I found You in the mud,
trod upon and
but not broken –
a diamond buried in a quicksand of judgement,
derision, gossip, fear,
indifference and lies –
just brightly enough
to catch my eye through it all –
in the womb
of Your own power.
I cleaned You
and placed You gleaming
on the highest shelf of my heart –
You are Radiant Dawn.
at the intricacies
of Your design.
Every time I glance in Your direction,
a new way
of seeing the Light –
always reflecting off of You,
bouncing off –
often piercing –
always utterly true.
I am mesmerized by Your presence.
The more I focus on Your beauty,
the more everything else
rises to the surface
and lifts off of me,
dark clouds into the distance …
I am left only
with a heart full of sunshine
and a surprising flood
of peace in my soul.
I think You were the one,
who knew just how
to find me all along.
I think I’ve lived my whole life safely
on a shelf
in Your Sacred Heart,
gazed upon with eyes of mercy
and unconditional love.
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Phillipians 2 1-11
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature of God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
We live in an age of cynicism about organized religion and the power of prayer.
As we’ve watched public scandals rock the foundation of the church and many use positions of religious authority to pursue questionable political agendas, many of us have been put off and lost a desire to participate in organized religion. Painful life circumstances can cause us to doubt in the power of prayer or the presence of God in our lives, leading us away from perceiving faith as a worthy pursuit. As the darkness of suffering in our world gets deeper, many simply don’t see faith as a viable source of help or inspiration.
This is a shame because when we’re suffering, we have a unique opportunity to let go of our attachments to the things of this world and become more in tune with the spiritual world that is truly even more real and active around us at all times and can bring so much goodness into our lives.
The truth is Jesus still heals, comforts, strengthens, performs miracles and fills us with His living spirit today like He always has. Those of us, who have been blessed to encounter His life-giving love realize He is always inviting us into deeper peace and union with Him through prayer. Within organized religion while there is often dysfunction, there is also often an opportunity for deep communion with God and believers, who are sincerely seeking the Lord with all their hearts and can bring great blessings into our lives.
Truly, it’s up to each and every one of us to be the hands of feet of Christ in the world, regardless of the choices other people make or the toxic culture we are immersed in or the unique struggles of our lives. Even those of us who have been wounded by hypocrisy of people in power within the church don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. Chances are we’ve made plenty of our own mistakes on our journey through life! Through forgiving ourselves and others, we can still work to forge a relationship with the living God, who is always waiting to connect with us through the power of prayer.
Where are you on your faith journey? Have you discovered the name above all names? Do you struggle to have faith in Jesus because you are disillusioned with organized religion? Do you believe in the power of prayer? How has Christ’s presence in your life impacted You personally?
Lord, You are the Diamond in the Rough of our broken world. Help us to see Your living presence through our own doubts and the dysfunction of so many people, who have hurt us by misrepresenting You and Your life-giving love at the service of their own egos. Help us to see Your beauty through the muck and place Your name on the highest shelf in our hearts. Whether through organized religion or contemplative prayer and study, grace us with the ability to experience Your love and peace flowing into our hearts and through them into the world. Give us the grace to forgive and pray for those, who have hurt us and the church by misrepresenting You in the brokenness of their humanity or a desire for power. Heal our unbelief. Fill us with Your spirit and grace us with an undeniable encounter with Your life-giving love, so we can truly have faith in You. Draw us close, keep us safe in this broken world. Guide us into the life You are dreaming for us, and surround us with others, who are sincerely seeking You. Prevent us from being the ones, who hurt others and cause them disillusionment about faith. Guard the hearts and souls of those we love most in spite of our failings. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
written by Nicky Gant http://www.uniteinprayer.org 3/5/2021