Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer

Life interrupted by Priscilla Shirer is a book based on Jonah’s life/book. 

We’ve all heard of Jonah and his adventures with the big fish that swallowed him. Its what we know of the guy. 

But in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have thought of his life journey the way the author has been revealed to. It ceases from being some prophet-who-was-swallowed-by-a-fish-for-3-days to my story. It has opened me up and dissected my point of view eternally. 

The biggest lesson I learnt from it was this; what I consider Life Interruptions are actually  God’s Interventions. You know the way we were living life, having good days and bad days but with a routine of some sorts and a rhythm, then something happens and we start asking, Why and For how long? And for the life of us we just can’t fathom why God would allow us to go through what we are going through. It seems not only painful and hard, but also very unnecessary. Like really God?

And through Jonah’s life we see that God has divinely interrupted our lives for His own reasons. And if His word is anything to go by, then its for our own good. God loves us too much to leave us ‘like that’. Like that meaning- with our current mindsets, way of life and maturity. He desires us to mature in Him, and sometimes, that won’t happen if the status quo in our lives remain. Sometimes that change can only occur when our lives are disrupted. 

There are desert lessons we can’t be equipped with while swimming in the ocean. Survival lessons that can only be taught practically. There are aspects of God that we can only experience and prove to be true while down in pits we are not sure we’ll make out of. 

Which helped me internalize James chapter 1. Count it all joy when you encounter trials of various kinds.. I used to think that verse meant, me going through a hard patch while still having joy in my heart. Like the way patients in hospitals smile or laugh. 

But now I realise its deeper than that.  The moment you understand that trials aren’t God’s ways of punishing you but God’s refinery of molding you, then at the onset of every trial, you will count it all joy for you know that here God comes to make you a better person. 

You remember the way we used to be excited to move from one class to another? The first few weeks of first term were joyful to say the least. But after a while we got used to it. The excitement wore off. And life interruptions/divine interventions are like being moved to the next class in the middle of second term. Just because you didn’t anticipate it shouldn’t dim the joy of moving up. After all, it means your teacher(God) has deemed you learnt enough in your current class to be ripe for the next category. 

I could go on and on about this considering how I whine when I feel as if my life isn’t going the way I thought it should. But slowly God is changing my perception. 

And speaking of perceptions, the author drove her point home concerning Obedience . When Jonah was called to go to Nineveh, he went the opposite direction. Its what he felt like doing. Little did he know that the part God was calling him to play, was a small role in a really big picture. But still, it was an important piece of the puzzle. But did he know that at the time? 

Nope. And that’s us most of the time. God calls us to do something. And out valid reasons( Jonah had really valid reasons to not go to Nineveh -read the book to find out more) , we chose not to do what we’ve been called to do. Little do we know, like Ruth, that maybe that small step on our part will give rise to the lineage of the messiah. 

So what do we do? Do we ask God to show us how important what He’s told us to do is? Like He should rate it on a scale of 1-10? His ways are way above ours. So maybe that smile your spirit nudges you to share might just save a life somewhere. So instead, we should ask God to give us a spirit that yields to him. Because only Obedience is required. 

We don’t know why God has allowed some situations in our lives, but God knows. We don’t know the path our lives will take after this disrupted turn, but God does. We don’t know what God will ask of us tomorrow. We simply don’t know. But we serve an all knowing God. God knows. So as hard as it is, as risky as it does( imagine putting all your eggs in one basket?) , we have to once and for all decide whether we are in or out. 

Because God didn’t want Jonah writing a letter to the Ninevites. He didn’t want him to send one of his buddies who had better oratory skills or had been to Nineveh before. God requires of us to do what He has directed us to do, how He has directed us, when and where. Unlike in this world where the end justifies the means , here the process matters. Its in that process that we encounter God in ways we would never have if we had found shortcuts to our assignments. 

And God is God of second chances. He gave Jonah one. So we don’t despair when we realise that we were running away from God or we disobeyed Him. We ask Him to find us where we are. After all, He can take us back home. Just hope He won’t use the same mode of transport as of Jonah(hehe). 

Overally, Life Interrupted hasn’t been a good book or a nice book. It has been a transforming one. It has rebuked me and corrected me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve stopped in the middle of a page to pray. Its been an intense internal journey. 

I’ve read books that inform me, others dispel myths I had, others make some topics I never understood as clear as the daylight ( like In Christ in School of Prayer by Andrew Murray). But this one went and looked into my heart and made me face some not-so-beatiful mindsets and aspects of my heart I never realized I carried around. 

I would recommend you read it when you are in that space of asking God why. It might work better then. 

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6 words that describe the Laws of the Lord. 

If asked to describe the word of God, what adjectives would you use? Like how do you perceive it? When you look at the way God expects you to live, like giving not expecting back, offering the second cheek to be slapped too, loving and praying for your enemies, etc, what comes to mind? 
People have sort to describe the laws of the Lord in various ways.

Some think they are a bit outdated. In these financial times, who would give not expecting back? Here in my town, people come out for harambees vigorously. Like they’ll turn up for your function and raise money for you. I thought it was out of loving your neighbour as thyself ,until when with time I noticed a pattern. Everyone here at some point has a function. And if they don’t, they create one. And in most cases, only the people you contributed to in their functions will contribute in yours and they’ll most probably contribute the same amount you gave in theirs. Not more nor less. Those who don’t pay back the favor get cut off the friend list. Doesn’t sound much like what the laws of the Lord say, right? But it seems much practical. 

