Part of the Ascension Day Scripture from Acts 11 contains this promise from Jesus;
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised.”
Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety….
So how do you wait and pray?
1. How do you pray best, alone or with others?
Without a doubt… I need others praying with me. But much of the “waiting” is done alone. There is a sense of comfort, though, knowing that I have shared my heart and others are listening.
2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety?
You’ve GOT to be kidding! That’s like saying, “you can’t wait to have a root canal, right?” Uh, no. I hate waiting. I hate not knowing. I hate that period of what seems to be silence from God. I don’t know like not knowing if it is a “no” answer or a “not yet”… when on the waiting side of a situation, they both look like a “no.”
Oh. I am definitely in one now. The tension of “the now and the not yet” of a place to be in ministry. The prophetic knowledge that God has something in mind for me… and not knowing what it is.
What comes to mind and helps me in this waiting zone is to remember the principle of the “fallow fields”. When I was in France last November on a mission trip, I took this picture of a vineyard which looked like a bunch of dead sticks tried to the trellises. I was a symbol to me of the place of rest and fallowness in between periods of blossoming, fruit-bearing and harvest. We forget that in the cycle of ministry, of life, there is this “fallowness” — and when you are there, it just ain’t easy. Because you FEEL like sticks tied to a trellis, not a vine deeply rooted and preparing to yield fruit.
4. Do you prefer stillness or action?
Therein lies the problem of “waiting and praying” for me… I like ACTION, baby! And a lot of the wrestling I have been through over the past few months has been because I have had to WAIT. Ugh.
5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to receive?
Oh no. You’re not getting me on that one. I am NOT going to pray for patience. Every time I do, I get handed a shipload of situations to practice it!! Truthfully, the desire of my heart is to be wise. And you only get that by experiencing life… sigh… so there’s no short cut but listening, learning, watching, praying… failing… and trying again.
Blessings to all as we wait!