Have you ever avoided asking a question because you thought you already knew the answer? This past winter when the stomach bug was floating around, my son Elliott started walking slowly down the hall towards the bathroom and I reluctantly asked him the scary question, “Does your tummy hurt, buddy?” I already knew the answer. The bug had landed in our household. Bring on the Lysol.
Sometimes the questions we ask reveal what we hope is true or not true. By the look on Elliott’s face, I knew he was probably sick, but I was hoping by asking the question, somehow the fate of stomach illness would be avoided. I think the prayers we pray often reveal similar longings and fears. We pray for some kind of change in our hearts or for a need that we see in our neighborhood, but we know what must be done, and it may not be the most comfortable choice.
As we have been investigating the work of the Spirit in our lives in this portion of the Portrait of the Savior series, the prayer that constantly keeps coming up in my heart is, “Spirit, have your way.” This, my friends, is a dangerous prayer. If you want to remain comfortable and keep things as they are, then by all means avoid this kind of thinking and reflection. Tune the Holy Spirit out for an easy life! For when we open our hearts to listen and obey the Spirit, he’s going to move us into places and circumstances that we may have previously avoided, ignored, or been unaware of. Even a conversation can take a drastic turn when we open ourselves up to the working of the Spirit. Every moment can be sacred.
I believe spiritual awareness is one the biggest obstacles in our spiritual lives. We can go throughout an entire day and miss the spiritual potential of a moment that we may deem as a throw-away. The Spirit is always moving, speaking, and working but we are often too busy or distracted to hear. The work of the Spirit, as Alan Watts writes, is “inseparable from the contents of daily experience.”
So if you are up for deepening your spiritual life, pray this simple prayer: “Spirit, have your way.” Listen to what he says as you reflect on Scripture and engage with people throughout the day. Pray for the strength to obey and faithfully follow in the way that he leads. Behold the work of the God in and through you and jump into the mystery that is living by the Spirit.