What is Spiritual Soaking?

Why is spiritual soaking prayer relaxing for us?

Modern interpretation of an ancient religious practice, spiritual soaking is a form of prayer and meditation. It relaxes ones mind and relieves stress as side benefits.

A Method Of Praying

There are many ways that people relax and relieve stress. If that is the primary goal, this may be one avenue, but you have many alternatives to choose from. If, however, the idea of connecting with the Lord Jesus in a way that deepens your relationship and allows the “peace that passes understanding” to infiltrate your soul is important to you, you may be interested in what many call “soaking prayer”.

nosonjai / 123RF Stock Photo
nosonjai / 123RF Stock Photo

Meditation can be religious or secular, and as such has been found to have health benefits; but for Christians, prayer and meditation is more than the mere practice, it has a focus.

Everyone wants to pray more, pray better, pray more effectively, it seems. Libraries of books have been written, and almost every Christian gives lip service to the value of prayer, its necessity even. But this is no essay on that topic. What I would like to present is the way this form of prayer has given me a tool to overcome the stranglehold of stress in my life.

Soaking After Services

The first time to be introduced to this form of prayer and worship was after services where people had received personal ministry through laying on of hands.

It is usual for people to lay prone on the floor quietly while restful, quiet, music is playing.

THE RESTORATIVE QUALITY OF MEDITATION

To meditate on God has always been a part of the Judeo-Christian practice. Many references are found in Psalms. Focus attention on the acts of God, His Law, His work… the Hebrew word carries the meaning of musing thoughtfully, rolling over in ones mind, studying, ruminating. (1)

Now Science is finding facts in the physical universe that shed light or in some way give support to religious practices. For a person of belief it is fascinating and confirming at the same time. In no way would I think it is proof that we should think a certain way, but for me it underscores importance of such a thing as prayer or meditation for us as whole beings.

Prayer and Meditation reduce stress, they improve our mental capacity.

Why Meditation Makes You Feel Better

Both prayer and meditation focus the mind, and I can’t say whether those who are spiritually soaking are doing that or not. I do know that the whole experience of the soothing music, the restful repose of the body, and the sense of God’s presence work together in a way that I can only describe as restorative: giving back wholeness, a healing experience.

I think all types of prayer are important, so this is only an exploration of one way that is more recent in my own walk of faith. I found it to be a key in overcoming the chronic stress I was prone to.

Source: evan courtney
Source: evan courtney

Soaking Is Active

It may seem paradoxical to our minds, but often what we consider a passive posture is spiritually a very active one. “Waiting on God” is full of active faith and believing, not a useless waste of time. Similarly soaking prayer, while seeming empty, is actively focused on allowing God to be more important than our efforts or needs.

IS IT NECESSARY?

I don’t know, is relaxing necessary? Rest is needed – even required. But relaxing? I would say it is beneficial. I have found certain music, quiet and rested posture, time out from everything including other forms of devotion helps me. mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Of course, being more introverted, perhaps it is my way of recovering from an overstimulated world. Still, due to the references in the Bible that encourage “confidence and quietness”, and other such mental states, I can’t help but draw a conclusion that other personality types would gain in their devotional life from incorporating some of this soaking time into their lives.

Add Some Background Music To Your Meditations

Soaking In Glory Rain - Prophetic Instrumental Worship Music
Soaking In Glory Rain – Prophetic Instrumental Worship Music

Lovely and inspiring piano and some electronic keyboard songs. Very pleasing music that gives a restful background. I would call it quietly energizing.

Meditation and Soaking Prayer Are Not Synonymous

Prayer is communication with God. Meditation are thoughts aboutGod.

Both might produce meditative states of mind.

July True – Heaven’s Embrace

https://youtu.be/rc82PC7pV5w>

Julie True Interview

One Of My Favorite Musicians Is Julie True

I had researched ways to de-stress as part of the plan to lower my blood pressure and generally improve my life (stress is the number one factor in exacerbating diseases and interferes with relationships and well being.) While doing that, I happened upon “relaxation music”. This genre of music is composed of all sorts of styles and sounds, but with the goal of calming the listener.

Julie True was one of the musicians who produced music for “soaking times”. I listened to some samples and bought an album, “Spirit to Spirit”. I now own other music of this type as well, but this is what I like to listen to when having trouble going to sleep, wanting to have a background to create, etc.
It isn’t just this album or artist, there are other interesting types of music that have the type of meditating atmosphere I wish to rest within to “re-create”.

