Friday, January 11, 2013

A Gift for Now

beautifully wrapped gifts from Aymi
 (Photo credit: susansimon)
We have just passed the major "gift" season of the year, Christmas.  Most of the time, when you purchase a Christmas present for someone, no matter how far in advance you buy it, you give it at Christmas.  Likewise a birthday present is usually given on someone's birthday.  A Valentine's Day present (just 35 days away, guys [if you need a reminder]) MUST be given on Valentine's Day!  The point is a gift usually has a particular point in time for which it is applicable.
The other day I heard  a preacher speaking on prayer and he said that "prayer is a gift."  The very fact that we can freely at any place, any time communicate with the God of Universe makes prayer one of the most extraordinary and unbelievable gifts imaginable.  But then I began to think. . .  prayer is a gift for now.

At first you may think I mean prayer is a gift for this moment, and that is true. Prayer is not for the future, because we have no guarantee of even our next breath, much less a future in which to pray, it is for today.  

But actually, I was thinking that prayer is for this life.  In heaven, we will experience the perfect union with our Lord that we only know in the spirit here on earth.  There will be no flesh to "lust against the spirit,"  there will be no hindrances to the Lord's will in our lives. In fact,  ". . .there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4).  I don't know just what we would be praying about for that matter!

Perhaps prayer is only for this life.   Then doesn't it make the concept of prayer even sweeter?  Knowing that once we have gone to Heaven we will no longer need the communication tool of prayer it should make our prayers even more precious to us now.

We have a video of our youngest daughter when she was about two and a half years old.  She and I were sitting on the living room floor as I was checking the Christmas tree lights.  Her long, then blonde hair surrounded her angelic little face and the different colors of the lit bulbs reflected off her eyes and cheeks.

"I like the bu ones.  I like the Kissmass tee lights!"  she says happily on the video.  That cute toddler voice was so precious then, but if at twenty-one she spoke like that today, I'd probably be making an appointment for a speech therapist.  The time for the cute two-year old speak has passed, but even remembering it mists up my eyes -- the remembrance is as dear to my heart as the event was when it occurred.

Perhaps prayer is our toddler speak to our Lord and the time will come when that way of communicating will pass away and we will reach a greater maturity in our communication with Him. . .perhaps something that we can't even conceive of at this time.  How much more should that make us want to pray now, thinking the days of being able to do so are numbered?

It reminds me of the last verse of the old hymn, "Sweet Hour of Prayer":

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”     

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