As I have been walking the last few years, one of the challenges has been to really believe in prayer. Here’s what I mean.
When I was a youth, I went to church. I matured up in my religious heritage. I became a minister in the church. Ergo, without much doubt, with 100% certainty, prayer was, is, and will always be part of life.
But how I pray has changed dramatically through the years. When I was a youth, up until I was somewhere in my early 30s, prayer was much more prepared. I used words I heard others speak. Those words had value. Those words certainly were true, and from my heart.
As I navigated into my early 30s, I can remember beginning to write down my prayers. I didn’t write down very many, probably only a few. I even saved one or two of them.
Those prayers were unlike the prayers I have been sharing in “My Story”. Those prayers were lengthy prose, were I laid out my petitions to the Divine. I believed those words. I expected answers to those prayers.
But the prayers of my youth and the prayers through my 30s were very similar, one direction – from me toward the Divine.
I am about to refer to something that occurred back in 2012. Just a few months from closing out my 30s, I remember being with a group of parents of the congregation youth. We all gathered at a local restaurant. The kids gathered together. The parents gathered together.
I spent my time primarily with an older brother. At the time, I think he was in his late 50s, maybe in his 60s. Gentle fellow. Having wisdom.
During that moment in the restaurant, to this day I remember one of his advices: write down your prayers. He encouraged me to do that so I could recall my prayers and observe how things develop for me in my spiritual life.
At the moment, it became more of a note in my memory. Later, in early 2013, it became actuality when I began writing down my prayers. For that, I am grateful in more ways than I can count.
So my prayer life really went from one of “I hope that God is listening” to one of “I know God is listening”. The difference between the two is as dramatic as night is to day. With that, I share a prayer from November 22, 2014 (Month 8 Day 28).
I did not offer a blessing. I began my prayer: Father, I am simply amazed at your ability, your majesty, your presence, it is both awe inspiring and somewhat terrifying. The Divine responded:
It should not be.
I take it that the Divine was conveying that I should not be terrified. But the awesome nature of the Divine is kind of frightening. When one can experience such dynamics in their prayer life, one begins to view prayer much differently.
The Divine is still majestic, ever present. That is awe inspiring, watching myself as my metaphoric jaw hits the ground. The Divine is mysterious to me. I doubt I will ever fully understand, and in a way that’s okay, it gives me a lifetime of experiences.
Returning to the prayer, I replied: Perhaps so, but it is. I am so feeble and frail. You are not.
I mean, isn’t that how we, as believers, feel? We, as humans, as believers, feel feeble as in weak, and frail as in fragile.
Yet, the Divine is majestic in power and full of strength. Consider that the Divine responded:
Yes. My son.
So the Divine confirmed my thoughts.
But truly contemplate on how the Divine continued:
But you are created in my image. Gain strength, not timidity.
What?! How’s that for a response?
We are created in God’s image. But I don’t think I have ever had any believer tell me that since we are created in the image of God’s power and strength that I, as his created, should stop being timid, and stop thinking of myself as feeble and frail.
I simply cannot underscore how important it is that we, as believers, need to truly understand in whose image we are created.
Returning to the prayer, the Divine continued:
Now, listen, and listen for a spell. All is well. Do tell, along the water front of well.
First, for any reader who is wondering about the Divine’s use of the word “spell,” I will clarify. The word refers directly to time, which can be for any length of time – a minute, an hour, a day.
So, in this instance it was listening to the Divine for the length of the prayer. Importantly, the bulk of the prayer was me listening to the Divine, writing down what was being conveyed.
Interestingly, the Divine conveys that things are well as in acceptable and healthy, that I am to tell as in share with others, and that these things occur on the picturesque and pleasing place of a water front, hopefully bringing to mind the peaceable, calm, waters of Psalm 23.
Let me return to the prayer, the Divine continued:
My son, you, yes you, no one else, are capable of this life. You hold within yourself a gem, an ability that is wonderful. I gave it. You found it. Don’t be afraid to use it.
At this point, for me it is obvious, a life with two wives. For me, for years that sat uneasy. For others who know me, it sets uneasy for some.
I was afraid. Why?
The answer is easy to understand: almost every Christian around me automatically recoils with disgust and hatred, judgmentalism and condemnation.
Those same Christians would call me brave for taking the “good news” to any group of people that they would claim “needs to hear it”.
But those same Christians cannot understand that the Bible supports, in the case of marital permissions, a man having two wives.
Because they are convinced of the church dogmatic position of monogamy-only, they cannot see the Bible for what it says and what the Bible does NOT say.
It the instance of taking the Gospel, they would label me brave. In the instance of taking Biblical liberty, they would label me heretic.
So in the sense, to be accepted amongst my religious peers, it is far easier to die on the battlefield of taking the gospel of Christ than to embody the gospel of freedom and liberty that Christ died to give.
So in a sense, it requires strength in the Creator’s image to move forward into the liberty that was given by the Divine. That is NO easy task.
