"And that is what he wants his disciples to experience: fellowship, friendship, and presence of the Father, the exact sort of thing that Jesus experiences in prayer."
—From Ch. 10 ("Second) of Jesus Journey
I have a confession to make. I didn’t read Jesus Journey in forty days—I read it in two. Because I'm Trent’s older sister.
You read things differently when you know the author (and I mean, really know the author!). I remember the funny, magical moments Trent writes about in his book, and I remember many of the moments when Trent had revelations or transformations in his life.
In families, when one is transformed, God’s goodness and faithfulness flows freely, and all who around will most likely be touched as well. God’s just like that. He loves families, and I'm so grateful for mine.
Trent begins chapter eleven with a love story about Bronwyn—what a curious way to start a chapter about Jesus' prayer life! But the older I become (I turned forty-five just a few days ago, and I’m getting wrinkles and gray hair now), the more I find myself focusing on love.
Loving my husband, Mark; loving my precious children; loving my parents; loving my brothers, Tré and Trent, and their amazing wives, Tori and Bronwyn; loving those who feel unlovable; loving my enemies; loving my extended family; and, at the center of it all, loving my dear Jesus. I’ve always been opinionated (to a fault many times), but I find that if I love Jesus more, and love others more, my opinions don’t necessarily change…they just don’t matter as much to me.
“Fellowship, friendship and presence” with the Father are the words Trent uses when he describes Jesus’ desire for his disciples in prayer. Those are “love” words, aren’t they?
I love Jesus and I need Jesus, desperately. So I talk with him in prayer because I don’t know how to live my life without him—without his words, his direction, his answers. I need Jesus to lead me to the embrace of the Father.
Life can become so confusing at times, and I worry about my children too much, so I need the Father to speak to me about their lives, their futures, and to calm me down. I need the comfort of Holy Spirit to sustain me. In prayer, “love” happens and we talk together.
We discuss my little world and God's good plans for it. We talk about the lives of others, and how they are hurting or confused or desperate for love to encounter them as well.
Sometimes, these prayer-conversations happen when I’m driving down the street, or when I’m cooking dinner for my family. Sometimes, they happen when I’m on my knees early in the morning or in the middle of the night. Sometimes, they happen when I’m angry, or happy, when I’m feeling deflated or excited, or when I hear bad news about others, about children who are hurting and hungry.
But, these prayer-conversations happen on a regular basis because I love Him and He loves me and I need Him and, incredibly, He wants to use me (and you too…just think about that!) to create and extend and give more love to the world—“fellowship, friendship, and presence” all around.
"Fellowship, friendship, and presence” often begins with a simple conversation, but there’s so much more at work than just a conversation. I thank God for that, because when I’m going about my work, or when I'm cleaning the house, or when I'm ironing a piece of clothing for my kids, and I'm talking with and listening to God in prayer at the same time, I’m so glad that I’m not just going through the routine of life!
No, I’m loving God in that moment, and God is loving me in that moment, and in His supernatural way our fellowship together is somehow—one prayer-conversation, one love-step at a time—changing the world around me.
I can’t get my head around the wonder and greatness of the simplicity of prayer, but I do know this…I have a lot of work to do today and there is no way I’m going to face it without His fellowship, His friendship, and His presence. I just can’t.
You see, I need God's love, and I’m in awe that He wants mine.
Today's guest post is by my one-and-only big sister, Krista (Sheppard) Harris, whom I've lovingly called "Sta" since I was about two years old: "I love all things family! My husband, Mark, and I long for wholeness and happiness in families, in children, and in marriages. We work hard to do 'family' the way God intended it to be done. Sometimes it’s beautiful, and sometimes it’s difficult, but we love sharing our insight of twenty years of marriage and almost sixteen years of raising children. We hope to create a space (in-life and online) for others to learn and grow about God's good intentions for family—so that generations upon generations of children can know and experience the love of God through mother and fathers loving them well, and loving each other beautifully."
Photo credits: Chelsea Hudson