And preachers everywhere are trying their best to show that God’s word is still relevant. Dating preaching is trying its best to show that the purity message they swear by is found in the bible while the tithing brigade will do its best to avoid being asked why tithing isn’t talked about in the New Testament.

 And on and on people describe the word of God depending on their interactions with it. 

So it was a delightful surprise on Sunday when the preacher mentioned a certain verse during his sermon. You know those ones he mentions as he passes by and asks you to read later. And on that note, how many of us go back to read those 3 or 4 extra verses that the preachers mention for you to read later? I’ve realised I rarely do. Something I should seriously change. I mean, why note it down if its not useful? 

Anyway, so this specific verses describe what the laws of the Lord are according to itself. Like it uses adjectives to show us what God’s word can be described as. And the choice of words caught my attention. 

So here we go. 

Psalms 19;7-9

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right,giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant,giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure,enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. 

Perfect

What does perfect mean? Without fault or mistake. The laws of the Lord have no fault in them and no mistake was made while making them. Yesterday we went to eat lunch somewhere, and one of us ordered a meal and even specified how he wanted it. When it was brought, he complained that he had asked for a different meal. And the customer being king, his food was exchanged. But as we had seen the whole exchange, we pointed it out to him, that he had made a mistake. 

When you mistake what you want someone to bring to you or do, it means the results you get won’t be what you expected. They’ll be flawed. And here psalms 19;7 explains that God didn’t do any mistake when laying down any of his laws. 

So when God says he loves obedience and not sacrifice, and our human logic prefers sacrifice not obedience, its not in our position to correct what God prefers. He didn’t make a mistake. His law is perfect. Which is why adding things to His word sees us as Christians chase away other people from church instead of bringing them in. It is perfect as it is. It works as it is. 

Perfect also means fitting its definition precisely. The laws of the Lord are what they are. They are what is expected of us. Just as God says He is who He is, His laws fit into what they say they are precisely. 

….reviving the soul. Why is perfectness tied to revival of the soul?

What does revival mean? To return to life. To cause to return strength or life. 

Life plays us roughly at times. We hurt, we live in pain, we get abused, we neglect our souls and at times our souls get so broken that they die and leave us only existing physically. And all that because we live in an imperfect word. 

Meaning, that our souls can’t be brought back to life, nor their strength returned by anything in this imperfect world that broke them in the first place. 

Only perfect can heal. Only perfect can bring us back to life. That’s why psalms 19;7 says, The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. 

2. Trustworthy 

Trustworthy means deserving of trust. Reliable. 

In other words, the law of the Lord is reliable, believable,credible,dependable, ethical, honest, convincing, righteous and unfailing among many other synonyms. 

You can place your bet on the God’s word. It is sure. You can stand on it. It won’t be 99.9% sure, it is a 100% reliable. 

You know the way at times we have to remind ourselves that God has our back, not to worry, He said He is with us. Sometimes we worry so much and kinda doubt whether our situation is still under God’s control. I mean, is what He said still going to pass yet my circumstances feel like the opposite? Is God good as He says as I experience injustice and evil? We indirectly or even directly question God’s word every once in a while especially by worrying or trying to do things our way. 

Yet, here we are told that if there is something that is trustworthy, it is God’s word. You can take it to the bank. You can risk your life with it. You know that meme that asks, ” if you were told to call one person and your life will be spared if they don’t pick, who would you call?” Majority if not all of us, have that person whose word doesn’t hold water. Sometimes we even know many. 

I remember when I was young, I really wanted to go visit my grandma almost during all holidays. And my mum would promise that I would go visit her in the next holiday. And for some reason, that promise kept being broken . Till it reached a point, I stopped trusting her word. I simply waited for the day I’ll go. I stopped believing what she said was true even when it came to pass in one of those holidays. Why? It had failed over 6 times. 

And that’s how most of us act with God. We take a part of His word and claim it. Let’s say the part that says, “Ask and it shall be given to you”. We mix it with the verse saying, ” even faith as little as a mustard seed shall be able to say to a mountain move and it moves”. We have faith the size of the whole mustard tree and ask for something really way less than moving a mountain, knowing that we shall get it. Then we don’t get what we asked for, yet we had all requirements. Our requests were quite qualified to be answered.

 So what do we do after various unanswered prayers? We lose trust in the Word of God. We doubt its credibility. We stop relying on it. Due to our past interactions with it turning out to be half true and half not true. 

This is why I found it to be such a relief that God’s word is trustworthy. That means, that if I take it to the Lord expecting what the word says I should get and get different results, the problem isn’t the word, its either on me or in my prayer. And those unanswered prayers or ‘wrongly’ answered prayers should see me seek God for us to discuss what is wrong and how to correct it. You can read more about the fallacy that God answers are Yes, No and Wait here. 

…..making wise the simple

The trustworthiness of God’s laws is tied to making wise the simple. 

Who are wise people? For me, I think you are wise if you make decisions that over and over save you from disaster, or give you an upper hand than others or your view of things is way better than that of an average person. Wise people can solve complex issues by using very simple solutions. Remember Solomon and the two women claiming the same baby? That was wisdom right there. 

