Spark a Fire in My Soul
Rachel from Being Made Beautiful is the creator of #12prayers on Instagram:
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner
From a very young age, even before I had a personal relationship with him, God began to grow my heart for adoption and foster care. As far back as I can remember, my family had an open door/heart policy for those in need. My parents consistently displayed compassion and service to those who needed love and family. It was never done through the normal avenues of formal adoption or DSS foster care, but they were clearly taking care of the orphan, the widow, the lonely, the hungry, and the misunderstood.
Again and again, through the choices they’ve made, my parents have demonstrated that God is worth losing our life (time, paycheck, home, energy) in order to truly save it. They were not perfect parents. They did not have a perfect marriage. They were not perfect Christians with a perfect theology, but they did display perfect love through deed and I can’t think of a better lesson for parents to pass on to their children. This gospel of love and mercy displayed to me sparked a desire in my heart to do the same with my life.
Fast forward to my teenage years and into college. I had a number of people in my life who began to tell me about my personal need for grace and forgiveness, the kind that could only be offered through Jesus. It took a good decade for all of this to break into my heart. I was a pretty self righteous. A ‘good’ girl who needed to stumble head first into sin in order to realize that I was in desperate need of a savior. I could not do it on my own. My faith truly took root during those college years and I began to walk with Christ. It was during this time that, through the influence of Christians around me, I began to see that people did not just have physical needs, but spiritual needs. I saw my friends and mentors loving the spiritual needy and hungry. They showed me through their choices that God was worth losing my life (reputation, friends, popularity, time, and energy) in order to truly save it. They were not perfect friends. They were not perfect Christians with a perfect theology, but they did display perfect love through word and I can not think of a better lesson for peers and mentors to pass on to their spiritual children. This gospel of word displayed to me sparked a desire in my heart to do the same with my life.
Continuing to move forward into the future. My husband, Dave, and I were married and the next three years proved to be full of trials. We miscarried our first child. Dave left his ministry job and had a six-month period of unemployment. He then started a business that did not get off the ground. We lost my 20-year-old brother during his service with the Marines in Iraq. I suffered a pretty awful postpartum with our daughter, Ellie, and our first little boy was born with almond eyes and an extra chromosome. During this time the Church displayed loving care for the us – the broken, the grieving, the angry, and the faithless. The choices that those in the Church made showed me that God was worth losing my life (emotional energy, time, money) in order to truly save it. It was not a perfect church. They were not perfect Christians with a perfect theology, but they did display perfect love through presence and I cannot think of a better lesson for the church to display for their hurting children. This gospel of presence displayed to me sparked a desire in my heart to do the same with my life.
I have been formed by these displays of love, along with many others throughout my life. It has made me who I am. These sparks over time are no longer just sparks, but full flames. These flames have lit the fire of my passion, directing the choices that I make and the paths that I choose for my life. Over the last 10 years these passions have been displayed in different ways. In the early years it was through working for Campus Outreach, sharing the gospel to college students. In more recent years it has been displayed through helping to start an orphan care ministry at our last church. All the while, I have tried to be the presence of love to those around me who are in a place of pain or grief. I have not done it perfectly, but I have tried to live out my passions. Even though these passions have come with sacrifice they have proven to be my deep gladness, as my passions and the hunger of “my world” have come together.
In this season I see my passions coming together in a way I never imagined. It has taken place through an online prayer ministry called #12Prayers. I have desperately wanted to be involved in all of my passions: orphan care, special needs advocacy, ending slavery, missions, advocating for the unborn, evangelism, the persecuted church, woman’s ministry, the church in general. But how can one person possibly be involved in all of that? How can a mother of five small children possibly have time to help with all of those things? How can anyone have time for all of their passions? Well, up until recently, I couldn’t. Not until I realized that one of the most powerful things I could do for these passions was to get on my knees, asking the Father to intervene. Asking him through prayer to ignite his people, to change the world. I am only one person but through prayer I harness the power of God. He tells us to ask for anything in his name and he will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. I have done a lot of ineffective ministry through my own strength over the years and I can tell you that the one way we can guarantee effective ministry is by praying.
Dr. Bill Bright wrote, “History records no significant movement of the Spirit of God that has not been preceded by a very strong prayer emphasis. And understandably so, because the Omnipotent God has chosen to communicate with people through prayer as well as through the inspired Word.” He goes on to say, “Our Savior Himself, to whom all authority in Heaven and on Earth were given, spent much time praying while he was here on earth. Since he is our example, we can rightly conclude that the ministry of prayer is the highest call the Christian can have. A vast reservoir of power, wisdom and grace becomes available to us through prayer.” This is the kind of effective ministry that I want to be a part of. I want to use prayer as a way to be involved in the passions I simply cannot commit to in other ways this season. I also want to use prayer to precede the things that I am able to commit to do with my time, talents, and money. I want to rally others in prayer so that a great force of God’s power is released. That is why I believe, for such a time as this, God has laid on my heart to rally his people to prayer.
In Acts 4 the believers pray in one heart, mind, and spirit, and it says that all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer. This is exactly what happens on a #12Prayers day of prayer. The body of Christ united in one voice, asking the God of the universe to make the impossible possible. Asking him to take our fear and change it to peace. Asking him to start a revival in our heart and in this world that cannot be stopped. God calls all of us to different passions with our stories and our gifts, but he calls us all to pray. So I would love to invite you to join us each month when we host our days of prayer and take action in the things that make our hearts beat faster.
Also, if you have ever wondered how to discern God’s call on your life, then I challenge you to consider the story that God has been writing in your life. Look and see both the gifts and difficulties that he has given you, then consider the needs or hungers of this world that your gifts and difficulties might be able to help meet. I know that when you find that place you will also find deep gladness. The best part about this is that there are as many deep hungers in the world as there are deep passions. We all have our unique part to play in helping to redeem this broken world.
It might be fighting for laws to protect religious freedom or the right to life. It might be using your counseling ability to help woman who have been abused. It might be using your teaching degree to give a good education to underprivileged kids. It could be advocating and fighting against the sex slave trade. Maybe it is tutoring a child who doesn’t have an after-school parental presence – the list could go on and on. The world’s hungers are deep and varied, it is just a matter of you finding out where your passions line up and then taking action to lose your life there. The beauty of this is that in the end nothing you gave up will really be lost. You will be storing up treasures where moth and rust do not destroy and all the while finding deep, lasting gladness here on earth.