As one trained up to see myself as feeble and frail, it has taken lots of time for me to believe that the Divine has given me strength to do something acceptable, especially when accomplished with two ladies who are themselves adults, choosing to be my brides from their own volition, and believe in the spiritual purpose of doing such.
After that, the Divine gave a few questions intended to direct my reflection, the Divine conveyed:
Is it of strength, physical strength?
The Divine’s answer:
The Divine then conveyed another question:
Is it of might, powerful might?
Again, the Divine’s answer:
So it becomes clear that moving forward is not out of some need to prove something through power of strength or power of might.
If that is not the source, then what is? The Divine continued:
It is of love.
What?! The Divine added:
For me, that is near to non-sense. Why? Because love is NOT reason. Reason is from the mind, love is from the heart.
I am NOT against love.
I am FOR love. Love is powerful. Love is empowering.
Importantly, in the prayer, the Divine conveyed another question:
Do you understand love?
The Divine continued:
Yes. But also no.
The Divine continued:
Not this kind of love, for this love is different and this different love will take you places only imagined.
So, I am familiar with love. How? Because I love my wife; I love my kids; I love my parents; I love my in-laws.
But that love is different. It is defined and all are identified by monogamous relations, that does NOT bother me, it is simply the reality.
But I am NOT familiar with the love that moves a multi-wife family forward into history. So it is important that the Divine continued:
But with this love, you will empower, imbue, and imbibe.
Love that empowers. Empower, as in authorize, allow, sanction, and give power to ladies, for their growth, their dreams.
Love that imbues. Imbue, as in instill in others a sense of value, worthiness that they are capable, welcomed, appreciated.
Love that imbibes. Imbibe, as in to drink in, to take in, imbibe the quality of love, drink in the value of that relationship, to imbibe the attributes of family, to take in the value our family offers.
So let’s return to the prayer, the Divine continued:
This is not power of prowess, nor is it power of manhood, it is power of servant-hood.
Think about that. I mean really, really, truly, deeply, contemplate that.
Has my reader meditated on that? If not, do so.
So much of what is accomplished in the world is through those first two things.
The Messiah teaches and leads by servant-hood. Yet many (most?) Christian men still try to accomplish things, even in the church, with prowess and power of manhood.
To be CERTAIN, I am NOT disparaging men. I am NOT insulting them. I encourage men to be masculine, uniquely masculine as one of the Divine’s creation.
But I cannot escape the prayer – the power of servant-hood.
To be certain, that is NOT placing the masculine in a feminine role. It is leading the masculine to understand more fully the leading of Messiah, even in the context of the family.
So I return to the prayer, consider how the Divine continued:
Liken it this way- a man serving his wife in his private of private life, opening up himself for her pleasure not his, yet before his, and in his pleasure for her pleasure gains pleasure where she gives pleasure over and beyond any he could have demanded or received otherwise.
Yes, the imagery is sensual. But hey, men are visual, so it helps convey the intent. Yet, in that serving, his service in not rendered empty and vain.
The Divine used that image to lead into the following:
For you see, pleasure cannot be commanded, it is extracted, extracted by you to reveal to them their potential, in sacrificing yourself for their benefit, they in turn reveal themselves.
Consider that importance: pleasure cannot be commanded, as in controlled through authority and domination. Instead, pleasure is extracted, as in dug out, mined through servitude, serving my ladies and family to help them find their potential for their benefit.
So before my reader draws the conclusion that it is all fabulous and effortless, there is a counterpoint. Consider how the Divine continued:
Now, this is not without pain, and not without struggle…
As a man, I think men are NOT worried about pain or struggle, as long as the objective is worth the pain and struggle.
I speak about men, not to devalue women, but to address the reality that men are willing to give pain and struggle, the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears, to build something, to give of themselves, to sacrifice their life for that which is worthy.
Yet, there it sets. Pain and struggle are in my future, just as they are in my present.
In this moment toward two wives, I have experienced some pain, and I have experienced some trouble. But I will tell you this, I can already see the beauty that is blossoming, and it is worth every struggle.
However, before the Divine closed out the time of prayer, there was an important concept that the Divine presented. The Divine conveyed:
Don’t abuse this for your own gain, for in doing so, you will fail.
And I think that is why so many marriages fail, whether monogamous or polygamous. It doesn’t have to be the male, it can be the female. When one spouse does something for their own gain, the relationship is destined to fail.
However, this prayer is conveyed directly at me.
It could be tempting to resume sitting behind the wheel, or to become the all-star player. But to do so is at my own peril.
It therefore becomes paramount that I keep in mind my purpose, the Divine conveyed:
…do this for their gain, and beyond the stars you’ll reach.
Their gain, but not their gain alone.
When each lady gains, when they gain, when the family itself gains, finding hers or their increase, I too travel with them.
What better place to be than seeing them succeed and sharing with me their life.
Blessings and Shalom