Spirit to Spirit
Spirit to Spirit

Filled with uplifting lyrics done in Julie True’s inimitable style. I bought the CD rather than the mp3 download. But I think anyone who wants quiet, healing, background music will appreciate this album.

Good Vibrations

Music’s Effect

Almost all of us feel the effects of music. In some of us it reaches to our deepest core, and for most of us it certainly is a mood enhancer. But what has science discovered about music?

  • It decreases anxiety
  • Music heals
  • It enhances intelligence
  • Improves concentration
  • Helps you to be more productive

(2)

Music produces vibration, is vibration, and the universe is full of it.

MUSIC + PRAYER + RESTING

What does string theory have to do with prayer? Not being a scientist, I can’t draw conclusions, the import of it all is that there are real reasons to engage in this kind of prayer and meditation. I am a Christian, but you don’t have to be a Christian to benefit from the way things are set up. If certain sounds and vibrations are conducive to healthy bodies and peaceful minds, we can recognize those facts and maybe gain some benefit.

If music is deliberate vibrations of a certain type, and if it can both affect us mentally and physically, I am theorizing that its inclusion in the prayer process is also aiding us spiritually. If you are a believer in the Bible, it would not take much study to find reasons to accept that idea. If not convinced about that source of spiritual information… you could go with the physical and consider the effect of “good vibrations”, or destructive ones.

SteveR-
SteveR-

What Do You Do?

Do you pray or meditate regularly?

  • I often practice soaking prayer
  • Meditation and prayer are often a part of life
  • I meditate as a regular practice
  • I don’t do either of these things
  • Spiritual things are not important to me
  • What effect does this information have on you?

    Does it make you curious to discover more about prayer, or how meditation and prayer influence your brain and general health? Are you considering practicing it in a personal way?

    What about the effect of music or the use of music as a way to relieve stress? Are you interested in exploring more about that?

    Are you a religious person? If so, do new ways of worship or prayer make you uncomfortable or are you interested in it?

    What do you think is the answer to stress from modern life and mental distress?

    Apologetics, What Good Are They?

    Apologetics Applied

    How useful is apologetics, making a systematic and reasoned defense for your faith?

    I’ve always loved the practice, since it combines the way my mind works, helps answer difficult questions for me, and is useful in arguments. I think it is that last part that raised the question of how useful a working knowledge of apologetics may be. Winning an argument with someone is not winning the person, and what is the point of that?

    Should we as followers of Jesus Christ be self satisfied, feeling good that “we are right”?

    To be clear, there are a couple places where St. Paul strongly advocates being able to make a defense, or argument, for our Christian faith. It fortifies the mind against the hostile assaults that are so common today. If you don’t think that American society in particular, and the global community in general, doesn’t have an axe to grind with Christianity I’m not sure where you’ve been keeping yourself. Having a solid set of reasons for believing in Christ and the tenets of the gospel is a strong protection against the ridicule and bitter diatribe aimed towards Christians.

    There is no question in my mind about how useful strong, reasoned defensive arguments are for a Christian, personally. I do have serious doubts about the application of this type of thinking and communication in the interactions of evangelism. That is the use of apologetics in sharing the gospel seems far less effective than some groups of Believers would have it.

    I spent the better part of my life in some sort of debate of this kind with people around me who I desperately hoped, and fervently prayed would come to faith in Christ. I so much wanted to see them experience the peace, the joy, and the wholeness that a relationship with God can bring. But, frustratingly, the arguments, even when masterfully destroying every barrier and stronghold, just didn’t produce much fruit.

    The best that could be said for such conversations is that they bulldozed through preconceptions and paved the way for possible consideration of Christ. But those arguments didn’t bring life. And ministering life is what the gospel is all about. Even if that brings death to old traditions and cherished misconceptions.

    So, it can be said that all the time spent with my Dad, or on forums arguing the merits of Christianity were not all time lost, but they were not times that produced what I most hoped they could.

    Apologetics are useful for the intellect of a person, but that isn’t where most people’s struggles take place. For most, if not all, it is in the heart. And if apologetics aren’t so useful in that arena, what is?

