This week, as I struggled through what I was going to write about, I was reminded of the things the Lord has been teaching me about prayer, spiritual growth, and how those things tie into both everyday life and the work of seeking justice.
During North Star, Bill Clark, the Senior Vice President of Mobilization Strategy at IJM, gave a talk on spiritual formation for the work of justice. While the time that he spent talking was incredibly short in comparison to the rest of the conference, it has profoundly influenced the way I approach the Lord.
The secret, if you will, to producing spiritual fruit is abiding in Jesus:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. [John 15:4, ESV]
Spiritual disciplines are a reminder that we are desperate for God’s help. To abide in Jesus, we are called to “be still and know [he] is God [Psalm 46:10].” Clark told us to cultivate a heart of stillness. Here’s how he prescribed that to look on a daily basis:
- Release things to God: In Matthew 11, Jesus calls us to give Him our burdens. With palms down before us, we surrender our burdens, releasing their load onto His shoulders.
- Ask God for what you need today: Ask for His help, palms up, surrendered and asking.
- Still your heart to be in God’s presence by meditating on His word.
In Deepening the Soul for Justice, Bethany Hoang says,
Pray through and release to God all that weighs us down as we enter and try to engage in this work [of justice]. We release and in so doing, we receive…[it] is a declaration that it is God alone who reigns supreme in this day… God meets me in the stopping, in the stillness, in my frantic restlessness and anxiety about all of my work. God draws me closer to himself.
Where do you find yourself stuck in life? Where are you striving but getting nowhere? Ask God to show you where He is serving you in that particular area. Don’t tell God how to answer your prayers or fix the situation, but expect Him to show up. Our God is for us and with us. We can be sure He’ll answer us according to His wisdom. You have but to ask and He will fight for you.