And here we are told  that The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 

What I see here, is that we have this word that we can rely on it a 100%. Whereas humans make decisions based on what they think is right, we should make decisions based on God’s word. The outcome will be moving from simple people( people who get it right once in a while and fall into traps other times) to wise people ( whose  decisions reek of wisdom over and over again). That is the result of depending on a reliable Word. 

 Right

Right means correctness or reason. Something correct. You got it right. The precepts of the Lord are right. Like they won’t lead you astray. They will lead you to a correct path in life. 

Right also means appropriate. Perfectly suit for the purpose. Like God’s laws are perfectly suited to rule our lives. We should walk by them. They are suitable for the purpose they were made for. That is to guide our lives. 

….giving joy to the heart. It only makes sense, that if our lives are guided by something appropriate, something suited for us, then even in the middle of a storm, our hearts will be peaceful. Its like having a compass, even in a desert, you know you are on the right path. So regardless of circumstances in our lives, we are glad to know that the precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. 

4.Radiant

Radiant can mean emitting or proceeding as if from a center. Or beaming with vivacity or happiness. 

The commands of the Lord are Radiant, giving light to the eyes. 

You remember the part about the revival of the soul? Looking at someone’s eyes you can know if they are dead or sad inside. Here we see that God’s commands, if followed will make us alive inside, they’ll be our source of ‘life’, our life will be from the center, which is God and therefore, we shall not merely exist but shall have life and life in abundance. Even by looking at us, the world shall sense a certain vivacity or happiness that doesn’t stem from how we are doing in life but from something way deeper than our lives. The commands of the Lord are Radiant and therefore shall give light to our eyes. 

Pure

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. 

Pure means with no imperfections. Pure things last longer than impure stuff. For example, iron can last as iron for thousands of years, but mix it with oxygen and hydrogen. It rusts. It changes to something else. It can stay for a while longer, but the quality is compromised. 

Same with God’s word. It has not a single blemish with it. It doesn’t lie. It is enough and adequate. You just can’t fault it. Which is why, famous people’s word can last for 200 years others for a 1000 years, but only God’s word will forever. Why, it will never stop being sure or true. Whether on this earth or another one. No wonder it endures forever. Imagine resting your faith on words that are pure and will endure forever? 

Sure

Sure means certain to act or be in a certain way. 

The ordinances of the Lord are sure. They are certain. Failsafe. What the word of God says is true. It stands the test of time. Its not outdated or for future use. Even as at this moment, the word of God stands. It is true. 

 …and altogether righteous. And after 6 adjectives describing the Laws of the Lord, the psalmist sums it up by saying that they are Righteous. God is righteous. So are His laws. They are morally justifiable. They are virtuous. 

I don’t know what you thought of God’s word before, but internalizing this three verses ( psalm 19;7-9) gives one a deeper assurance of God. Like on top of being who He says He is, His word can also be trusted. It is perfect, it is trustworthy, it is right, it is radiant, it is pure and sure. 

Take it to the lord in prayer. 


One of the hard places to be in your life is to be at odds with God. And I’m not talking of an unbeliever, I’m talking of a born again Christian whose walk with God is active. 

When you do everything ‘right’, like you know everything that was in your powers to do, you did it to the best of your ability, but still your situation or circumstance seem to be going in the exact opposite direction of the word ‘right’. You look at the word, check; you obeyed it, you look at the leading of the Holy Spirit; check you obeyed it, you look at you’d faith, check, there is no doubt in sight, then you look at how your life is panning out and everything that could go wrong actually goes wrong. 

What do we do? That’s when no encouragement gets in there. We get angry at God. Disappointed. Frustrated at His apparent inaction. But in most cases we will die first before taking it to Him. Why? We’ve never been taught to question God. We were taught that God is always right, which is true, and He knows best, which is true. So in our heads, its wrong to complain or even air our grievances, with Him. It just seems out of place. I mean, won’t God strike us dead? How dare we? So some leave this God, while the rest of us assume that that episode didn’t happen. 

I remember the first time I aired my grievances with God seriously to God. Last year actually. My relationship with God had been growing tremendously. We were getting used to each other and closer. For the first time in my life I surrendered everything to God. And God on the other side acted like my best friend. I got used to it. So anything God said, I did. He said I jump, I didn’t have time to ask how high, I was already in the air. And things were working out. Quite well actually. I had this good thing going on in me. 

Until when things started going wrong. All of them. At first I thought,” I’m so lucky this time, since I have God by my side, si He’ll just sort me out..kwanza the way we are close nowadays “. So I took my situation to Him. God was there, He ensured I didn’t feel abandoned. But did my circumstances change for the better? Wrong, they became worse. 

And that’s when I started becoming frustrated with God. His word and His presence in me seemed to talk of good tidings. But I was experiencing bad things. I knew that simply because I have God on my side doesn’t insure me against hardships in life. But I also knew that having God on my side meant I had a Savior and Redeemer. Saviour means one who saves, right? So whereas I wasn’t angry at my bad situation ( this are normal in life), I was angry at my God who was seemingly watching it get worse. 