    The answer seems like a cliche waiting to happen, but if you combine the clearly defined explanations of 1 Corinthians 13th chapter, and the book of 1st John, (for starters) you will find the real power of conviction is steadily applied Agape love. Caring, honoring, self-sacrificing, serving, healing, longsuffering love. The type of love we call unconditional, but which we so often mar with our conditions.

    In the face of such love, hostility and the hardest internal barriers are defenseless. Nothing in the world or the depths of hell has any weapon of use against it.

    If I were to look for a reason to say apologetics is important or necessary, it would be to say that it is as a support for the formation of that sort of love and enduring spirit. Apologetics are more for us as Christians, and it is the good works, the signs and wonders, and the kindness that is evangelism’s companion actions. With the heart, sometimes a good argument just gets in the way.

    Christianity is a whole package deal, and without putting the whole of ones heart, soul, body, and spirit into God’s hands, there is little of worth we can produce. Today’s piecemeal ala carte Christianity doesn’t represent Christ well, and it doesn’t deliver life dependably, but the gospel as it was meant to be believed and lived offers the only antidote to death, and all its horrible manifestations in humanity.

    No where else is there the answers we need. The application of Christian apologetics establishes a plain pathway to see that more clearly. And that is its usefulness.


    Examples of my efforts in apologetics:
    Why Christ Had To Die
    Answering Atheism

    On Parenting

    Not having blogged here seriously for a long time, I am not going to apologize for that now. You may find some of the reasons if you read between the lines- or maybe not.

    warning: this may turn into a long post. it will certainly go deeper than I have on this blog for a long time. you may not want to read what I have to say. don’t say I didn’t warn you

    How did I find myself inspired to write here today? On this topic? I visited the blog of a long time blogger who has become a new mother. She said this:

    Looking after a newborn baby is really, really hard. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done. It’s mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, and it’s relentless. People keep telling me that it gets better or easier. I hope so. I’m pooped. ~Meg Pickard

    When I read that, I remembered back …way back to my first introduction to motherhood, and yes, that is very much a description of how I felt at the time. I don’t know if there was a generation more unprepared for parenting than mine- at least among those who were like me.

    Why do I think that?

    • We had jumped from ‘Leave It To Beaver’ and ‘Father Knows Best’ to ‘The Brady Bunch’ and ‘All In The Family’
    • Smart Girls prepared for careers, not families; and Supermom wasn’t going to show up until much later.
    • We had come from smaller families, and didn’t help raise siblings, and our moms and dads were all getting divorced. At least in my circles. Elsewhere in America, too, if the statistics tell the story.

    How did this play out for women like me? We were sorely under-prepared for taking care of babies. We were socked with that relentless exhaustion and tried to play catch up with learning how to change diapers, adjust to feeding schedules, and generally learn parenting and household skills on the fly.

    Humans are survivors- and women like me and our babies survived. From our survival lessons came the supermom syndrome. Which, for me, translated into a frenzy of trying to make everything “work”. And if you were like me you could make everything look pretty good…. on the outside. A house of cards, if you will.

    This is getting ominous sounding, don’t you think? Well, in some ways it was, but in others- there were good times, there were some things I would do again, but the overall tone of life? No. Perfection makes a hard taskmaster, and I would trade that for making “Nurture” the keynote of our family. As it was, the keynote was more of “Accomplishment” as framed by my environment.

    The reason I would change that focus and tone might be found in the name of a category I have on this blog, one that I haven’t yet found heart enough to fill up, but perhaps this post will be filed there,”Broken Heart Devotionals”.

    Because another hard truth not told to new parents is the fact that not only can you fall deeply in love with your babies, but that they can grow up and break your heart. Not all of them, not inevitably, but it is one of the possibilities. And a parent needs to recognize that. It could change our focus and remove some of the deception that seems to infect every generation in some way or another.

    I’m not going to get all sappy here, and I am certainly not going to imply that this is the inevitable outcome. Perhaps for some it isn’t in the cards, not even as a possible condition, I don’t know. I do know that when such heartbreak hits, it can come as a complete surprise… the same arrival of surprise that the exhaustion brought to an unprepared, naive mother in those first few months. With the same impact to your psyche, and your sense of what life should be.

    Do not mistake facing reality for regret. There is no regret in the wonderful people that came into my world. I am happy for each individual child being a part of my world and the world at large. There is only sadness that I didn’t understand that nurture and tenderness, taking time for small moments, and living the love I felt for those people was more important than anything.

