Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Breath of Prayer

by Cathy Baker

{ Day 24 } 

“I drove away from my mind everything capable of spoiling the sense of the presence of God. I just make it my business to persevere in His holy presence. My soul has had an habitual, silent, secret conversation with God.” -Brother Lawrence

The habitual, silent, secret conversation is a stealth weapon residing in the soul of a believer, wielding power with but one breath. 

In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 
and I answered the king…”
Nehemiah 2:1-5a

Nehemiah inhales prayer and exhales action. A “breath” prayer, if you will.

Nehemiah valued his relationship with God, so he spent time with Him—talking, asking, and most importantly, listening. This foundation of prayer released a current of godly wisdom and discernment that could be drawn from at a moment’s notice.  

When in constant communion with God, breath prayers rise as natural as a chest drawing in air.

In 2013, I wrote the brief post Befriending, Not Depending, On Breath Prayers for it’s the habit of prayer that empowers the silent, secret conversation with God, not the other way around. 

Staying in Step with the Spirit: Prayer ushers us immediately into the presence of a holy God and loving Father. No greater way of staying in step with Him exists.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of prayer. Please forgive us when we say we love You with our lips but don’t reflect it in our actions, beginning with prayer. Help us to grasp the magnitude of Your goodness and holiness as we reflect on this costly privilege.

Is there some way I can pray for you today? I would count it a privilege. 

One Question Changes Everything

What does God want me to know or learn through this situation? 

When Carole, a godly woman in our life group, shared how she often asks herself this question, it was obvious why wisdom follows her wherever she goes. This one question befriended her through the untimely death of her husband a few years ago and a host of everyday situations since.

It’s a simple but profound question grounded in two truths:

  • God wants us to know Him and His ways. (John 17:3) It’s proclaimed throughout scripture and most vividly seen through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Because of Him, we can enjoy a relationship with our heavenly Father.
  • There is purpose in all things. (Romans 8:28) We won’t always understand situations but knowing that God allowed it to sift through His loving hands for our good and for His glory brings unspeakable comfort and peace.

When we ask God the question What would You have me to know or learn through this situation? we are revealing that our feet are firmly planted in truth, our heart is bent towards His, and that our arms are lifted high in praise, confident that our heavenly Father will not only answer but will do so generously. 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  James 1:5

Go ahead. Ask—and then wait and watch expectantly! (James 1:6)

Trading Bitterness for Blessings

I’d not passed it in months.
Now I pass it every Sunday morning.
“It” is the church we left under difficult circumstances in 2008.
It was a church we loved.

When we drove away that April morning, our Christ-knit “family” wasn’t the only thing left behind. The dust cloud also included my dream job and creative ministries I loved, so to say the departure was difficult would be a vast understatement.

And yet…I’m reminded every time I pass the church that, although we now differ theologically, there’s no doubt that it’s full of people who know, love, and pursue Christ— and for that, I rejoice. 

I believe it was Charles Stanley who said you know you’ve completely forgiven someone when you can pray God’s blessings for them, and I believe this to be true. Don’t believe me? Try it.
Now, when I pass by each Sunday morning, I pray wisdom, discernment, and blessings for their staff and the body. I desire God’s best for them.

Does a twinge of disappointment remain? Absolutely. But I’ll take that twinge over the lasting sting of bitterness any day. 

Am I alone here? Perhaps there’s a family member, friend, co-worker, pastor, or church body that needs you to trade in your bitterness for blessings. You’ll both be blessed and God will be glorified through your obedience. Go for it!

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and
anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind
and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in
Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

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