FROM TIM DOERING

The other day I woke up, spent some time personally pursuing and worshiping the Lord and then hustled downstairs to get breakfast for my kids before they needed to grab their early morning bus to school. I walked into the kitchen and found something that changed my day. It took a minute for my groggy brain to process what I was looking at. The wood floor was weird.

It turns out that sometime during the night the boards had “popped.” What I mean is that the tongue and groove joints had come apart and the boards were actually sticking up. The boards had released with so much pressure that the trim on the walls snapped. Crazy! Right? It turns out that the humidity has been intense for so long that the wood had swollen and created enough pressure that the boards were forced to release, disconnect and ultimately rupture.
 
A little back story: When the floors were originally laid, before we lived there, it was done by a custom wood worker who had not done much with flooring. He tackled the job during a very dry winter. The planks were beautiful; the stain was nice; the seams looked perfect. The problem: it wasn’t installed with other seasons in mind. We rarely run the air conditioner, so our home feels the effects of what’s happening in the weather. Since moving in we’ve noticed that the floor buckles and bubbles a bit in the summer months. Each summer the symptoms seem worse and the wood has a harder time settling back into place in the winter months. This year was bad. It was really starting to show the tension. We called a flooring company who came and looked at it and told us what we needed to do. They were planning on initially making some cuts to relieve the obvious stress on the boards, but the stress won the race. The wood snapped. Now we have a mess on our hands.

What’s this have to do with prayer for the Church of our region? Imagine that this story is a parable about the Church and its leaders. Here are some thoughts to prime the prayer pump. 

  • Is the appropriate space available in schedules and budgets to expand and contract with seasons of fruitfulness or turmoil, but still keep us close and connected? 

  • What are some of the ways that the church has created artificial environments (air conditioning) to insulate us from the real cultural climate? 

  • What signs are you seeing of tension, stress, and pressure that need relief? 

  • Where are the expectations on pastors creating too much demand and not leaving space for attentiveness to the Lord through the Word, Prayer and Equipping Leaders? 

  • Where are the demands, distractions, pleasures, and comforts of the world filling up the life of Christians so that they cannot receive the filling of the Spirit (humidity of God)?

Scripture to guide the prayer:

  • James 4:13-25 - Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

  • Psalm 31:15 – My times are in your hands… 

  • Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act. 

  • Psalm 37:7 - Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…

Oh God, please help us to commit ourselves only to the things that You’ve asked us to, and in the rhythm that You’ve designed for us. May we not order our lives to simply look good or feel good. Rather, we invite You, master carpenter to lay the floor boards of our lives.

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