    Anything.

    And if I were to sum up my advice, thoughts, and stories on parenting in one thing it would be be that last paragraph and its emphatic underline.

    But I have more to say. Just don’t let go of that one nugget of truth, which is the only real piece of advice I wish to pass on.

    Sifting Through The Sand Of Motherhood

    Sand, because motherhood will both polish you and wear you down. It will get in your shoes, but it is also lots of fun to play with. In the right conditions it will focus you on the truly important things of life, even if a little late.

    To go back to that mother’s observations which I began with:

    It’s also really boring much of the time. No-one tells you this. In fact, I think it’s probably frowned on to say it. But if you’re used to being surrounded by agile minds conducting fascinating thought-experiments and verbally jousting at work every day, looking after a baby gets pretty tedious rather quickly, especially when they’re too young to play or engage much with their surroundings. There’s something about the relentless monotony of routine (is it feeding time again? So soon? I could have sworn we just fed a few minutes ago…), and the fact that your brain has been sucked out of your ears by exhaustion, and the need to be constantly entertaining or on the move. It’s knackering.

    I see some things have not changed much from my generation. I think we gave that attitude to the next generation as something of a legacy. Perhaps it was the gleam in the eye of our divorced mothers, and we inherited it ourselves? It said, “Smart girls are bored by the dailiness of the life of Motherhood”. Not that this was the essential point of Pickard’s post- it wasn’t. I simply plucked it out as saying what I, and many like me, felt- to the letter. Or thought we felt because we were supposed to feel that way as modern, hip, thinking women. and whether you think a certain way, or think you ought to and subscribe to it- it boils down to the same thing.Many of us Baby Boomer mothers struggled with it in one way or another.

    I think it is ‘Supermom’ residue, personally. which is the opposite of “Earth Mother” persona. E.M.’s have to live in this society,too, so I don’t think they get off scot-free. They are, however, more apt to take time for their mothering, as part of their identity.

    It’s Not All About Mothers

    Mothers are not all there is to the forming of a child’s life, and psyche. But I do think, that like fathers in their way, mothers of my generation went sort of AWOL. And we got mixed up about what makes a good mother. We got too much into the debate over working and not enough into the conversation of what loving a child looks like.

    And even if mothers do things right, it doesn’t insulate them, their families, or their children from the vicissitudes of our society, which has lost its mooring. Really, it has. No one can even define the semantics of our roles or actions in any substantial way today.

    But thankfully, one thing stands against all the assaults and assails of whatever is wrong with us as individuals and as a society, and that is that “Love Never Fails“.

    It really doesn’t. If you really love your child or your spouse, or any relationship with true care and concern for them as a human being, as someone that matters, then you will go a long way toward nurturing that soul. And they will thrive from it.

    Don’t get sidetracked about what that love looks like. Don’t get fooled by some made-up experts rules. Do things that puts the wellbeing of that person on the top of your list.

    Being a Christian, I don’t think there is any defining lesson on what that looks like more than you might find in I Cor. 13, the Love Chapter of First Corinthians. I don’t think we can make up what love is like any more than we can make up what nutrition our child needs. There are certain hard wired realities in humans and in life.

    We could be more wise about disseminating real facts on that. Just like real facts on neo-nate development. Certain things happen and develop at certain stages, humans need certain things to thrive. Lets be very real about what those things consist of and how to properly deliver them to each other and to our families.

    Love has elements of attachment, elements of freedom, and elements of hands-on actions. There are many recipes for a healthy relationship, and part of life’s challenge is to use the elements in a way that produces a whole human being.

    For those who found themselves in Hell’s Kitchen, there is a new day to work at creating a life of Home cooked, life giving, wholeness making Love. It will be seasoned with humility, because it is hard to start over, to let go of preconceptions, and to admit we make mistakes.

    But I’m very hopeful we can do this.


    All right. I guess that is all I have to say about being a parent, and what I hoped to communicate. Til later, friends…

    Seven Mountains

    The church I attend has started interest groups that serve to connect people who are called to, or now involved within one of the “seven mountains of influence”. This idea is based from a teaching that seems to have originated in 1975, from Campus Crusade and Youth With A Mission leaders. I was not very informed about it until recently (and still not well versed), but it is an interesting way to communicate a concept that has a parallel to similar ideas that have been around much longer.
    In more negative terms is the idea of “the fifth colun” or in closer terms could be the ideas of “The Third Culture“, although not really like either of those, the seven mountains holds one similar line of thought: changing the status quo through those of a different worldview.

