 4 years and I feel this might be the time that it comes true but I would like you guys to help and pray for me thank you so very much

February 12, 2008 at 5:05 PM  

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