The one thing that took me to take my frustration with God to God was simple; I had no one to take God to. Like I couldn’t report God to anyone else. So here I was, I had put all my trust in God. Entrusted Him with all my pain. And instead I was in worse pain. Why didn’t I walk away? Because I had invested too much in this. My relationship with God was the only right thing I had going on in my life. I wasn’t going to leave it just like that. I mean, where else would I go to? The world? it had played jokes with my life. People? They had made a joke out of my life. So sincerely speaking I had no one else to turn to. And that saw me camp at God’s feet. 

In case you are wondering how that situation turned out, God came and took all glory. It wasn’t an easy path. But we walked it with God. Me complaining on how its not fair to put all your trust in one who let’s your situations go from worse to worst, God being all gentleman and loving me immensely through out my hardships.

 And one thing, I have come to realise, is that God can handle it. He can handle us at our worst. And even more importantly, he can handle your frustrations at Him and with Him. 

Its one thing to doubt, and its another to have unbelief. 

Unbelief is what most unbelievers have, where you don’t trust God exists or you don’t trust whom He says is . Unbelief takes you away from God. Unbelief walks away. 

Doubt, is when what God says in His word, and what is going on in your life, don’t go hand in hand. You thus start wondering whether the problem is on your side, your prayers or on God. 

And you can’t have a healthy relationship with God unless you trust Who he is fully and What he says fully. Then if things go amiss, it won’t be that hard to face Him with your facts at hand and what He said which you believed in but doesn’t seem to be the reality. 

Unbelief asks, “Why would a Good God allow…..”

Doubt asks ”  God, why would you allow…”

You notice one is addressed to God, the other has already given up on God. 

The world of Christians just like other people prefer telling success stories more than failures. Like we would rather talk of God’s blessings and the many things He has done for us, than those things we hoped on God and He didn’t come through for us. Not that testimonies aren’t real or necessary, but life isn’t only majorly made of happiness. We go through stuff, and at times, at the hand of God. 

Don’t go to social media or your friends asking for help, only God can help you. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Trust me, God can handle it. Don’t wait till you are okay to do it, go to God with all your emotions and feelings. He created you, He can handle you. Take to Him His word and your situation. He knows them both. 

And ultimately, go to God as your father. We get angry at our fathers, we sometimes don’t agree with their way of doing things, but we always know that they are smarter than us and love us. God is love. And He loves us. 

Take it to the Lord in prayer. 

What is an effective prayer? 

Before I started reading With Christ in the school of prayer, i remember wondering, what on earth does an effective prayer look like? Like when do I say I am efficiently praying? Because I understood praying isn’t just about asking and receiving. So an effective prayer can’t be just one where you get what you asked for. And I couldn’t grasp my head around what I could call an effective prayer. 

But at least now I have an idea of what an effective prayer looks like. 

Jesus kept on repeating that if you don’t forgive your brother/neighbour, then your heavenly father won’t forgive you. Even in the famous Lord’s prayer, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. 

And that’s where our lesson comes from today. 

How effective our prayers are depend on 2 things;

1. Our relation with God

Of this many things have been said. But the most important for today is, you can’t have faith in God’s scripture/promises coming true unless you have faith in the promiser. Let us check our prayers. How do we ask for things? You know some of these things we do subconsciously. For example, before starting to read this book, when I wanted something so badly, I would go to God and try and explain my case, why I want what I want, then I would quote for Him his word that supports whatever I want, then I would insist on it again. And this cycle goes on for a while, either until i get what I want or I give up on it and move on. 

Now, imagine if I assumed I was talking to my father. Probability is that my conversation with Him would take a very different course. Why? Because how I view and relate with him is different thus how I even perceive his word is different. 

And that is why faith and prayer go hand in hand. To pray you must have some faith. Then your prayer will increase and strengthen your faith. And together they will strengthen each othe

For an effective prayer, you must at least know and understand and have a working relationship with whoever you are praying to. What is your relationship with your father, because regardless of what His word says, your prayer is dependent on how you two relate. 

2. Our relation with men

This is why Jesus said that if you are going to the altar and remember a brother who has not forgiven you, leave your present at the altar and first go and sort out issues with fellow man. That’s how important our relation with fellow men is. That God would have you get out of church to go sort out your issue with your friend/spouse/neighbour first before coming to worship Him. Its that serious.

I know we are told differently. That God comes first. Sometimes this implies leaving some our duties to go to God’s house. Well, apparently, God will forgive you as you forgive others. So is you if you are depending on “Time heals” to forgive that person who hurt you, know that your God is also doing the same to your sins. 

We try and make ourselves presentable when going to God. No wonder you hear phrases like, ” Unanitusi na Leo ni Sunday?“. We have this idea of how we should go before God. Yet when God looks at those 2 hours or prayer, He shall answer them ,not according to how much you pleaded or quoted his word , or how sincere and fervent you were, but by how you spent the other 22 hours of your day. 

I once read somewhere Ernest Wamboye was saying that the bible says that husbands will not have their prayers answered if they mistreat their wives or something of the sort. I thought it a bit harsh. Until I now encounter Jesus telling us to get out of church and first sort out any issues we have with each other before coming to God. I don’t know why this has kinda shocked me. Like how you live your daily life, how you treat those around you, will a 100% affect the reception of your prayers in heaven. Seems I have a lot of food for thought. 

