Monday, May 19, 2014

Am I Prepared to Bow Before You?

“My Lord, my God, I humbly bow my head and place myself in Your holy presence. I know I want to be here with You and yet sometimes, I hesitate because I feel I am not ready and I am unprepared to bow before You, to open my heart and to receive all You wish to send me. The enemy clouds my mind with these thoughts of unworthiness and unpreparedness. Are we ever truly ready to bow in Your presence? Ready by our standards is so far from ready by Your standards.
“You say to come to You all those who are weary and need rest. I foolishly think I am too tired to hear and absorb Your words, I think my exhaustion clouds my understanding - I will wait until I am rested. I forget that it is in the state of exhaustion that I am most ready to hear Your voice, too tired to listen any more to the distracting voices of the world and hungry for the clear sound of Your truth. I forget that You will give me the rest I need in my heart and soul as I bow before You. Your rest is far more effective than my rest. You rejuvenate my soul and invigorate my heart to pick up my mat and rise again.
“You say come to me those who are sad and mourning and wish for joy and peace. I foolishly think I am too focused on my own sadness to come before You. I think I must not bring my self love and self pity before You. I think that I alone can take me out of myself and that secretly feeds my pride. I also try to hide my sadness, I think I have no right to be sad, but by trying to look away from the sadness, to suppress it somehow instead of facing it with You, I bind myself to the sorrow and remain self serving. I forget that You want to take my sadness and help me grow with it, transforming me and turning my gaze from inward to upward to You. You beg me to come to You with that sadness and mourning so that You can illuminate its cause and transform it into joy.
“You say to come to You all those who are lost and let You light the path You have chosen for them. You earnestly call out to me especially when I am lost, despondent, wandering, questioning, wondering how to take the next step and to recognize the path You wish for me. I foolishly think I am too confused and scattered in my thoughts to bow my head and listen. I foolishly think that somehow, I can turn myself in the right direction first and then I will find You. My pride becomes my guide instead of You and I foolishly wait to ask for Your help until I am really lost in the dark. I forget that You cry out to me long before I try to find my own way, to guide me before I become lost or unsure of which way to go.
“You say to come to You all those who stumble and fall so that You can lift them up. I foolishly hesitate as my pride tells me I shouldn’t have fallen in the first place. Somehow, I think I am supposed to be better than that and yet, I forget the humility that joins us all as sinners who frequently fall. No, You don’t want us to fall but You know that we will and You want to help us, to cover us in Your mercy so You can lift us up again and again. When I fall, I am reminded of how much I need You. If I don’t turn to You when I fall, then I foolishly think I don’t need You and I try to step up on my own.
“Oh dear Lord, though I never feel prepared to bow before You, help me always to run to You. Help me to bring the worst of me and to place it at the foot of Your cross and to ask for Your loving touch. That is all the preparation I need. Help me to avoid “over preparing” myself. Instead, may my preparation be simply to allow myself to be transformed by You, with You, before You, in You. The only preparation I need is to bow my head and humbly say, “God I need You.”

Holy Encounter

                “My Lord, my God, I kneel before You, close my eyes and slowly shed all that I have placed upon myself. I don’t need any of it; it simply blocks my view of You and disrupts our intimate connection. The external facade I sometimes think I need to wear in public actually blocks Your holy light from shining out of me. I take it off, like a mask, because it is of my own creation, not Yours. I place it on the ground and ask You to take it away. I don’t need it. I humbly kneel before You now as I truly am, without any mask or self-made designs. All my strengths and weaknesses are clearly obvious, but they are what make me who I am. You know them all and yet You love me anyway. Let the intense love I feel for You well up inside my soul, permeate my entire being and may that love clothe me instead. It is much more genuine, beautiful, pure and able to show Your glory then what I could ever create for myself. Let people clearly see Your love shining within me and let them be drawn to that.
                “As I humbly kneel before You, I shed all my outer senses. My external hearing simply distracts me from Your voice. I turn off my outer volume and tune in my inner hearing to the one voice of truth and love. I don’t want to hear anything that comes from the current “world;” it is a distorted version of Your Word – like Your voice covered in static. Your true voice is pure, gentle, sweet and speaks only love. In this silence, I close my eyes and turn off all external vision. It too is distorted and full of distraction and imperfection. I wait in the darkness for You to turn on the light of the Holy Spirit in my soul. From the blackness, I see a reddish yellow light slowly permeating the corner of my inner vision, like a sunrise gently lighting the sky. It gets brighter and brighter, causing me to blink with my eyes closed. The warmth of the light spills over my body like a silken summer rain. My internal sense of touch feels the warmth grow both from within and around me. The warmth comforts me and fills me with great peace. As I breathe slowly, my sense of smell goes numb at first and then becomes acutely aware of the scent of incense. In this precious moment, I remain suspended. There is no sense of time or space; gone are the thoughts of what to do today, what to do this week, or this year. My life is momentarily suspended in this encounter of pure love. Nothing else matters, we are intimately connected in adoration. I can’t move. I don’t want to more. You tell me, “I am always here.” I breathe in Your love and I exhale Your love. As I slowly become aware of my external senses, they seem all fine-tuned, cleansed and focused on finding You in the world and in the people You created.
                “My Lord, my God, I am overwhelmed and very grateful for this encounter with You. I have no words to express what You have placed in my heart. I pray that I will always remember this encounter and return to this way of union again and again. Oh Lord, I humbly rise and walk, clothed in Your love, a vessel of Your Holy Spirit, and a beacon of Your light.”