    As the “Reclaiming the 7 Mountains” website says it:
    “These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.”

    I think our church has a little different take than the original, but takes the same view of the categories. Anyway, I went to the first meeting centered around the “Media” mountain.

    There is a great deal of emphasis on using your gifts to a full potential; and that would be all your gifts, both natural and spiritual. It is something I am very interested in right now, and might mean that this blog will change and get more attention from me (writing, posts, stuff!)

    I want to share my faith here, and explore thoughts and opinions as I did in the past, but not in the same way that I had. So much of social media has replaced the functions of the old style blogs. We’ll see if there are new avenues for this blog to follow.

    In the meantime, think about reading more about the “Seven Mountains” and where you fit. We all want to develop our gifts, I think, but sometimes we get confused along the way (I know that has often happened in my life), but perhaps a fresh way of looking at vision and our life map could not just invigorate our projects, but give better focus to our energies and time.

    The Gentle Stream of Grace

    I used to work so hard at my faith.
    That is not a value judgment, just a statement of fact. Not sure that it could be otherwise, given the set of circumstances that made up “me” at the beginning of my personal walk with God. It didn’t need to be quite as hard as I made it, though.

    Today, I am aware of how much that has changed, and how I seem to be flowing in an almost effortless stream of Grace. Maybe this is how the accumulation of choices begins to look, like a growing force of a stream that carries us further than our own efforts could manage.

    A reverse of the warning in Proverbs:

    Proverbs 6:9-11

    9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
    When will you rise from your sleep?
    10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    A little folding of the hands to sleep—
    11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
    And your need like an armed man.

    I have experienced that side of it, too, in the power of accumulated choices.

    Perhaps, some of the ease comes from having settled, once and for all, some of the questions, and some of the terms of life.

    I am realizing the line between what I can hope to change and what I cannot, and it has reduced much of the struggle that made life so hard.

    I wonder how much age has to do with it. Age requires that you realize your own limitations, and makes one quicker to let go and “Let God”, which is experienced as ‘Grace’. Until you let go of your own trust in your willpower and ability, you can’t experience the power of something else.

    Too often we labor at hand grubbing at life problems, when the power tiller of prayer could do the job in less than a fraction of the time.

    I doubt that all of life can be experienced as a gentle ride in a beautiful stream on a lovely day. But this is what I found out: some of it can.

    I see why the parable of the Sower was so basic to understanding things about God and how His Kingdom works. He set the understanding within the life of a seed.

    • We are important – in distributing seed, and in helping to create conditions for its germination.
    • We are limited in both those actions.
    • God sends the rain, but we can help to water between times.
    • We watch for weeds, we nurture along.
    • We have no power over the life in the seed.
    • We have no power over the conditions of the weather.
    • We have no power over the growing process, we can only provide supplements and hope for the best.
    • We can give thanks when it completes its cycle.

    The stream of Grace is a bit like the well prepared garden bed. It is a good environment for the progression forward.

    A state of readiness.

    There is a time to rest and a time to work, the balance between the two is one of the pearls of wisdom in this life.

    I love pearls. And now appreciate gentle streams.

    Christian Culture

    For some reason I have been looking at the culture that for many years I simply took for granted. Christian culture as it has taken on its form from American Church. Much of it I have to admit to not really liking. This is not an expose, or a critical essay, not at all. I love the meetings and the worship, the instruments and singing, I love a good sermon. But there is a lot of hype and flash, and a false front that goes along with it in our culture, as well. I want to see that replaced… not on a large wholesale scale,but on the local level, as groups of like-minded individuals meet together and prioritize the love and honor that is meant to be woven into the fabric of the koinonia “communion by intimate participation” meeting of sincere believers in Christ.

    No local churches in mind, these thoughts were mostly inspired by the inability to watch more than a little of some Christian TV lately… and simply thinking about what is endemic to many of the types of churches that I attend. Christianity in its foundational aspects is beautiful. The encrustations of some of the worst things we humans have done to it need to come off. I think that best describes the thing I’d like to say here.