Anyway, the above 2 have at least given me a glimpse of what an effective prayer looks like. Its one offered by a person right with God and right with men. 

To pray is to change. 

The Lord of The Harvest

I was disagreeing with someone close to me concerning our church’s focus on doing a lot of outreach ministry. Outreach means bringing the people not born again into Christ. I was of the opinion that inward ministry should take a larger percentage of the focus. We never agreed. 

The reason why I thought growing the people already in Christ should be of focus is because, I get sad when I look into the church and see young people struggling with basic Christian concepts. Not that I’ve matured personally, but I was born again for over a decade yet I only came to personalize my relationship with God like two years ago. Like we are in God but we don’t fully grasp this God of ours. And as much as growth is personal, we all need some sort of direction or guidance. The major steps my faith has taken were at least influenced by a sermon, a Christian book or just a different point of view I heard that made me question my way of doing things. 

On the other side, I also do get that it would be a sad day in heaven realising that your roommate didn’t make it there. Or that Mama wa Mboga you used to buy your veggies from. Imagine knowing you can save someone from a dying life to a life of abundance both here on earth and after? Imagine your sister burning yet you could have done something? So I do get why getting out there and evangelising is important. I mean, someone preached to me for me to get born again. 

So as I continue reading my book, With Christ in School of Prayer, I get to a chapter where Christ told us what to pray for exactly. 

You see, Jesus taught us how to pray, or at least gave us an example. He also explained aspects of prayer, like it should be in private, and whatever we ask for, we shall receive. He didn’t seem interested in what we are to pray for, he left that for us to figure out. 

Except one thing. There is a specific prayer request that Christ asked us to take before the Lord. Jesus looked at the multitude following him, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, and thus turned to his disciples and gave then this prayer request; the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.

For a man who had so much compassion as to feed 5000 men, and heal the sick and even have a woman get healed by touching his cloak, the above request to his disciples sounds fishy to say the least. Why didn’t he pray for these harvests himself? And focusing on God, Jesus here refers to him as The Lord of Harvest. Assume its a farm, and you are a farmer, why would you need to be petitioned to send out labourers for your own harvest? How much sense does this make?

Unless there is something about how heaven and earth work that we don’t know. Remember in the Lord’s prayer here, we saw Jesus asking us to pray that God’s kingdom come on earth, and now we are praying that The Lord of Harvest sends forth more labourers. 

Looking at what Jesus keeps on saying about prayer, it means prayers are the channels through which God works on earth. Like unless we pray, God’s kingdom won’t come on earth. Unless we pray, the harvest will perish. Its actually that serious. Like God won’t decide to do these things unless we pray for them. God had these big plans for earth that will only come to be if Mercy and Jane and John pray for them. Like that’s a huge responsibility upon our shoulders. In simple terms, God wasn’t just calling us to be his kids, calling ourselves queens of the Most High as we strut around on earth, He was also calling us to be co-labourers with Him. To work with Him. Together. 

This is not one of those places where you leave some people to work while some idle. I used to hate being given communal work at times when I was young( he he, I’m now older). Reason being, some people wouldn’t do the work. They would run around as if working and then come bragging later on how they didn’t do the work. I’m one of those people who can’t refuse to work if given work. So that used to really displease me because I felt as if someone was taking advantage of me plus the other ‘good’ people. But you know what? By the end of the day, the work got done, whether half of us didn’t do or did it. 

But from the way Jesus is talking hapa, you can imagine if the harvest is as big as He puts it, it means that if Sharon works and Mercy doesn’t, part of the harvest is going to perish. Like by the time we are being asked to ask for more labourers it means Jesus knew even if the available ones worked 24/7/365, bado. More would still be needed. Its not like how we do communal work where some work and some don’t but the work is finished. Hapa its all of us. 

You know I’m imagining the tragedy that is already there. First of all, how many of us are labourers in the Kingdom of God? Hands up. Do you realise that you can’t notice the harvest is plenty unless you are in the field harvesting? Like the people in their houses have no idea on the state of the harvest in the farm. We can’t be asking for more labourers unless we are labouring already. 

And there is where my discussion about outreach ministry and in reach ministry come in. You see, how many Christians out there understand that it is the duty of everyone to evangelize? That its not just pastors but everyone at their work station? Be it an engineer, hustler, businesswoman, doctor etc. And evangelising doesn’t necessarily mean going out there and preaching like a street preacher. You use what God has given you. If you cook or organize things well, take it to God and ask Him to use it for Kingdom harvest. 

Now, to be a labourer in God’s house means you have to share in His heart. Like you have to be compassionate about the things Christ is compassionate about. And you can’t do that unless your faith grows. A child is said to be mature when they start helping their parents around. And a 2 year old can’t help around in the house. But a 10year old can do some house chores. And a 17 year old can learn about the family business and how its run. Its just the way it is. Though some kids mature earlier than others. But maturity goes hand in hand with the kind of work one can be entrusted with. 

Now imagine if almost all people in God’s house saa hii are 2year olds spiritually. Like they are in need of being taken care of. They haven’t yet reached to a point where their prayers are not about me, myself and the promises God gave me. Not that there is anything wrong with God’s promises, but there is more to being God’s child than what the King of Kings can give you. 

