Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PRAYER

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…I want people everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing --I Timothy 2:1

“Pray for surf.” Good bumper sticker fodder, don’t you think? While leaders of government wrangle about whether we’ll have prayer in schools and national days of pray, there is no argument that praying and surfing are completely compatible. We pray for surf because we long for a good muscular groudswell to hit our shores. We know that we have really no control over whether that happens or not. Flat spells could last for days, weeks, or (gasp) months, and yet there is not a single thing you can do about it. But you can pray. And God--who arranges all the nature and science, all the stuff that results in that perfectly groomed a-frame detonating at just the right spot--will hear you.

“Pray while surf.” That happens when conditions get critical. When the crowds are thick and you decide to tempt fate by sitting inside to pick off the small wedgers and then you hear someone shout “out the back” and everyone scrambles for deep water.

As for you, you are about to take a beating. Cold water makes it worse. Sharp bottom makes it worser! But as bad as it is, as bad as that hold-down is, it’s really good for prayer. It’s a good place to cry out. It’s OK, because God evidently hears prayers that are offered to Him underwater. Ask Jonah!

“Pray for surfers.” This may be the best idea yet, because of all that is made that surrounds you in the surf, it’s these surfers who are made in the image of God, the ones who will last forever, the ones that God sent His only son into the world on a mission to rescue.

What a great way to redeem a surf session, where the waves aren’t coming to you, and the water’s cold, and the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, and you knew you should have stretched on the beach before paddling out because you are surfing like a Barney. When all this happens, the session can be saved as you scan the line-up and pray for the people you see. They may be folks or know, or you may know none at all. But they are people. And because they are, they are loved by God. And they are broken, And they have been scarred. And they’ve got questions. And they have been hurt. And they live with haunting memories as they have hurt others. And if they choose to live a life without God in this life, God will simply formalize that desire in the life after this one and they will be separated from God for an eternity.

You can pray that God blesses them and softens their heart. You can pray for their relationships to be whole. You can pray for their ears to be open. You can pray that somehow God would put into their orbit someone who follows Jesus in a way that is compelling. And you can pray that that some would be you.

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