    The Hollywood look cast aside, the toothy smile of the salesmen turned off, replaced with sincerity, reality, humility.

    That is what I want to aim for living, encouraging and cultivating in my culture and relationships. I often see a conflict between values and traditions internally, but I truly want the sincere form to come to the fore and the hyper materialistic and self promoting one to fade into the vapor.

    The Throwaway Society

    I find it tragic that we have moved from being merely cavalier about making everything disposable to becoming empty users of other people. We have whole segments of our society that we consider nothing more than something to use up and then throw away. As though a soul is no more than an old tissue. Wipe up and toss.

    And right now I am thinking of the “we” as Christians. God knows the painful state of the rest of humanity. God knows; and when I catch even a glimpse of His heart, its pain is too much for my soul. I cannot look upon our inhumanity to each other. I can’t face it.

    Whole people are considered useless and burdensome, Dirtied and spoiled.

    But that is not God’s attitude, view, or valuation. Where have we failed to see as God sees? And why? Why are we throwing away precious souls? Did it start with rationalizing abortion? or earlier? Did it start with valuing our belongings as more important than the humans around us and in our families? Is it rooted in trashing our Christian teaching and morality? Not our country’s ‘morality’, OURS, our personal mode of valuing and treating others. The Church’s teaching, value standard, and morality. Did we toss out our love and compassion…and now we think nothing of turning our backs on those who hunger for the love of God? Forsaking the mandate that we clothe them in the restored innocence of the garments of salvation. Why aren’t we throwing these garments over their naked wounded bodies?

    Why do we think we are serving God when we can’t love? When we reject even our brothers and sisters who aren’t what we want them to be?
    …let alone those outside the walls of the Church.

    It isn’t the message of a false tolerance, an indifference that lets death creep into every vein while we use up what there is for our own designs. Don’t mistake that real love for others has anything to do with sickening and stinking philosophies that crush souls into the politically correct machinery that is called love by our throwaway society- the origination of the users and abusers who seduce simple souls into the web of their agendas. That isn’t the place of refuge and peace. That is more like Hotel California.

    But it also isn’t the empty promises of a hypocritical church. Of us as hypocrites who mouth words of love and strike with swords of division and hatred… while refusing to call it hatred. No, let’s call it self protection, just preserving our self existence. Yes, let’s call it that.

    Do you… for one moment… think that God is smug and comfortable alongside you as you lay waste to others and reject them while you gather so festively in your own small tribal feasts?

    It is time to gather them in. It is time to invite in the broken and marred. Welcome the scarred and the pierced. The maimed and despairing, the ones forgotten and disposed of…. by the throwaway society.

    Hunters of God… it is time you appeared. Not to wage war and bring down, but to go searching and catch the fearful and fleeing and tell them…. there is sanctuary. there is a safe place, and a place to find shelter and healing, and compel them to hear that they are loved, they are wanted….

    Before the final darkness falls.

    Where is the Church going now?

    Inspired by reading Joe Carter @ First Things, “Are Evangelicals the New Mainline?“. He shared a point from Rodney Stark :

    …one keeps hearing about the “mainline” denominations and this “periphery” called evangelicalism. Well, the periphery is now the mainline, and the mainline is the sideline.

    Which got me thinking.

    Is the Church going “Right” or “Left”, and isn’t that something of a paradox in terms of a straight path?

    From where I stand the Church, the one that will continue to be true to the idea of faith in Jesus Christ, (of gospel salvation as iterated in the scriptures handed down in any available Bible), the mainline Christian stream will be one of characteristics of relationship with God. Not membership in a group, not advocacy of issues or even doctrines, but a living, organic type of experiential life that is expressed as a family relationship. Family being a connection to others through ones connection with God. As such, it cannot be expressed politically. It cannot be “Right” or “Left” in such a form. Not even in ideas such as “Left” or “Liberal” doctrine, or “Right” as fundamental or conservative doctrine.

    There are many Christians who are frightened of such a turn of the tide. Change can be frightening, and often rightly so. But if the change is coming by way of God, we need to assess our attitude towards it.

    I just do not see a foundation for the doctrinal taskmasters to build on in the modern world. This may look a little different than the watershed effect that Francis Schaeffer observed. While there is a watershed, indeed, it no longer looks as if it is pivoted upon doctrinal stances. It looks like it is much more primitive (and I use that word purposefully), based within the actual relationship one has, as individual and then in community, with the Living God through the person of Christ.