I was watching some movie based on Esther, and I loved a line she used. When she went to see the king and every lady was going to be given a present for being in the kings presence, for her she differed. She said that she had been taught that when you go to see a King, you carry a present. You don’t go to the king empty handed. Whereas every other person was thinking, “What can I get from the King?”, she thought , ” What can I give to the King?”. 

And maybe that’s part of maturing in Christ. Where we move from, “God do this for me, my family etc” to “God, what would you have me do for you?“. 

The only way to share a heart of God, is to grow in Him. Its like a relationship or friendship. When you start out, you both say what you are passionate about. The other person just listens and smiles and you go on in knowing each other. But with time, as you get closer , you get more involved in each others life. You move from knowing what Mercy is passionate about, to asking her what she is doing about it and finally and most importantly to taking part in ensuring Mercy’s dream come true. You couldn’t start from being involved from day one, why? You didn’t even know the principles Mercy operates under.

Same thing, how many of us are shocked to learn that God is passionate about sinners? See, no one. How many know what God’s plan is for the people who are not yet in Christ? Again, we all know God desires to expand this kingdom on earth. Now, how many of us are praying that God sends more labourers? I can see most of our hands went down. Yet, that is our role in ensuring that these souls around us get a shepherd. That plan we thought we knew about God and sinners, imagine its not coming to pass unless we all take part in it. 

So I have come to realise, that reaching the people outside and growing the people inside entirely depend on each other. A 100%. You won’t achieve outreach ministry if your flock isn’t maturing. Because these are the labourers that you are praying for when you go out there and see how the harvest is a lot and the labourers few. You grow the flock, they will reach a point where they’ll all be passionate about the harvest and in the process via their prayers, more labourers shall be added. 

What are we praying for? Do our prayers reflect people who understand and know God’s heart? Let us pray that God grows us. That He matures us spiritually. And also let us pray for the Lord of The Harvest to send more labourers. Because our prayers change things. He gave us his word that when we ask we shall receive. 

To pray is to change. 

Praying for others

I’m sure you’ve heard of intercessory prayers. I’ve always heard of it too, and once in a while I pray for my friends .Or stand in the gap for my country or family. And such kind of stuff. 

But I will not lie, me I never understood the core of it. Like it was just that topic I’m vague and shallow about. And having many problems of my own, and being spiritually not so mature, I sincerely never bothered about it. It included things to do with others, and here I haven’t even sorted out quarter things to do with myself. 

But this book ; With Christ in the school of prayer by Andrew Murray, has placed it right in the middle of a conversation about me. Let me explain it this way, I used to think intercessory means knowing what other people’s prayer requests are, then praying for them. If they get their prayers answered, glory to God, if not, again glory to God. But we already saw that God will give us all we ask for here. But from a parable Jesus gave, praying for others is way more personally involving than that. 

Luke 11:5-8. 

To paraphrase the parable, Friend A visits friend B at night. Clearly friend A is hungry. So friend B, gets up and goes outside, at night mark you, when all shops are closed and knocks at friend C’s house. Friend C is asleep, but wakes up and gives B food, not because of their friendship but because of B’s importunity. Importunity means persistence to the annoying side of things. 

Now what do we learn about this friendships here in?

Friendship between A and B.( visitor and visited)

A is hungry. And most probably needy. Why didn’t they pay for an inn or hotel? And as we see, the fact that A was on a journey but didn’t have food speaks to a lack of some sorts, I mean people carry food while travelling. And A is also tired. 

A also knows B to be a friend. How many of us, especially ladies can crash at someone’s place at midnight and from a long journey? You just don’t go to anyone, you go to someone you trust. Someone you know who cares for you and can take care of you. Someone in whom you won’t be a burden. You won’t have to excuse your hunger or pain or neediness, you’ll be frank with them, and they won’t make you feel uncomfortable for not sugarcoating it. You’ll say it like it is. A and B share a friendship based on vulnerability. Each one can be vulnerable to the other. And A seems to trust B. That B loves them and will take care of them. 

But who is B?

B does not seem poor or in need. B’s family didn’t sleep hungry. B seems to have enough to survive on. But then, B doesn’t have even a loaf extra. This means B has the daily bread but not enough for a visitor, just enough for the family. But we see B as kind and welcoming to A. B has a heart of compassion. 

Friendship between B and C( the one visited with no bread and the one with the bread)

What we know about C is that C is rich. Has many extra loaves of bread and has fed the family. 

Why would B come to C’s house at midnight to ask for bread? Because B first of all knows that C has more than plenty. And they are friends. And also because B seems to know what buttons to push to make C bring out that bread. Persistence. Annoying persistence. 

Now how does the above relate to intercessory

To answer that requires us to find out who we are in that parable. We are B. The friends on earth with maybe enough to go by but with needy friends suffering from hunger and afflictions and a rich friend up there with everything. And this parable allows us to see the kind of friendship God wants us to have on earth, and the friendship we should have with Him and how to mix the two. 

First of all, we can’t wait for when we have plenty to give out. Whether its plenty of money or experience or skill or knowledge or even spiritual maturity. We don’t wait to accrue much to be a blessing to others. Not when we have a rich friend in heaven. Who can give us to give to our friends. 

