I've been reading C. S. Lewis' book, "Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer". I liked his description of the Greek mass in the first letter. It reminded me of the prayer group in Anderson. That is important because it is most of the reason I am reading this book.
Angi tried for at least two weeks to get me to go to a meeting with her and Greg before I went on April 15. "Sarah, we haven't made a big deal out of it, but there's a revival going on," she said. Oh, no, I thought. Please don't let Angi become one of those people who brag about their spirituality. I thought my spiritual life was going well considering the challenges I had faced.
But on April 15, my world crashed in around me. I fell under the weight of my emotions and was forced to deal with things I thought I could delay until the end of the semester. On Good Friday, I had been staying at my uncle's house in Ohio. That morning my mother called and told me that my grandmother had cancer.
On April 14, Mom called to tell me that Granny was being anointed at church. I did not want to be in Anderson, Indiana, studying Christian ministries. I wanted to be at home in Houston, Texas, spending time with my grandmother.
"Does anyone have any prayer requests?" asked Don Collins, who was teaching the introduction to Christian ministries class I was taking.
Slowly I raised my hand. "My grandmother--" I started. Suddenly, tears were streaming down my face, and I couldn't ask for prayer for my grandmother, my family, or myself. I took a deep breath. "has--cancer." Don reached over and took my hand. I didn't say any more. I don't remember how he prayed. I only remember him saying something about a relationship being close. I only remember that he was gentle and seemed to care.
After class, a girl came up to me. "I just want you to know that I will be praying for you and your grandmother," she said. Mindy Miller was the only person in the class who reached out to me.
My pain continued all day. Angi invited me again to go with her and her boyfriend to the prayer meeting, which began at 10:30 PM. "I know it's late," she said, "but it's worth it."
I didn't want to be alone that night, and I lived alone. I went to the meeting--and I kept going back.
By the third night, my spirit had lifted. I realized that this group was not religion-centered, but God-centered. They were not worried about how well they sang or prayed. In praying for other people, I discovered that my heart was wrenched from any selfish desires I possessed and focused on the other person's need.
That is why my prayer life is so important and why I am trying to grow in it. One of my favorite prayers is the Psalmist's prayer, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, ..." (Psalm 51:12)
C. S. Lewis writes: It doesn't matter very much who first put them [words] together. ... If they are someone else's, we shall continually pour into them our own meaning."
This summer I have not been focusing much on God. I do not feel like keeping this journal will bring me closer to Him, but relationships are not based on feeling alone. So I pray that God will create in me a clean heart. For me this means that He will give me the desire to know and serve Him which I have not had.
Philippians 4:8 tells us, "... in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Lewis addresses the question of how important a desire must be before we should make it the subject of our petition. My answer is that Philippians says requests, so it doesn't matter. If it is on my mind, then I should pray about it.
Lord, please do create in me a clean heart. I am finding that I must constantly seek for the desire to serve You. I suppose that is because my nature is not to serve You. Satan knows my weaknesses, Lord, and he attacks me there. But You also know my weaknesses, and You can strengthen them.