From the days of ancient Greece, an owl has been the symbol for WISDOM. In the Chinese world at large it is a sign of good luck. Like the owl, known for its sharp vision, keen observation and ability to rotate its head to take in all its circumstances, we also need insight and intuition to see beyond the masks that people wear and more deeply into situations. That's wisdom.
An owl seems to appear a little angry in its facial expression, not very inviting as an advertisement for wisdom—but we shouldn't judge by outward appearance any creature with feathers or fur or human skin.
Wisdom doesn't come instantly. To "be wise" is not something we suddenly decide to be, but something acquired patiently with age and experience and walking with God.
We need wisdom in every season of our mortal lives. In childhood, however, we really can't expect to find it because we have not grown sufficiently and life has not unfolded yet. We are too fresh, untried, and unproven. Youth is in the experimental stage; life is being tested and knowledge accumulated. Youthful wisdom? Not so much. In prime years wisdom and folly are being sorted out; we make some good choices; some foolish decisions take us on detours and onto rabbit trails.
It is in advanced calendar years that wisdom is expected to flower and bear fruit and its fragrance waft to others. Mature Christians who have accumulated many decades are finally supposed to be wise. At least that's the proverbial ideal track. It is in our vintage years that our spiritual grapes should be ripened and sweet. We expect the generations that come after us to happily appreciate and benefit from our collected, well-tried experience.
That may not always prove true. Sometimes, unfortunately, those in vintage years speak and act foolishly. And because the young insist on making their own mistakes, they are reluctant to profit from the experience of their elders. So history repeats itself. We who think we are wise and mature should be careful to dispense our wisdom only when or if it is requested. Otherwise, let's zip the lips! That in itself is golden wisdom.
The wisdom I seek for myself in my mature years is wisdom to live in the will and purposes of God. In my youth, the days seemed to stretch open-ended and could hardly be counted. Now wisdom is all the more urgent. Back to home base with the prayer of the aging Moses in Psalm 90, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” I want to choose and act wisely as the path of life narrows and remaining days can actually be numbered. My reflection on that theme follows.
My Prayer for Wisdom
31 short prayers: One a day for a month to meditate on and internalize.
Lord, grant me the wisdom of mature years
that I may circumvent the potential foolishness of aging.
*When You see me playing in the spiritual shallows, Lord, beckon me out of the wading pool into Your deep waters.
*If I feel bogged down in meaningless routine, turn the plain water of my daily life into “the best wine saved until last.”
*When I tend to resist change and settle in my comfort zone, grant me an open spirit and a growing, receptive mind.
*If I’ve lost my get-up-and-go, show me how to “rise and take up my bed and walk.”
*When my leaves are withered and dry, revive me to be “full of sap and very green.”
*When my fruit is scanty and sour, show me how to “flourish like the palm tree.”
*If the embers of my first love for You are growing cold, fan them into flame by Your Holy Spirit.
*When the noise of my busy activity drowns out Your still small voice, quiet me to wait on You in contemplative silence.
*If the soil of my life is depleted and lies fallow, break up the clods, supply fresh nutrients, and make straight my furrows.
*When my prayers seem to be unanswered and my spirit is arid, open the floodgates to let Your Rivers of Living Water flow again.
*Where my life is out of balance and I lose my footing, help me restore eternal priorities to keep from stumbling.
*When my vision for Your Kingdom has grown dim, touch my eyes to see again Your destiny for me.
*If I’ve become slow of speech to declare Your message, open my lips to boldly proclaim Your Good News.
*If I can't hear Your voice clearly, send Your Holy Spirit to be my hearing aid.
*If my memory begins to slip, help me remember that You never leave me or forsake me.
*When I’m weary from the length of life’s journey, draw me close to Your bosom to find comfort and rest.
*If I’m laboring to bear scarcely thirty-fold fruit, teach me to abide in You to effortlessly produce by Your wisdom a hundred-fold.
*Where some good seed of Your Word still lies dormant as I advance in years, send the gentle rain of Your Spirit so I can bear an abundant late harvest.
*When I am tired and lack motivation to press on, restore iron to my soul and strength to my weak knees and limp arms.
*When I drag my feet to do Your will, energize me with the Adrenalin of Your Holy Spirit.
*When I’m short of breath from life’s fast pace, inflate my lungs with Your Breath of Life.
*If I grip material possessions too tightly, teach me to hold loosely the things of this world.
*If I open my mouth to speak foolish words, show me how to put a watch on my lips.
*When I’m afraid of the darkness around me, take my hand to walk in Your Light.
*When my emotions roller-coaster out of control, teach me to set my affection on things above, not on things of earth.
*When anxiety about the future threatens to overwhelm me, remind me of Your great faithfulness in times past.
*If my appetite becomes jaded by the world’s junk food, give me Yourself as my Daily Bread and Wine at Your Table.
*When I think I’ve reached the limit of my endurance, help me persevere in Your strength to run with patience the last mile Home.
*When thoughts of my mortal end cause me fear, remind me that You are preparing a Place for me in Your Father’s House.
Adapted from the Preface of Leona's book #3 in her Trilogy of LAND OF MORE book series titled STILL MORE! FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT. Copies available from Leona. Order by email: [email protected]
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