Thursday, October 05, 2006

Retooling my Focus

Yesteday's class was crap. Even though I was feeling great and had an open mind and positive attitude towards class, it was a trememdous let down. In fact, thus far, the course has been terrible. It's been so bad that even one of the most studious guys in the class is zoning out, which isn't a good sign.

The only redeeming factors of class yesterday was having lunch with a good buddy of mine, Allen, and part 2 of a 3 part "series" on preaching. We talked about the story in Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestles with the angel. The story tells of Jacob interacting with the angel and asks for a blessing. They wrestle all night, and Jacob doesn't let up until he finally gets the blessing he asks for. I've gotten my fair share of sermons on this passage, and the recurring theme is 'if you wrestle long enough, you'll be blessed by God. So persevere, and good things will come to you.' But in our discussion yesterday, we came up with a different conclusion. Although Jacob was wrestling with God and wouldn't let go until he received his blessing, the blessing that was given wasn't for Jacob alone. As we watch this blessing continue through the entire biblical text, we can see how far this blessing reaches and how many people experience this blessing. Although our individualistic society makes us think this is a selfish request, Jacob's wrestling with God for this blessing was for something bigger than ourselves.

As I reflected upon this, it's made me wonder how many times I've "wrestled" with God for selfish requests. I began counting the times I've told myself to be persistent enough so that these prayers would be heard, all the while I've missed the bigger picture. Although my prayers have been rather selfish, I want to put them aside and take on prayers with Kingdom significance. I desire to pray for blessings that will reach further than my limited existence. I yearn to see prayers of freedom to the oppressed come to fruition. I long for prayers of peace to come to the war torn places around the world. I want my prayers to be for love to go to the unloved, hope to go to the hopeless, and release to go to the captives. I pray too for Beasley. I pray that the tiny community we have aptly name the Freeway will be a place of sanctuary, a place of healing, a place of abundant love, and unending compassion and perseverance for the hurting, the orphans, the widows, the addicts, the poor, and the hopeless.

What's your prayer?


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