This last week as I sat at a table of people listing out names and characters they wrote about for an assignment, I was reminded of the way our stories are an allegory for our own spiritual journeys.   As my student’s and I discussed Bunyan’s classic, “Pilgrim’s Progress”, and the moniker each character owned, literally… I marveled at their responses to his words and tried to reconcile the complexity we each war with no matter what our age.

The litany of our words often crashes down upon us, our confessions and our statements and our wisdom all bound together; it percolates through into the crevices of our souls…and they are full. Full of everything that means nothing and something together and we can’t sift them safely without spilling over into everything else that defines us.

But those names we battle daily… not enough, less than, failure… they are not the names He gives us. We are not meant to be named by our struggles. Like Christian, we are called to a Celestial City, but because the journey is not what we assume it will be we get stuck in the middle of our messes.  We find ourselves marching through the muck and the mire of life, tempted as we travel, unaware that the answer to all our unspokens is as near as a breath. We forget to look up and look toward our destination and instead, we see what is all wrong or all right splayed before us.

We think we are alone, but we are not. We think our failures keep us back, but they don’t. We think we are unacceptable, but that is wrong. We think our differences are a wedge, but they really unite us.  We think the mess is bigger than God, but that is the biggeset lie of all.

In truth, in every single instance, God has not ever left us to figure this thing called life out, but He has left us space to look for Him in the midst of the journey…to look to Him to see us through it all.

Thus says the LORD: ” Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls…” Jeremiah 6:16

Jeremiah’s words have been constantly in my mind recently. Drawing me back again and again in to the heart of asking and seeking and looking for the good.  In the days when good seems far from our sight, the weight of the unknown, the fear of tomorrow, or the distress from yesterday are bigger than our faith, we need to stand at the crossroad of every single moment and lend our hearts to the task of seeking the Ancient of Days, whose infinite wisdom surpasses our own infinite understanding.

“We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly  world, and can bring its power down to earth.”  – Andrew Murray.

Monday’s news unsettled me… as it should. There is no sense in tragedy. There is no looking for reason in the ransom of grace and the perversion of peace.

I found I couldn’t bring words forward to even discuss it with these teens who sit around wood and metal each week looking and leaning into the lessons we are learning together, finding crossroad moments and extolling virtue as a byproduct of good living and moral choosing.

All I found myself telling them was that our limited understanding should never be able to account for evil and wrong and loss. We don’t have the knowing God does to even begin to number the things we can’t comprehend in a list of explanations that will never qualify…because evil  will never make sense.

As the day wore on, we were buoyed by the hope that Hebrews reminds us of… the sameness of Jesus today, yesterday and tomorrow. ( Hebrews 13:8)  And the reminder that grace and mercy flow from the throne of God in unending torrential waves that not only knock us over in our crossroad moments, but seep deep into the breaking spaces of our souls where words and reason and wonder can’t begin to repair or restore.

Evil doesn’t make sense, but prayer does.   It’s the antidote for what ails us, the remedy for our breaking, the balm for every sorrow, and the hope in every  hurt.

And it is our calling.

“If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and  will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

It is not the mouth that is the main thing to be looked at in prayer, but whether the heart is so full of affection and earnestness in prayer with God, that it is impossible to express their sense and desire: for then a man desires indeed, when his desires are so strong, man, and might, that all the words, tears, and groans that can come from the heart., cannot utter them.” – John Bunyan

More and more I am being pulled back to the roots of my soul into the space where I can reconcile the hope of heaven in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us.   If we are called by His name, then prayer is the character trait we ought to bear.   In Bunyan’s allegory, a collection of characters called by a name that scribed their journey before it was known, reminds me that the name we crave to be known by is often one that can be defined by the actions we take.

How are you known friend?

I was convicted by a radio conversation I heard on the way home on Tuesday. It was a confirmation of all these things weighing on my heart.  The DJ reminded us to consider the balance of our words…to ponder whether we have exactly what we say like Proverbs 18:21 admonishes about death and life and our mouths all connecting together.

Do you pray about things as much as you talk to others about them?

Do you run to Jesus first or last?

Do you rant rather than petition?

Do you reason out the world’s response rather than look for the good at the crossroads?

 Because prayer  is the restoring that we can do in a world that is choosing to everything else.

“True prayer is measured by weight not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.” – C.H.Spurgeon

Sometimes we measure things in all the wrong ways.  We see them through fractured sight and bent glimpses.   But maybe we are supposed to bend elsewhere, soul folding over grace like a sheltering  cocoon.

And maybe our prayers should be the set apart echoes of hope in heaven’s promises… cause even though we have failed, He has not.

“We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly  world, and can bring its power down to earth.”  – Andrew Murray.

As Christ is the passageway, prayer is our password into the bounty of heaven’s graces.  It is the greatest weapon, next to love,  which will bring heaven close and the difficult into perspective.

I wanted to tell you that I am spending the month of October giving as much time as possible to prayer, but that is the wrong word…rather I am compelled to pray.  A skill that E M Bounds says, ” is not learned in the classroom but the closet.” And I am encouraging you today, to set aside the time to seek first His Kingdom with those things that are closest in thought and speech today.  And a challenge, for us both… (so hold me accountable)… to pray first about all things. To run to Christ with your words, your worries, and your wonder.  Let Him be the captive audience that hears the groans of your heart. And let your faith grow  and  bend by the waves of unending mercy that reach you as you approach grace’s throne in all things.

Let us therefore come bolding unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and grace and well-timed help in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16


If you are a blogger, link up here with  a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*

Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.

If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment.  Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.

Each week I will  try visit as many of your amazing  posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.


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