Two, God is our friend. And we can approach Him as thus. And who is a friend? We say that birds of the same feather flock together. Jesus said that if we do these things( obey the word of God) then we become his friends. In simple terms, friends have same conduct and mind. Whereas a father and son can differ in behavior and character, with the son working towards being more like the father, friends are more alike. They have with time come to be in harmony. They may not always agree, but friends know each other well and intimately. They know your dislikes and likes and things you are passionate about. 

Jesus refers to God as our friend in this case. When we intercede for others, we don’t go to God like we are facing a military general. No. We approach Him as a friend knowing that by the mere fact that He is my friend means He understands my friendship with others and how dear I hold them to heart. 

Which brings us to our third point, we intercede for others from a friendship point of view. They stop being ‘others’ and move to ‘friends’. Imagine going to ask for bread for some acquittance of yours. If your rich friend refuses, will you even ask twice? But imagine asking for that close friend of yours? Can you imagine going back to the house empty handed for your friend to sleep hungry? I’m sure some of you here will even consider stealing just to see your close friend not starve in your empty house. 

 For me this challenges me on the friendships I have. Have I created a safe place for my friends to come hungry and tired? What kind of friends do I have? Or are they all self sufficient? Do I have friends in need( and not just materially)? Can people with different needs face me and request them? 

What about that persistence? Did you notice that C only gave B bread because of the persistence? Not because of their friendship, because of this guy’s annoying persistence. B came to C because they are friends. But C gave B bread of the character’s continuous askance.

Is there anyone I have ever gone to God for, and insisted that much for that person’s need to be granted by God? Like you literally camp at God’s door, not for your sake but your friends? 

This is a new lesson for me. Something the Holy Spirit will have to work in me. To work in the friendships I have, in the person I am that attracts those friendships and to work in my relationship with God to be more ‘friendly’ ( no pun intended) and also for me to have a heart for others just like Christ. 

Think of it, if Christ had to undergo such intense prayer for the people he healed to be healed and for God to have mercy on people, then when we say we want to be more Christlike, doesn’t that mean, to also have the same heart and boldness and compassion as Him when facing God for others?

To pray is to change. 

 

To Pray is to Change. 

I’ve been reading this book titled Celebration of Disciplines; The path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster. I decided to read it slowly, like chapter by chapter each week since it talks of Disciplines,these are things that are mastered by action not known by just reading alone. I like his style of writing. He counters all arguments you have, even before you raise them. Its the kind of book critical thinkers will enjoy since he talks to you as if in a bid to win you over on his side. Not as if you were already on his side. 

So the first discipline was meditation. I’ll admit I never thought meditation had anything to do with my spiritual growth. When the psalmist says he meditates upon God’s word day and night, in my head that meant thinking, not the meditation that yoga people do. Not that that’s the one Richard Foster is advocating for, but it opened my mind to something I had never considered doing. And he describes christian meditation as the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word. 

But that is not what I want us to talk about. Its the second discipline that has floored me. 

So I open the second discipline which is prayer, and I felt like skipping onto the third one. I mean, I knew I didn’t know everything about prayers, but I also knew that at least of all spiritual disciplines, I’m good at this one. But after little consideration I decided to read it as a by the way. Sharon, a close friend of mine, always says, there is no wasted knowledge. 

So as I read, I realise that my idea of prayer is kinda slightly different from his. According to him, to pray is to change. I mean, I know prayer isn’t just about asking and receiving, and I know its about fellowship with God, and I agree with him that praying should be more listening than talking( something I should improve on), but to pray is to change? I felt as if that had a deeper meaning than I understood. 

So when he recommended another book that helped him, I went looking for it. The title of the book even just caught my attention. With Christ in the school of Prayer by Andrew Murray. 

Na tusema tu, nimejua sijui ( I’ve realised how ignorant I was). Every chapter here in this book on prayer is exposing my foolishness which I thought was wisdom when I wanted to skip the chapter on prayer. And indeed as the book says, I’m with Christ in the school of prayer. And I’ll share some of our lessons so far. 

You remember the Samaritan woman? Well, I think that’s the first time Jesus talks of prayer. And he tells the woman that a time is coming when people shall worship the father in truth and in spirit. And that that hour has come. 

I’ve heard the above verse many times but seems I understood it all wrong. 

When Jesus says worshipping the father in spirit, what does that mean? This simply means being in harmony with the father. And the only way to be in harmony with the father is by having a ‘sonship’ kind of situation with him. And that only comes through Christ. No wonder Jesus tells the woman, an hour is coming, and now is that hour. Before Jesus we could not worship the father in spirit because the one who was to make us sons, and thus giving us same spirit with the father had not yet come. You notice in the Old Testament no one addressed God as my father personally? So to pray in spirit, is not something that comes from your mind to God, its a spirit thing( its like an exchange between two spirits that are walking in harmony).

And what does in truth mean? I always thought it meant praying according to God’s word. Or at least praying sincerely. Well, you remember to pray is to change? Same concept here, in truth means for real. Like that fellowship you have with God brought about using prayer shall be visible in your life. Like your daily life shall reflect the fellowship you have with God inside there.  No wonder Jesus scraps off people going to a certain temple or place to worship..the worshippers God desires shall do so wherever they are. They  shall be walking temples. And God dwelling in them shall be shown in the way they think, act or speak. It shall be for real this time. Not just knowing God’s word in your mind, but it not having any impact in your daily life. 

