I love C. S. Lewis’ writings. Especially the Chronicles of Narnia series. I recently finished (started a long time ago and got distracted) The Horse and His Boy. It was a little confusing to me. I couldn’t figure out what any of it had to do with Narnia because the majority of the book is centered on a boy from land I’d never heard of and a talking horse (because we are talking about C. S. Lewis here!)
The horse talks the boy into running away from a harsh taskmaster – the only “family” the boy has ever known. And so it goes through adventures and mysterious happenings. It wasn’t until I reached close to the end that I got it. (Aren’t all good books like that?) This book was written about me! Well, not me specifically, but it could have been.
My whole life thinking things were just like broken pieces of a puzzle that didn’t fit together…like rocks that skipped along haphazardly only to become forgotten stones on an obscure path.
But that wasn’t it at all! The events of my life had been tied together and carefully watched over by the King of all Lions.
Sadly, I know I’m not alone. How many of us feel like we have been splashed across life in haphazard ways with no real meaning or lasting value to it all. BUT IT IS NOT SO! If we could see from an unnatural perspective, we would realize the natural is not always as it seems. There is so much more.
I have found the way to tap into that unnatural perspective. Prayer.
I used to think prayer was just me telling God what perhaps He didn’t know. Or that prayer was begging God for things I really needed (so I thought!) and unless I “prayed” for them they wouldn’t come to me.
Thankfully, that is not what prayer is all about!
I’ve heard prayer described as a conversation between us and God. It’s that intimate time that we get to spend with God alone – no one else is there – just me and God – no interruptions.
Prayer is “getting to the heart of God on a matter” and when praying for others “hearing God’s heart for someone else.”
So how does that play out? Do we just start talking to thin air and expect God to materialize or something shocking to suddenly happen around us? I have found that neither is true. For me, it is meditating on Scripture like Hebrews 12:3 “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” or Exodus 15:11 “Who is like you among the gods, O Lord? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” or the astounding Ephesians 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us…in love he predestined us to be adopted as his [children]” that awakens my spirit to focus on Him more clearly.
Once my focus is right, then I ask to see Him as He is. I ask to hear Him – what does He want to say to me, right now, this very moment?
After I spend a lot of time meditating on Him and Who He is (using Scripture or reminding myself of His characteristics I’ve learned through study of Scripture) I have learned that I must remind myself who is in charge – or Who should be! I verbally submit to His rule and reign. “Your Kingdom come [now!], Your will be done.” I submit to My Father – Jesus, My King – and the rule and reign of the Holy Spirit in every area of my life. Without this step, what right do I have to ask anything? Usually, this is about the time I remember (or He reminds me in my spirit) things I’ve done or said that offend Him. I have found it’s really hard to truly submit and move on to the conversation with God without addressing such matters.
Invariably, my wrongdoing keeps coming up in the conversation so it’s much better to just hit those head on now.
Confession is simply agreeing with God. “Yes, I agree that saying what I said (or thinking what I thought, or doing what I did) is offensive to you – not to mention a slap in the face considering all You have done for me.” At this point, I have to decide to turn away from it (repent) and receive forgiveness. Probably one of the most amazing and beautiful verses in the Bible is 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Wow. Just a simple process of confession and agreeing to turn away from something brings us the assurance of forgiveness and a thorough cleansing. This is such a liberating and powerful part of prayer!
I cannot keep myself clean. I so need the power of God to do that great work in me.
Once I have the main priorities in order: remembering Who God really is, reminding myself Who should be in charge, aligning myself with the truth of those first 2 points – then I start the conversation with God. I address things that are on my mind that I can’t find solutions to or that just don’t make sense. I ask for wisdom for how to deal with a difficult situation or person. I acknowledge Him in all my ways and lean not on my on understanding (Proverbs 3:5,6) I ask Him to teach me His way so I can do better (Psalm 86:11) and I cast all my cares on Him (1 Pet 5:7) by sharing all my concerns with Him with thanksgiving that He hears and will answer (Phil 4:6,7). Finally, I spend time thanking Him for what He has already done or shown me and in faith, for what He will reveal today.
What I have discovered is that somewhere between the meditating on Him and the clearing up of my offenses, I find that unearthly view opening up for me.
It’s like a veil is lifted and I can “see” in a mental, spiritual and emotional sense another side to everything – me, others, and especially to Him.
But this only comes when I take the time and make the effort to get my focus in His direction.
Finally, I come to the conclusion: I am (and so are you) in a battle with forces of evil! We must be aware and prepared. We arm up with the weapons of warfare He gives us in Ephesians 6 and prepare ourselves. Truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, faith and His Word are our weapons! Take them up and destroy strongholds, arguments and every lofty thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God and take very thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)! This is how we get dressed for the day. This is how we see miracles happen in our lives and in the lives of others. We battle by praying for ourselves and others.
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6)
I have experienced miracles like Shasta experienced in The Horse and His Boy. Amazing understandings of how things work together for good: times I had no idea I was being protected and cared for when all along He was there, times I thought I was about to be overcome by an enemy when really it was Him pointing me in the right direction, times I thought I was completely lost when I was exactly where I needed to be, times when I thought I just couldn’t go on when someone provided exactly what I needed at the right second I needed it, times I encountered the King of Lions and thought I might be consumed but instead came away with great understanding and direction, times when I’ve been floored with the goodness of a powerful and deeply loving Father I didn’t know was mine.
It’s all there just waiting for us to enter into the mystery.
Prayer: It will be your greatest adventure!