This may be only the second time in over 7 years that I have posted twice in one day. But I really wanted to get this post up tonight, partly because I’m tired of writing it and re-writing it in my head and partly because I just can’t wait any longer to join in. This post, to me, feels incomplete. But maybe that’s the point – and also this is what happens when I write at night. Fair warning.
November 2011 through January 2012 was a delicate time for my family. John was on sabbatical, which for us at the time was the polite way of saying if your husband doesn’t stop doing ministry for a few months, he’s going to burn out and it is going to get ugly.
We closed ourselves in for a time and allowed our souls the space they needed to settle into the shape for which they were made.
It was during that time I read Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. As I read her words, I realized that even though she wrote in my language, her words were in some way foreign to me. One concept she introduced me to was the breathing prayer.
“The breath prayer . . . does not come primarily from the mind, which is where most of our words come from; the breath prayer arises from the depths of our desire and need. It is powerful because it is an expression of our heart’s deepest yearning coupled with the name for God that is most meaningful and intimate for us at this time.”
After reading her words, I spent time in silence to discover my own breath prayer for that time in my life. I took the name of Lord Jesus and coupled it with words from a prayer by Ted Loder, words that were especially meaningful to me during that tender time of our lives. And so I began to pray these simple words:
Lord Jesus, Gather me now to be with You.
Whatever that means for this moment. Whatever that means for my life. Gather me now to be with You in my anxiety, in my happiness, in my fretfulness, in my vocation.
Gather me now to be with you.
Last year, that prayer was deeply private for me. It still is. But I believe the Lord is in the process of smoothing another layer of that word upon my soul.
But now, not just gather me.
This word came up again when I heard from Jennie Allen a few months ago. Years ago, she had a vision – a deep in her bones desire to gather and equip our generation. She hasn’t been able to shake it. She hasn’t wanted to shake it. You can read her tell it on her blog.
It seems that desires that come from the heart of God are a fire to warm the whole Church, not just one person. This vision – to gather and equip a generation – is beginning to have skin.
You can read more about the details here, but the simple truth is it starts now, with you and with me, breathing in Lord Jesus and breathing out Gather us now to be with you.
Christ in me is the most powerful and miraculous reality that exists in the universe. And so is Christ in you.
If you are made in the image of God, what does that mean for your family, your community, and the world?
If Christ lives within you, how might he want to come out?
If God is real, then what?
Some gatherings don’t happen in person. Some are a gathering of like-mindedness and vision and a linked-arm agreement that God came down to come in. And now he wants to come out. Of you and of me, the Church. What might that look like for you personally and for us collectively?
We want to talk about these things, in person, online, in prayer.
We want to talk in our living rooms and our classrooms and our kitchens. We want to talk on stages and in pulpits and on the park benches while we watch our kids play. We want to talk about them with you in Austin, Texas on February 7 -8, 2014 - to ask questions and wrestle and to do it together.
And then we want to stop talking and we want to move. That statement terrifies me. But let’s move anyway. Let’s move into the lives of those around us as the women we fully are – awake and alive, equipped and armed with the Gospel. Let’s take the time to accept the shape of our souls and then have the courage to share it with others.
I’m joining in. What about you? To learn more, visit IF:Gathering.
Lord Jesus, Gather us to be with you.