But what caught my attention the most was the Lord’s prayer. I knew it would be there, I actually would not have been surprised if i had found that the book was based on this one example of prayer. But he covers it in one chapter. But he does it in a very interesting way. This perspective he has tackled it from, changes the Lord’s prayer from an example of how we should pray, to an example of how we should live. 

Interesting to know that Jesus didn’t teach his disciples how to preach but he taught them how to pray. And more interesting to note that after spending time with Jesus, him healing the sick, chasing out demons, condemning the Pharisees’s behavior, the only thing they asked Jesus to teach them was how to pray. They must have noticed that Jesus prayed differently and that that difference is what would give them the rest of those things they could have asked to be taught but didn’t. That shows us the importance of prayer in our lives. 

Anyway onto our father’s prayer. 

Our father who art in heaven. 

Jesus by this opening line, gives us the attitude we are supposed to approach our God with in prayer. Not as a King( which God is), not as a Rock, or Creator or Owner of the universe but as our father. You see, assume you work with your father in a family owned business. When you are at work, you’ll approach your father as the CEO of the company that he is, not as your father, but while at home, you’ll call him dad and maybe even crack irrelevant jokes. Jesus knows God has many aspects of himself that we know of. And He tells us to approach our God as our father at any given point. 

This cancels out a lot of fears we have. A son knows the father cares for him. A son will never refuse to run to the father simply because he is dirty or injured. Actually, that will be more reason for a child to run to his father. But a person might refuse to go see the king when he or she feels dirty, right? That’s why Jesus tells us to approach prayer with the attitude of we are going to see our loving father. This isn’t just a concept we are supposed to read and know, we are supposed to internalize it and let it drive away all fears we might have ever had about approaching our dad. Its love simply explained.

Hallowed be thy name. 

Hallowed means consecrated or sanctified, sacred or holy. And how will this happen? This is practical in our lives. Remember prayer isn’t something we say but to pray is to change? Well, if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead our lives, then God’s name will be hallowed in our lives( practically- how we live daily). Only Him can hallow his name, we can’t do that by our own. No wonder we pray that Hallowed be thy name. 

Thy kingdom come

God is a king, he has a kingdom in which the son Jesus is an heir. We are sons too by virtue of Christ. But whereas Christ is in heaven, where God’s kingdom is already manifested, we are on earth where God’s kingdom hasn’t been manifested fully. No wonder after approaching God as our father, asking that His name be glorified, we are now moving onto the next business of the day. That our dad’s kingdom be brought where we are. Isn’t it only natural for a son of a king to want his father’s kingdom be extended? Especially if you are heir to it?

 No wonder Jesus was insisting on us seeing God as a father. You see, a soldier might fight for the king, but they don’t always have the King’s interest at heart, no wonder some defect and go form their own kingdoms. Same concept, we’ll struggle to do God’s will and spread his gospel unless we too share in the same heart behind it. Unless you understand the whole ‘Sonship’ that Christ came to unveil, then you’ll forever struggle to do God’s will and follow God’s word. Not that as a son its easier, but it flows from a place deeper than your mind. It comes from knowing that you are forever accepted and also forever working towards being like the first born; Jesus Christ. This goes hand in hand with Thy will be done in Heaven as it is on earth. 

Give us this day our daily bread

Now before we tackle this, did you notice that the Lord’s prayer starts with Thy Name, Thy Kingdom and Thy Will before moving onto Give us, Forgive Us ,Lead us and deliver us?  Just like with the commandments, we start with God first not our needs or us.  That should be the attitude, what is God’s will for me, my family, my country and earth? That should come before what you would want for yourself, your family and country.

Jesus told us that our father knows our needs even before we ask of them. That means that all those prayers I have been making trying to convince God to give me something were ill advised on my part( the convincing part that is). God knows what I need, when I need it and how I need it. He doesn’t have to be quoted for his scripture where he is promising me something for him to suddenly remember that He said so thus should do so because Mercy needs this thing saa hii. Aki I’m now realising how much I didn’t know how to pray ( like what was I doing!? He he )

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Now that we have been given our daily bread to feed our body, we need soul food. That’s how Christ sees it. And this shouldn’t be a formality because only confessed sins shall be forgiven. Like by the time we leave or go to God, you should be able to say that you know of no one whom you do not heartily love. Doesn’t that go against our saying, “Time heals”. You know, that part where we carry on grudges for years because we are waiting for time to tone them down. Well, healing may take time, but forgiving shouldn’t. Imagine if God forgave our sins the way we forgive others…some of us would not be forgiven so easily. 

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

After our daily bread, our soul being sorted out, comes maintainance sasa. This means not just sticking with God for a day or two but forever. And the thing that would make us not to abide in him are temptations and the evil one. We thus pray that God keeps us in him and that he delivers us from the evil one who is prowling around looking for someone to devour. 

After such an intense prayer of dedicating yourself to God, your requests to him, and asking him to be with you, tell me how that doesn’t result to change? 

I’m excited to just seat at Jesus’ feet and have him teach me how to pray just like he did with the disciples. Like really excited. I didn’t know I was this unknowledgeable. 

Anyway, see? To pray is to change.