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PRAYER IS NOT FOR SISSIES
Thursday, June 18, 2020 by Leona Choy

Some years ago I visited Korea during winter. Summoned by the ringing of church bells, Korean Christians in the village where my missionary friends lived got up daily before dawn. They struggled in darkness through narrow, deserted streets in the bitter cold to their unheated church building. Drifted snow from windows without glass added to the bone-chilling atmosphere.

They kneel on the cement floor and pray to the same God I worship in my comfort zone seated on a padded pew in a climate-controlled sanctuary. A fervently praying people, Korean Christians often trek to mountain retreats to fast and pray for days as they sit or kneel on straw mats in unheated assembly halls bare of furniture. Prayer is not for sissies.

Some pray alone outdoors in rough-hewn, closet-size shacks that resemble short telephone booths dug into the sides of “Prayer Mountain.” The shelters are only high enough for a person to kneel; a flimsy wooden door protects them from drifting snow and icy wind. A bare light bulb dangles from the ceiling for reading God's Word after dark. I took photos of those prayer booths as a reminder to my lazy spirit.

The older I get, the harder it is to get out of bed in the morning especially in the comfort of my home which I have named "Eagle Summit." My aches and groans are increasing and my body is reluctant to cooperate. The doctor may diagnose my condition as "advanced age" and “sacroiliac joint dysfunction,” but I know it has a spiritual dimension as well.

As years roll by, (I speak for myself, but you may agree), as Christians we tend to get soft and lax in our spiritual discipline and too fond of the comforts of life.

I went on to spend overnight with hardy missionaries in the mountains of Japan where it snowed heavily all through the night. I stayed in an unheated, antique trailer—the guest quarters. Water froze in the glass at my bedside.

I wore a ski cap and mittens to bed and plunged deep under five comforters with a heated brick at my feet to make it through the night. The call to prayer came daily at 5 am before breakfast. The entire missionary community assembled, including children. The wake-up knock on my door came at 4:30. The guest was expected to join the prayer meeting. I broke the ice in the porcelain basin in an effort to wash my face. My toothpaste didn't thaw until noon.

Lord, have mercy on my weak, slothful flesh as I enjoy the modern luxury of my home. Waken my lazy, comfortable ear; bolster my will, and draw me into Your presence by the sheer power of Your love. I confess that I have a sleepy ear. When it snuggles deep into my pillow, it has, as it were, a sign on it: Do not disturb!

I've never been a morning person. I'm convicted by this verse: “[The Lord God] wakens me morning by morning. He wakens my ear to hear as disciples, as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I have not been rebellious or turned backward” (Isaiah 50:4,5).

I am aware that the immediate context was for Israel, but important transferable concepts might apply to me. God challenges me not to pull the covers over my head when Jesus whispers into the ears of my heart, “Get up. I've prepared breakfast for you. Charcoal-broiled fish and fresh-baked flat bread. I'm here to eat with you” (Rev. 3:20; John 21: 9,10). The Lord invites me to become alert and go to “a summit meeting” with Him to receive His agenda for today and the power to carry it out.

I must decide whether to obey the Lord joyfully or ignore Him. The Lord offers a helping hand to pull me out of bed through the energizing of the Holy Spirit as I lean on Him.

If I lived back in biblical times, Jesus would probably say, “Arise! Take up your bed and walk!” I would have a difficult time hoisting my queen size bed and mattress on my back—and I can't do without the luxury of a brand name“My Pillow” for my head!

 


Comments

Melessa Russin From Stephens City, VA At 6/19/2020 9:37:26 AM

Not for sissies, yet so very important. Just read Leona's post on 6/9 - Tending My Caterpillars and Cocoons. God bless you always, Leona! Love, Melessa

Reply by: Leona Choy

Sweet Melessa, you have been the faithful glue that has held together our "Birthday Lunch Bunch" of girls through the years and we THANK YOU. You have gone over the top spoiling us with the birthday cakes and goodies to make everyone feel so special. May God bless and reward you.

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