Thoughts Along the Way©

Elaine Mehn

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Over the years of camping by Lake Saiko, we have done a lot of hiking. We even tried to climb Mt. Fuji once – once was more than enough. For most of the years, we climbed a nearby mountain but lack of oxygen, abundant mud, horse droppings, and being out of shape has led us to become committed “flatlanders”. We now hike in the wooded areas around the lake. Although this flatland hiking does not provide breathtaking views of the lake, it does have its own beauty and interest. The lava flows formed interesting shapes that are mostly covered with moss and lichen.  Both the mountain climbing and the flatland investigating are enjoyable.

Over the same years, God has been teaching me to pray. (I still have a great deal to learn – my fault not His.) I have been learning that in prayer there are times that feel like I am climbing a mountain wondering if I can keep going. Can my spiritual lungs pull in enough faith oxygen to trust God through the struggle. When the struggle is passed, I see the beautiful view of God’s hand at work.

There have also been times that have called me to prayer without the extreme struggle. God has graciously shown His care and power as I have gone along with Him. These have been times of resting in His grace and exploring Him.

Are some of us called to climb spiritual mountains in prayer while others are called to walk along level paths? I don’t think so. I think we are to do both. There are times of intense prayer and times of daily trusting. Both are the blessing from God as learn more and more to look to Him in the mountain circumstances of life and in the everyday normalities. It surprises me how often I find the extreme times of prayer easier than the every day prayer needs. I am so much more aware of my need for God to work in the former while I mistakenly think that I can handle the latter without bothering God. Prayer is not a bother for Him and should not be a bother for us. Learning to pray as a flatlander prepares me for mountain climbing prayer. Praying up the mountains encourages my faith as I walk through life with Christ.

Prayer: Father, I am so thankful that You have given us the opportunity to come to You with not only the big problems of life but with even our everyday hopes and dreams and struggles. Continue to teach me the importance of prayer as well as the joy of prayer. Give my heart a burden to pray for others and not just for myself. Broaden my view of the world and its need of Your grace and mercy.

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