Thursday, January 4

Standin' in the need of prayer

A few nights ago coming home from taking my kids to Taekwondo we pulled into the driveway with the car radio playing (in Spanish!) that old Gospel Spiritual, "It's me, it's me, it's me, oh Lord, standin' in the need of prayer..."

I hadn't thought of that song in years. Yet God reached down and like an arrow shot straight into my heart a message I needed to hear...

"It's not my mother nor my father...not my sister nor my brother...deacon nor the preacher, but it's ME, oh Lord, standin' in the need of prayer."

We stand in the need of your prayers!

The first of many personal weaknesses is my frequent participation in the "blame game." This of course is where everyone else is to blame for everything going wrong and life not being what I think it should be. It's always someone else's fault: it's the IMB's fault, our mission leaders, fellow missionaries, unresponsive churches, indifferent national brethren...my wife, kids, the heat, unfair policies...hey, even the dog gets blamed!

And yet, God speaks through an old gospel song...it's not really "them", they aren't the fault, it's ME, it's MEEEE, oh Lord, standin' in the need of prayer.

James 5:16 exhorts us to, "confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed..."

As we begin a new year, I have many sins to confess in my life...I need to be healed...will you pray?

My list includes: resentments, supressed anger, weariness, tired of the battle, longing to be elsewhere, lack of love for the people we are called to serve, laziness, spiritual dryness, passionless prayer and devotional life...

I don't mean to imply that God is not at work around us and in us. He is doing many wonderful things. I am indeed grateful for what I see are clear blessings and His presence and working in our lives.

But where is the joy I once knew in the Lord? Where is the passion for souls? The thrill of being one of his servants? What happened to the creativity and energy I used to have for serving Him? I don't know.

It's me, oh Lord, standin' in the need of prayer.

As depressing as all this might sound, we are not really depressed. God is good. We know that. It's more along the lines of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10...

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (10) Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong..."

Beginning a new year, we need the Lord to refresh, renew, revive, rekindle, reconsecrate our hearts to Him. Will you pray for us? Will you pray that in our weakness, Jesus would be glorified?

Thank you.

10 comments:

EL OJO PROTESTANTE said...

¡Bendiciones Guy!

Recuerdo que un par de décadas atrás, en tiempos en que en las Iglesias se solía ejercitar el canto colegiado y especializado, se formaban dúos, tríos, cuartetos, etc. ¡Y hasta grupos corales estables!
Hoy, al leer sus palabras refiriendo a "Standin' in the need of prayer", mi mente y mi corazón volaron hacia el pasado y como si tuviese un fonógrafo en el cerebro, resonaron los acordes y las palabras de la vieja canción.
La versión en español más escuchada decía: "No mi madre ni mi padre sino yo Señor, (es) el que necesita orar, no mi hermano ni mi hermana sino yo Señor, (es) el que necesita orar... Soy yo..., soy yo Señor, el que necesita orar..."
¡Que mensaje! Claro y contundente.

"Standin' in the need of prayer", un clásico con el espíritu y el mensaje tan vigente como siempre.

Un abrazo fraterno.
Dany

Strider said...

Thanks for your honesty. You are lifted up brother. If prayer is what you need then you have it! It sounds like you, like me, can get caught up in what I call the 'older brother' syndrome. In the parable of the prodigal son we see the son looking for satisfaction in the world. We see the older brother also left his father's house without leaving it! He is unthankful, resentful, bitter. When I find myself thinking about the things you have described I think, 'Hey, I am being the older brother!' We are called to grow up and be like the father. Always inviting, always loving. I pray this for you today.

Eric Kurfman said...

Thank you for being so honest. I am a missionary in Japan and I always enjoy reading your blog...

BUT to be honest I sometimes felt discouraged because of all that is NOT happening here.Sometimes I get in the "whats wrong with me",why can't I get it right, why is this guy so "successful"... blah, blah, blah...

THANK YOU for showing me that your struggles and mine are not that different...that all it takes is putting one foot in front of the other and being faithful...working through each situation as it comes up...and once again, it is MAINLY HIS faithfulness that gets any of the work done anyway...

THANK YOU!!
A fellow traveler

GuyMuse said...

