Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Twix? No Thanks - I'm Praying with Honesty

Do you remember the candy bar commercial where the child is embarrassing the parents by saying inappropriate things?  It was something like, “Daddy, his nose isn’t brown.” Or to the bride “My Mommy said she can’t believe you are wearing white.” The parent quickly shoves a candy bar in their mouth, a Twix bar I think.

That commercial came to mind last night as I was reading what is quickly becoming one of my favorite Bible studies, “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller. It truly is changing my prayer life. As I was making notes for this devotional, I could feel God nudging me to make my prayer life like the beginning stages of writing a devotional. The beginning stages basically consist of putting every thought or idea on paper. I don’t worry about the grammar, the flow, or editing out the bad ideas. Everything goes on the paper and then I sort it out.

So many times I’ve become frustrated while praying because the distractions and concerns of the world crowd in on my thoughts. If I had been sitting there talking with my Papaw I would have simply voiced them to see what he thought. Yet for some reason when they pop into my mind during prayer I waste time wrestling with pushing them away.

In his book, Paul E. Miller explains our problem with praying as, “What’s the problem? We’re trying to be spiritual, to get it right. We know we don’t need to clean up our act in order to become a Christian, but when it comes to praying, we forget that. We, like adults, try to fix ourselves up. In contrast, Jesus wants us to come to Him like little children, just as we are.”

I believe I will challenge myself, and you, to take the Twix bar out of His little girl’s (boy’s) mouth and speak freely. Of course, I do believe in praying the Word over our lives. But much like the sorting out phase of writing, those words come after we’ve gotten it all out on the table.

Ephesians 6:18 NIV

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Hmmm, I wonder if this can transform my prayer life from one that is always interrupted by life to a life that is always interrupted by prayer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Casting Down Imaginations

By the end of our hyperbaric treatments, we may be calling Ryan “Stretch.” The pictures just don’t do his length justice. This was the stretching time just after Tuesday's morning dive, dive 22. I can’t believe how tall he is. Even just sitting in his wheelchair he seems so much taller and stronger. Ryan isn’t the only one being stretched in this process.

The time in the chamber is stretching me as well. I’m feeling more and more accomplished at 2 Corinthians 10: 4 – 5 with every passing treatment in the small chamber.

2 Corinthians 10: 4 - 5
“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

We “chamber parents” have talked about how we could let our minds take us to a state of panic if we didn’t stop them, if we don’t quickly take those anxious thoughts into captivity. While in the confined little chamber it is easy to start thinking about all of the what-ifs. What if the power goes out? What if the technicians left or something happened to them? ......WE'RE TRAPPED!!!!!!

When I briefly entertained those thoughts, I could almost feel my heart rate increase and my chest tighten, leading to a sudden difficulty in breathing. Now that is some imagination, creating difficulty in breathing while in a chamber packed with 100% oxygen.

To ward off those thoughts, I quickly became a fan of Nick Jr., the channel Ryan seems to like best while in the chamber. Miss Spider in Sunny Patch is my favorite. Does anyone else think that maybe the character of Miss Spider’s son, Bounce, might be based on Ryan?

Ok, praying that HBOT will assist with my self-diagnosed ADD.  Back to my "casting down imaginations" point, I pray that I will be able to keep those casting down muscles stretched out and remember what I have learned in the chamber:

1) When my heart begins to race from the what-ifs of life, I need to redirect my attention, not to Sunny Patch, but to God’s word. The most powerful word seems to be whatever He has spoken to me recently. He speaks and what He speaks is relevant to where I am today or where I’m headed so I need to write it down and reflect on it.

2) I’ve realized that when it gets hot in the chamber and Ryan is sprawled across me it triggers anxiety. That has me thinking about the anxiety triggers in life that I need to avoid – fatigue and failing to have quiet time with God are at the top of the list.

.....speaking of fatigue, I better do some avoiding of that anxiety trigger - Good night!  ; )