Saturday, March 27, 2004

manifestations of power

What has been apparent in my prayer life is the notion that I have not really experienced much "power" in my spiritual life. But maybe I have the wrong definition of "power". It seems to me that Jesus' power stemmed from his servanthood, his submission to the will of the Father, and from his own suffering. Likewise, we see in Paul's letters that his authority comes from the same things. Suffering and obedience seem to lead to a powerful life.

What I mean by power is the manifestation of the Spirit working in miraculous ways. Do I desire to see this out of a lack of faith? Maybe. But I would also like to see these things as evidence of the Spirit working actively in my life. What would these manifestations look like? It may look like a person coming to know Christ after an hour long conversation on a airplane. It may look like me specifically praying for a specific healing and then seeing that person or that illness healed immediately. Imagine just laying your hands on people and praying for them and seeing them healed. Imagine after one conversation seeing people's lives completely changed by the grace and love of Christ.

I keep coming back to questions like: Do I not submit enough to the Father's will? Do I not live in such an obedient way that suffering inevitably comes into my life? Do I serve people enough to have this kind of power and authority? Or do I explain it away assuming that I am just not "spiritually gifted" in these ways and that God must be manifesting Himself through me in other ways?

Well that last question then of course leads me to others. How is God manifesting Himself, through the Spirit, in my life? Is the power of God apparent in my life? It is not very apparent to me. One of the guys who was also a church planter candidate kept telling me last week that he saw God "all over me." I don't really know what he meant by that. Maybe he was just trying to be encouraging. The reality is from this side of my eyeballs I can't see God's power necessarily evident in my life. I don't mean to say I don't experience God's powerful love and grace. I certainly do. But I don't see the Spirit using me as a conduit in such a way that would make it evident to the world that it is God.

How does one remedy this? Or do we even try? Do I continue to strive for a deeper walk with Him and let the manifestation come as He wills? Do I pray for more power in my life? Do I pray for more evidence of that power? Do I pray for suffering to come my way? Do I wait patiently as I mature in His will and allow the suffering to come when it does? Surely it will come just by living in this world. Is my desire for more power a selfish one? Does my lack of power make me more dependent on God and on the faith community? Or is more power in my life evidence of my depending more on God and the community? As one can see, I have more questions and no answers.

Father, I don't even know what to pray. I trust that the Spirit will groan for me in words that I cannot even express right now. I deeply desire to be someone you can count on to be a faithful follower and an effective witness. I don't know that your power is manifested in my life right now. But I pray that when you need it to be, it will be.


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