looking through me

Tag: faith

pondering prayer

I know I can pray for things that matter to me, that are personal, that I want . . . but it’s hard. They’re difficult words for me to say.

When—if—I pray for myself, I string together generalities laced with caveats and disclaimers. But yesterday I cut through the fluff. I asked God to not only meet a need I’ve been praying about for others but to show me if maybe I had a role in it. And asking that meant admitting I wanted to have a role in it. I wanted to be a part. I said the words. Out loud.

In that moment I learned what I already knew: God knows what I want, even if I haven’t voiced it. But He is a patient, patient God. He doesn’t rush to the response before the request.

I cry out in general terms, “have mercy on me!”

But when a blind man uttered the same words, Jesus didn’t heal his specific need in response to his general petition. Jesus knew the unspoken request, yet He asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And He waited for Bartimaeus to articulate his deepest desire—”Rabbi, I want to see”—before He healed him.

Jesus’ commentary cuts to the heart of my struggle: “your faith has healed you.”*

Asking for mercy doesn’t take much faith. It’s vague enough to sound spiritual without risking anything. It’s unmeasurable.

Asking for restored eyesight—and believing it will be provided—takes tremendous faith.

It can feel self-centered and selfish to pray for myself. And maybe it is. Yet at the same time I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed if the answer is no, so it feels safer not to ask.

But perhaps praying for myself is less about the size of my ego and more about the depth of my faith.




*Mark 10:46-52


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cloud of witnesses

My eyes drifted east to the clouds piled in a heap on top of the mountains. Giant tentacles stretched out of it, thick offshoots snaking westward across the sky.

Directly beneath it the sun began to rise. A fiery flush of coral washed over the gray. Second by second the warm blush swept down the cloudy arms. The morning sky came alive.

Its brilliance infiltrated my prayer for our church, “Would You make us like that cloud—reflecting the Son’s glory—taking people’s breath away and drawing them to You? . . . Could we be like that? Could we be a cloud of witnesses?”

Oh! Is that what a cloud of witnesses looks like? I’d always pictured a solitary, massive column, an overwhelming thunderhead. I’d projected an ominous edge to the cloud—I don’t know why—but this . . . this was glorious. The incomparably richer reality before me reshaped the image in my mind.

By the time I pulled into my parking spot at work the cloud had faded to standard gray against an average morning sky. The radiance was gone, but the impression—the vision—remained.

The cloud is just a cloud, but the cloud in communion with the sun is breathtaking.

The church is just a bunch of people, but the church in communion with the Son is altogether holy. Lit by His magnificence, reflecting it outward, we become a living mystery—His constant canvas, His cloud of witnesses—drawing the eyes of others beyond ourselves to Him.

We do it imperfectly. Our glow fades, our unity wavers, our focus falters, our cloud drifts, and yet His mercies are new every morning.

Our mission is clear. Our Hope is here. Our Son is risen.


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