Cultivate Series

Cultivate / / P R A Y E R

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In some seasons of life, I hate being alone. And when I’m forced to be out of necessity, I pretend I’m not by getting online or playing some distracting music.

For me, this has always been a tell-tale sign that I’m running from something in my spirit. There’s something I refuse to face, or confess; something I need to acknowledge but won’t. Being alone, just you and God, is an essential part of our spiritual walk. It not only illuminates sin and gives room for sweet confession, but it shows God that we want to be with him, and we care enough about the world to pray for it.

The following is an excerpt from Tim Kellers book Prayer.

The seventeenth-century English theologian John Owen wrote a warning to popular and successful ministers:

“A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more.”

To discover the real you, look at what you spend time thinking about when no one is looking, when nothing is forcing you to think about anything in particular. At such moments, do your thoughts go toward God? You may want to be seen as a humble, unassuming person, but do you take the initiative to confess your sins before God? You wish to be perceived as a positive, cheerful person, but do you habitually thank God for everything you have and praise him for who he is? You may speak a great deal about what a "blessing" your faith is and how you "just really love the Lord," but if you are a prayerless - is that really true? If you aren't joyful, humble, and faithful in private before God, then what you want to appear to be on the outside won't match what you truly are.

Just prior to giving his disciples the Lord's Prayer, Jesus offered some preliminary ideas, including this one: "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. . . But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen . . . in secret" (Matt 6:5-6). The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life.

What a beautiful and humbling place to be alone before God with none of our friends, phones, or worldly status' beside us. Let's enter into that place with him this Easter weekend.

 

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Cultivate / / W O N D E R

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I remember how I felt driving up to it. It was the most beautiful wooden bridge I had ever seen. And we were there at the perfect moment, just as the sun was turning everything vibrant. The river ran full and blue, littered with rocks to jump on. The wood was a deep brown with a sturdy frame.We left our sleeping baby in his car seat and practically ran around exploring, capturing it with photos, laughing at how crazy of a discovery this was, and tucking the moment into our hearts.  

won·der

/wəndər/

noun

      1. a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. synonyms: awe, admiration, wonderment, fascination.

Wonder is such an essential feeling to have; one we should never grow too old to feel. It is good for us. It reminds us to be grateful, and comforts us with the knowledge that there is something out there bigger than ourselves and the worries we carry around. Wonder reminds us of our dreams, and gives us the feeling that anything is possible! And ultimately, it compels us to praise our God - the one who created it and led us to this spot at just the right time. Which is why our wonder is good for God too.

The same feeling I got watching my husband hopping along the rocks in the river is the exact feeling God gets when we stand in wonderment at something he created. The joy we get when someone dear to us experiences something they love is an unbelievable feeling! And I believe that's why God places those places and experiences in our path - because He wants us to experience joy, beauty, and ultimately be drawn closer to Him, where we belong.

Wonder is not only a feeling that happens unexpectedly, but one we should cultivate, one we can almost plan. Yes, sometimes wonderment is something that hits you out of nowhere like the first time you catch a glimpse of Half Dome, or staring down at the Grand Canyon, or the ocean at golden hour. But I believe wonder can (and should) be a lifestyle. When we are grateful and take time to focus on something beautiful and or new, awe can come as a natural overflow of the heart. Dreaming big and praising God like we were meant to.

That is why my family will always seek adventure. Whether from a wooden bridge at golden hour, or the way our son smiles when he wakes up. Wonder can be found in the home or in the big wide world. Go seek it!

Joshua 3:5

Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."

Job 37:5

"God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend.

Isaiah 25:1

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

 

By Olivia Gallagher

 

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