Recently I read the book "Wrestling Prayer" By Eric and Leslie Ludy. (highly recommended, by the way.) In it, they talked about how we are to "travail" in prayer. The word "travail" is often used to describe the pain and... well, labor... of labor.
Watching mama laboring... I realized just how intense travailing is. Mama's entire focus was on getting that baby out. She wasn't distracted by anything else: it didn't matter what was going on in the world, or who was saying what, or anything like that. All of her energy was directed to one end: holding a baby in her arms. There wasn't any option of getting out of it besides going through with the labor and successfully bringing a new life into the world. She was going on at all costs, in spite of the risks, in spite of the pain. For hours she patiently endured. She didn't fight the pain: she worked with it. She knew that the pain she was experiencing was limited, and that there would be a glorious reward at the end. (And wow, is Esther ever a glorious reward. :D) She knew God was working through it all. She knew He had a plan. And she kept focused on the end, the baby--instead of the trial and length and intensity and agony of labor.
That... is how we should pray. Intensely focused, long prayers, with a clear goal in mind. Pressing on in spite of everything. Literally hurting for the people you are praying for. Struggling, wrestling, fighting until the answer comes.
How often can our prayers be described by the word "travail"?
Unfortunately, it is all too rare in my own life... I can remember a few times, perhaps... but it isn't a regular occurrence. Now, obviously, we cannot always pray like this... there are times when we just send up quick prayers as we go about our daily lives-- like I talked about in the Be-bumpy post. But there are times when we need to pray the kind of prayers that can be described by words like "travailing" and "wrestling". These are the kind of prayers that change lives, the kind of prayers that defeat the enemy, the kind of prayers that change the course of the world, the kind that move the hand of God.
So that was one lesson... haha. :D
The next was more of an amazing thought than an actual lesson:
Jesus was born.
No, really, He was BORN. Think about it. That is crazy, folks. The God who made the universe...was born? Unfortunately not many of you know just how... well, messy births are. Beautiful, yes. But messy. Sweaty, bloody... Isn't it amazing that God would humble Himself to the point of being born? Wow... just going through it again (that is the third birth I have been at), watching it unfold... I was amazed that my God would do that.
One thought I had while she was being born was that birth is a picture of salvation... we must be "born again". It isn't exactly easy and pain free to be born. Nor is it wholly dependent on you.
Another lesson was just to see how completely helpless and dependent Esther is on mama (and us)... for everything. Food, clothing, comfort, warmth, cleanliness, life... literally everything. That is how we should be with our Heavenly Father. He is the one we must look to for everything... the only One who can truly meet all our needs. He is the one who gives us life-- and everything else.
|Esther being her adorable, kissable, helpless self.|
There are many other things that I have been learning... some related to this, and some from other sources. Eventually they will all make it to this blog... but you'll have to wait. (Isn't it nice of me to give you all a chance to learn patience? ;))