God provided a million dollars in just a few months. But before I get to that let me back up a bit. Not long ago our ministry was given a multi-million dollar property. The possibilities of having groups at this beautiful mountain location to train and equip people in the Great Commission and hosting conferences and retreats swirled in our minds. But as we toured the site, we discovered that of the five-building ranch, one of the buildings needed to be torn down and the others were falling down because the foundation had not been built properly.
The design was beautiful. Antler chandeliers, trendy paint and trim and even custom wood floors. Yet, it was completely unusable because someone had neglected the most important thing-the foundation.
We prayed and decided that if the Lord provided a million dollars to bring it up to code in three months we would adopt the ranch. And what do you know, God provided every cent that was needed just in the nick of time. It took years of hard work to get it to get it to a place it could be used and fruitful for God’s kingdom.
The ranch is a physical picture of many people’s spiritual condition. It’s easy to make things look nice on the outside all the while not working to make sure our foundation with the Lord is solid. Without a strong foundation, our roots are shallow and we cannot withstand the pressure when the torrential rain and wind of hard times comes.
Would you describe your relationship with God as deeply personally and thriving or is it something you’d like to grow in? If you’d like to grow and have a thriving, fruit-bearing relationship with God, there are four elements, or disciplines to incorporate regularly into your life.
These are not things you do to earn acceptance by God. For if you have surrendered your life to Him, you are already fully accepted, loved and valued by God. These disciplines are more like the laws of the universe. When A happens, B happens. Or like an apple tree that needs soil, water and sun in order to grow before it produces fruit. Our relationship with God needs four relational elements or disciplines: connecting with Him through His Word, prayer, talking about God to Christians (fellowship) and talking about God to non-Christians (evangelism).
1. Connecting with God through Prayer
Years ago I had a conflict with someone in the church I served at. This other person also served there and one Sunday morning the first words spoken to me after walking in the door were crushing and mean.
Back up a couple hours. I had been so hurt by this same person the previous week and a handful of other people that I didn't want to go to church and have to see them. But I clung to, "I go to serve, not to be served." and I laid down my right of being treated well.
So when I forced myself to walk through the doors and the first words I heard struck my heart I couldn't take it, I walked out.
For the next two hours I went on a giant walk and prayed, "God, you tell them what you think of me!!" (Not in the a sweet gracious tone, but a sick em God! tone). My heart was angry and bitter and I wanted them to get it from God. I wanted them to hurt like I was.
As I continued praying the Lord told me to pray for him. To really pray for him, to pray the hardest thing for me to pray. It took what seemed like an eternity to get to a place I was even willing to pray the best for him but with the Lord's help, I did. Not that I actually wanted the best for him, but I was willing to pray it. So I did. I prayed for God to bless his ministry someday. For me that was the hardest thing to pray because in my mind he didn't deserve to get to serve the Lord (as if anyone does! Silly Laura).
The craziest thing happened when I really prayed for him. My heart changed. My hate and bitterness and anger toward him began to dissolve. The following week, this guy who had never said sorry to anyone in his entire life came up to me and apologized and gave me a hug. I was stunned.
Prayer helped me yield to the Lord and gave room for Him to do the impossible.
Ideas for incorporating Prayer into your everyday busy life: (Please don't see this as a you have to do it all list. Ask God if there is one of these that you can incorporate into your everyday life.)
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has six kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 14 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, A Devotional Journey through Judges, and Discover God's Calling for Your Life. Most recently her resource for Bible studies, The Connect Cards was released by Cru Press. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram, periscope, blab and her author site.