I’m supposed to be writing today, but I can’t really find a direction to go in. Writer’s block? Perhaps. That’s what I thought it was until I read something this morning in Priscilla Shirer’s book “Fervent.”
Passionless. Powerless. Prayerless.
Three simple words, but oh, the punch they packed as they took aim right in the middle of my forehead. That is where I am at this moment in my life. Don’t judge just yet. I took a break from everything during cancer, for obvious reasons. And I extended the break from most things after cancer so that I could rest and focus. I did not want to return to the pre-cancer pace where everything felt just a degree away from chaotic. That’s not when I’m at my best. I wanted to really focus and be able to devote my whole self to the task at hand instead of just throwing what I had leftover at it and hoping for the best. So, for the past year, I’ve been practicing “the best yes.” I’ve turned down a lot of things—good things, but not the best things for me. And now I’m ready to jump back in the game, but am not sure where. The passions I had prior to taking a break are no longer there. That season of my life is over, and that’s ok. That’s natural. But when I sat down and asked myself, “What are you passionate about?” I came up with nothing. And so, when I read those three words this morning—passionless, powerless, prayerless—they hit with frightening accuracy.
I know what you’re thinking and no, I don’t mean prayerless as in no prayer at all. I pray. I pray in the mornings and when I need God to help in a certain situation. I sometimes remember to pray before I eat, but not usually. The prayers I pray are not passionate or powerful. They don’t have a lot of substance. They are surface prayers, much like superficial conversation with an acquaintance you meet on the street. They are safe prayers. They are prayers that don’t cost me anything. They are prayers that don’t require action from me. And I’m not okay with that anymore because to move out of this place of passionless, powerless prayer, I have to begin to pray bold prayers.
There was a time in my life when I prayed those kinds of prayers. I drew a circle and staked claim on things in prayer. After all, you have not because you ask not. Not long ago, my prayers were passionate. I prayed fervently for people and situations. I prayed for God to use me and I meant it.
There was also a time when my prayers were powerful. Things happened when I prayed. I look back through the prayer notebook I kept a couple years ago and see the answers in response to my prayers. That was exciting. It was thrilling to know that God heard me and that He was at work in each of the situations. I couldn’t wait to see what He was going to do in the circumstances I invited Him into through prayer.
So why did I stop? Did God change His response? Did He stop answering? Did God change how He communicates with me? No. I changed in how I communicate with Him. Why? Perhaps it was because of fear that He’d ask me to do another hard thing. Maybe it was because after coming through cancer, I felt like I could stay with the stuff while everyone else went to the battle. But that’s just it. It’s because I’ve gone through cancer that I should be in the middle of the battle. It’s because I’m a victor in that battle that I should be out front in the next one. God didn’t heal me from cancer so that I could sit on the sidelines and do nothing. If He didn’t want me to do anything, He’d have taken me home. He has something for me to do, but before I can do it, I must change those three words that characterize my life at this moment. I must change from passionless, powerless, prayerless to prayerful, powerful, passionate.
Passionate, powerful prayer gains much.