Daniel,

Gracias por la palabra de ánimo. En verdad las viejas canciones muchas veces son las mejores. Parece que en mi mente pasan las letras de estas canciones del ayer más que los nuevos.

Strider,

Thanks for the prayer, and thanks for the reminder about the elder brother. I personally think it has more to do with burnout at this stage than anything else, or hopefully just a temporary low point in the road. Here on the coast of Ecuador, every Jan-Apr is a "down town" that seems to prevade over most folks. I have never been able to get a real grasp on what it is that takes place, but am feeling it this year more than other years.

Eric,

Welcome to the M Blog, good to hear from a new reader! I took the liberty of checking out your profile and looking through the various entries on your two blogs. Anyone who can learn Japanese certainly has a big admiration from me! I've always heard working in Japan is very difficult. My prayers go out to you as well that the Lord would lift you up and give you the encouragement you need to persevere in the calling He has on your life. Indeed, as you write, our struggles are not all that different. I often think that discouragement is the #1 enemy of most missionaries that I know. It seems to be the enemies favorite and most effective weapon with so many of us. May we stand together proclaiming the victory that is ours in Christ, and not give in to the whisperings of the devil telling us our lives are not making any difference in being here.

Kiki Cherry said...

Guy and Linda,

First of all--you are not alone. We are just coming out of a season much like the one you described. And in the course of talking to several of our teammates--are discovering that they have gone through much of the same thing.

I especially relate to what you said about things going well all around you, but you are just missing the joy. That describes exactly where I was three weeks ago.

I have been contemplating what is happening, as I've watched so many in ministry struggling this past season. After a week of solitude and refreshment alone with God, I think I have a better understanding.

1) We are in short supply of Aarons and Hurs--those people who will walk alongside, through the messy and the gritty, and really fight with us in prayer. We need to petition our Abba to raise those kindred hearts up to walk alongside and serve with us.

2) We are in the middle of some intense spiritual warfare. There is no doubt that God has been at work globally these past few months. There are so many cool spiritual things occurring that only God could have initiated. Satan doesn't like that, and he's waging war--especially against the personal lives and families of those on the front lines.

3) God is taking us to a place of "further still." He needs us humble, broken, holy and useable for what He is getting ready to do. Can you feel it? It's in the air. God is raising up a remnant who will be radically sold out for him. And He's refining us by fire. But have you also noticed how very present and faithful and even more tangible He has seemed recently? I have been amazed at how he has been so very real and present, even when I have been discouraged, or rebellious, or ready to run.

I have been praying for you guys, and count you as "kindred hearts." I am thankful for you, and blessed to count you as friends.

GuyMuse said...

Kiki,

Thanks for the well-spoken word. You hit the issue square on the nose. Thanks so much for your prayers and support. I was hesitant about sending out such a "downer" type post, but decided we needed the prayer support, more than our pride! The truth of the matter is that things are pretty much as we describe them and are in need of a fresh perspective like you give to help us see afresh and anew that God is in control. This is what we tried to express with our latest post just above about leaven. Even though we can't always see God at work around us, He is about leavening our dough. Thanks again for your timely words and for being a "kindred heart."

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Guy,

I feel like I have arrived late for the party.

I know of which you speak. Thank you for your openness, it has helped me see somethings about where I am.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007, you, your family and the ministry God has called you to will be the topic of our Prayer Time here at the church I serve.

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

Thanks so much for this word of encouragement and especially for making it a matter of prayer tonight in your Wed. evening service. I do believe the Lord is hearing the prayers of those who have prayed over this post and am beginning to feel much better. One book that has been a help and blessing these days is John Eldredge's "Waking the Dead". If you can get a copy I would recommend the book to you and anyone else feeling like they are in a spiritual slump.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Guy,

Just returned from our service. You, your wife, and your children were lifted before our Heavenly Father.

I told the congregation about your latest Dr. Pepper craving. I also explained how I have been praying for you and challenged them to do the same. Received a phone call from my Chairman of Deacons and he said on the way home he stopped to get drinks for his three kids and wife. Guess what he got them? Dr. Peppers and they prayed for you and your family tonight in their family time.

Blessings,
Tim

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

Thanks for this good news. It means so much to us to know of the prayer being lifted on our behalf. Tell the family that drank Dr. Peppers thanks for praying too and to keep up the custom!