Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Come On, Ring Those Bells!

This is a familiar Christmas song, as I listen to songs of the season while I work... feeling like one of Santa’s elves as I help show appreciation for the people who support Young Life...and praying for people the music brings to mind while I work away, cozy and warm, happy to do it.

Another familiar experience in this season is the Christmas classic "A Wonderful Life". The bell rings; an angel gets its wings, right? And that brings me back to my original thought. This year I’ve tried to add more Practicing the Presence of God, (thank you, Brother Lawrence!) being more aware of God’s being present at all times, whether I’m alone with Him, or aware of the Holy Spirit when gathered with Christian friends.

Part of that practice has become the habit of praying for each person He brings into "my space". Sometimes that’s easy; sometimes it’s hard. It’s easy when a tearful friend shares from his heart about a painful experience, hard when someone behaves in a way that says, "You’re old, and don’t matter anymore. Get out of my way!" or worse, "You’re invisible. I can ignore you. You don’t count."

And finally, when I want to remember to continue to pray for someone and their circumstances, I look for something like the bell ringing in the movie. When I see a toy, I remember to pray for my son, who works in a toy store, is frustrated by parents who let their kids destroy books and toys, and just walk away, and is also suffering from clinical depression, and unwilling to get help. Kind of a sad thing to pray about when I see a toy, but hey, it draws me to prayer, so it’s a good thing.

I have a printout of a family whose wife and mother has stage-four cancer. The kids are three teens and a five-year-old. This is a young and beautiful mother who is the center of her family’s life. I have the picture posted on my cork board in my office, a smaller one tucked into my morning readings book, so at least twice a day their faces are "in my face"; another sad but good thing.

I just take it for granted now that if someone walks into my office, it’s a divine appointment. So many times, just being in a "listening" attitude opens the opportunity to ask, "Can I pray with you/for you about that?" You’d be amazed how often that happens. I am. Just by being aware of His gentle voice and "nudges".

Maybe you will want to try this "trigger" method of remembering to be in conversation all day with our loving heavenly Father. He speaks to me all day, every day, when I am listening. Is this what Paul was talking about when he said, "Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Do you have other ways of being drawn to prayer? Maybe you would be willing to share those with us. Just jot some thoughts in an email to me, and we’ll share them with our EHA family. God’s blessings in this blessed season, as we celebrate the Christ child’s arrival once again, and . . .

Come on, ring those bells!!

Mary Hagle

Editor, The House

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