Luke 18:1,8b,14b – Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (NIV)
Frankly, I have always loved the sunlight. As a small child, I regularly went to the park around the corner from where we lived to play. My tan got so dark that one time we converted a neighbour's old Brownie uniform into a squaw's dress for Halloween.
Last winter, I confessed to my doctor an inexplicable depression. He suggested health glasses, which shoot light rays into my pupils to mimic the effects of the sun, just in case the trouble was Seasonal Affective Disorder. It was plausible, and it would explain my love for being in the sun, so I purchased them from the local pharmacy. When I put them on, I mentally envision the wonder of basking in summer daylight. I feel somewhat transported in time and space. It's rather fun.
Recently, I was making notes on prayer, and came across a reflection by Brother Lawrence, the seventeenth-century mystic. He saw a tree in wintertime, stripped of its leaves, standing bare and bleak against the sky. He thought of the life still within the tree and knew that soon there would be new leaves, blossoms and fruit. This filled him with a high view of God's loving care and power, leading him to bow in reverence before his Maker. A simple thing, really. That is all we need to start our minds going toward God.
I saw myself and all other saints in the winter of the soul in this barren tree. I love to look at a tree's branches in winter. One can almost guess at a tree's character when it is divested of its leaves, causing its true shape and nature to be exposed. Isn't that so true about ourselves in our own winter seasons of the heart and soul and body? We can't hide our weaknesses at such times, but if we confess our sins (like I confessed my struggle with depression) and bask in the gift of the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit (like the energy given to me by the glasses), we can continue in faithfulness with our heads head high. Even when it is dark and dim, we, like the tree, still have life within us. We still have the responsibility of a relationship to maintain, through prayer.
Ephesians 6:18-20 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (KJV)
Prayer: Dear Lord, grant that we may remain faithful in our prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and intercession for one another, in season and out of season, when we are in and out of sorts. May our prayers water the land, and may Your Holy Spirit shine on the hearts of the people in our homes and our nations, and especially our leaders, so that You may be perfectly glorified. In the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.