    I’m not saying what the people, individually and in community, believe (their doctrine) is not important… but that it will lead to, and come from, the realism of an experience with God. Intellectual communion will no longer have the strength to hold up in the pressures of the world system which is ever bolder in its attack upon ideas of faith in Christ. I might even say that I think that attack increased in power by inequities within the corporate bodies of many Church denominations. There is a sort of deconstruction which is almost complete. It is no longer a battleground for ones expression of faith in the public sector …. it is a battleground on how one lives ones life.

    So I think where the Church is going now is far more personal, and less a corporate identity. And that identity is with a living, resurrected Christ.

    Fight Like This

    I was listening to Radioworshipnet, and that led me to listen to a number of songs by a group, Decyfer Down, on youtube. When I go to this one I started thinking about it in spiritual terms. That is what I do. So, anyway, I thought about the energy in metal music, and the tatts, and all that … I thought about the fight that is before us in our time, in our society, and here are some things that crossed my mind.

    Are Christians training? Are they training for the fight that they are engaged in? are we in fighting form to stand against the stream of destruction as heroin floods our city streets? as death stands near on every street? as the present generation looks for answers and finds our churches singularly lacking? Are we prepared/preparing?

    Well, then I thought about prayer, and I thought about the scars on our souls… like tatts we have of alienated children, of broken relationships, of failed attempts to mirror heaven and counterfeits of the Kingdom of God. And I thought of how we can have that destroy us or turn us into fighting machines… not machines but beings who fight the good fight. Who put as much energy into prayer, into denying our own selfish wills, as much effort into engaging this generation as any band, as any “connection”…. and fighting in a way that is being called for.

    And I don’t think you go into such things with a puffed up confidence in your own strength and ability. I think you go in with a desperation… that you have to win, that everything depends upon it.

    Prayer That Works

    I just had an experience that I thought I would comment on, not because it is new, but because though it has happened enough in the past it gave me a minute of pause and I decided to write about it.

    It goes like this: You pray for someone/something you said you would or that you had on your heart, and felt confidence on all counts (faith, scriptural support, heart fervency, etc) – all those things that a person who prays knows as basis for faith that God hears, and answers. Then, the very thing prayed for seems to suffer some sort of attack that creates some doubt. Did God hear? am I disqualified for some reason? what is going on?

    In this instance I prayed for some people in missions, and my daughter specifically, to be protected particularly in traffic. Whether simultaneously or soon after a report of a serious accident. So, what is going on here? Did this prayer not work or did it work, but in a flawed way. Some people are not going to like the phrasing “prayer working”, but we labor in our prayers, so it seems like a good way to think about this. And James speaks of effectual prayers, effectual meaning “producing an intended effect”.

    While there might be numerous explanations, one that ought to be considered, when a seemingly opposite situation seems to come forward than the one prayed for, is that you have walked into enemy territory. You have started to wage war spiritually. Sometimes the enemy of our souls is used to having dominion over an area, of life, of a family, of a city or nation, and the prayer of a fervent saint is making an inroad of uncomfortable efficacy to take back blessing for the situation prayed for.

    You may be experiencing the resistance of a an evil spiritual power. That is one possibility that you should consider. I believe the Spirit of God can give you insight into whether this is the case in your particular request. There are times when Jesus said we should be encouraged when we see seemingly hostile events taking place.

    In the case of my own prayer, the lives of the people in that accident were kept, even though there was injury. My daughter was not involved though some of her coworkers were. What does this tell me? It tells me that in an area that desperately needs the blessings and freedom of the gospel, prayer for mission workers should be redoubled. That is right- I am encouraged to further pray for protection… to meet resistance with faith in the power of the covenant in Jesus blood. And therein is the key to prayer that works. God honors His covenant in the blood of Jesus. It is our confidence in that that the devil fears, and the enemy of our souls will try to squelch. The gospel (good news) of freedom is the news that a covenant, an everlasting agreement, has been given to us and sealed with the blood of God’s only begotten son. The psalm 91 promises of protection and deliverance are ours in Christ Jesus. When we know that God is pleased to answer us, then our prayer will “work”. Although it is more accurate to say that we know that God is going to act on our behalf.

    I encourage you to pray, and to find what is promised you in the eternal covenant in Christ Jesus for us.