Spending extended time in the Presence of God has completely wrecked my prayer life.
As in, I don’t know what to say anymore.
Ironic, I know.
During my regular times of typically knowing what I need to ask God for and for whom, I am now searching for words. My previous prayers seem like whining to me now.
So I just tell Him how much I love Him.
He seems to like that.
Being persistent and faithful in prayer is a big deal, clearly. There are frequent moments when a wave of intercession for someone comes over me, and I pray right then and there. But it didn’t come from my list of things to do. It was on the Father’s heart at that moment, which I am becoming more familiar with, and He was free to share His burden with me. Wow.
He is shifting my focus from being productive to being fruitful.
There is nothing wrong with praying from a list. It can help us stay on track and in focus.
But when the List drowns out the Voice, our perspective can get out of whack.
As a kid, I preferred running errands with my dad over staying home and working through a to-do list he left for me any day.
Why is it then, as an adult I do the opposite? Subconsciously, I choose to be productive over fruitful. I am naturally a person who likes to have a feeling of accomplishment. I also like feeling like I am needed. But the Lord is replacing these things with those days as a kid, just wanting to hang out with my dad.
And we got stuff done, I’m sure of it.
One of my favorite things to do every summer is grow zucchini. Last year, my zucchini plants took off and were growing out of control. The leaves looked like huge green elephant ears and they overran my small raised garden bed.
Funny thing, the only thing missing was the zucchini. The plants appeared to be very productive, by the size of the plants. Sadly, there was very little fruit. The few zucchini that grew rotted before they could become mature, due to a mineral deficiency in the soil.
Productive means I’m being a good Christian. I’m keeping up with my commitments, especially to the Lord. Meeting others’ needs. Emphasis on me, my faithfulness, and my responsibility.
Fruitful means that ministry naturally grows out of my life because I am attached to a true Life Source. “I am the True Vine, you are the branches.” A vine doesn’t have to work hard to produce fruit; it just receives the available nutrients from the environment, and then nothing can stop that fruit from growing.
There is only one qualification for being fruitful; it is being connected to Him. It sounds silly-simple, but it is totally possible to be in ministry and not be connected to the One who really feeds you.
I spent a good amount of time studying burnout from a psychological and counseling perspective. It interested me mostly because I spent an even greater amount of time in ministry burnout myself.
After all that, the only answer that makes sense to me is that being in burnout means I am no longer connected to Him in a way that sustains me.
In reading about Jesus’ life on earth, which do we hear more about: His daily religious routines and obligations, or about how He flowed with His Father’s heart moment by moment?
Did He focus on teaching His followers all the necessary doctrine or was He constantly telling them amazing stories about His Father? When I read through the Gospels now I realize it’s like Jesus just wanted to talk about His awesome Dad.
Father, lift every heavy burden off of us. Show us Your heart for us. I ask that we would be fruitful children in Your kingdom. We love You….