I’ve always wanted to use words to draw people in and speak to people and to be a way to express myself and how I feel—hoping that it will help someone. Words have always meant a lot to me. Growing up, I had a mother who would write poems and letters to me and keep journals back and forth with me.
I think that is what sparked my love for words. Not just empty words, but words that hold such depth and meaning to them, written by people who have a passion for what they are talking about. I have hoped and prayed that someday God would use me through my writing to touch someone’s life, even in the smallest way. And every time I would go to start a blog post or write in one of my blank notebooks, I always find myself staring at the blinking line that prods me to begin typing, and feel frozen.
I overthink what I should write about and write what I think people would enjoy reading. But then I realized, that’s when it will truly become JUST words because I will be trying to write emptily for an audience, instead of passionately for a single soul.
So, right now, it’s 2 a.m. and I am writing from my phone, completely from my heart something that God has been dealing with me about that I want to share with you.
One thing that I have had to really work at, and still struggle with every day, is forming a stronger prayer life. I understand that it’s something that most everybody struggles with. Even though I know and understand the importance of it, I still fail miserably. And I can’t say, “Oh, it’s okay, we all struggle with it!” Because there really is no excuse. Yet, I know if I want God to use me in any capacity: in my church, on the job, or through my writing, I have to be ready to be used.
That is not something that comes easily. If you honestly and earnestly have a desire to be used of God, you simply cannot be lazy when it comes to your walk with him. God may have amazing plans for your life, and He’s excited to reveal his will for you, but you’re simply not ready.
Make yourself ready.
I can’t even begin to describe the conviction I feel when I pray, “God, use me.” Or, “God, when are big things going to happen for my life?” I discover that, each and every time I ask, he whispers in reply, “When you show me you are ready.” And, although His voice is gentle, it feels like a knife in my chest.
Does this mean there will come a point where we feel we are ready for these things? No. But when we have emptied ourselves of “us” and allowed God to fill those spaces and creases of our lives that were so consumed by carnality before, we are now ready for God to begin working.
I was at a conference recently where the preacher talk about “The Place of the Ashes.” You would think, well, that’s a place we don’t want to be. A place of “ashes.” But, quite contrary, it’s exactly where we should be. It’s a place where God can use us to our full potential. The minister talked about how when you pray daily, you die out to God. You become ashes and now God can do something with your life.
What may look like filth to this world, what may look lowly and disgusting—that’s what God uses to clean temples. The preacher used the scripture reference in Numbers 19:9:
“And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.”
When we are still “whole” in an essence, strong and perfect like a heifer that is whole, we are hard to move. However, when we get to the place of ashes by dying out to God, we are easily moved. I’ll never forget as the preacher took a bowl of ashes to use as an example. He walked across the front of the church and blew into the bowl. The ashes floated through the air with each soft breath. He said, “Start a Bible college” and “be a church planner” as he blew on the ashes.
This message impacted me so much and, although this post wasn’t to give a sermon about a sermon, it’s something that’s been on my heart lately. It can be scary to pray for God to make you a mighty prayer warrior because you are afraid of what things He may put you through to cause you to pray. But I’ll share something my mom told me recently that stuck with me. She said, “Whatever I’m going through, if it’s making me pray, it is a help. Let me go through it.”
If it takes me feeling alone and disconnected for God to reach me, allow me to be in that place. If it takes trials and tribulations to save my soul, let me go through it.
Oh Lord, that is a scary prayer. But what would be worse is living a life of ease, going day by day doing your normal thing, never going through trials, never praying and “needing” God, and lose your soul in the end.
This is why I pray for God to break me down—even if it means breaking me down to ashes.
Broken can be beautiful, when you are broken before God. Broken gives him something to work with and to piece back together to his own liking. I pray that I am never so “complete” in myself that I miss God’s perfecting of me. I have never felt closer to God than the times I was in the valley. No one likes to be in the valley. It hurts, it’s uncomfortable, it’s depressing. But that is where God really works on you. It is when you go before God with nothing but total surrender and desperation. This place is where God has your full attention and your ears tuned to His voice. It’s where transformation and revelation takes place.
I have never met a preacher, youth pastor, pastor’s wife, leader, prayer warrior, senior saint who got to the place they are by only ever being on the mountain top. It took the valley to teach them to pray and intercede with God. It took the valley to break them down to ashes and allow the Holy Ghost to work on them until they were completely, and utterly broken before God.
It is this place where the greatest testimonies of all time come to pass, and the most powerful prayer warriors rise up from.
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