Page 362 has been filled with writing, study, and prep for the weekend. After a late day out photographing in the cold, today began with the writing of yesterday’s page before turning my attention to the prayer guide for next week. With my “usual” prayer guide writing time falling on Christmas Day, writing the next prayer guide on a Thursday makes it feel like a Monday. As I spent time with God, my mind kept thinking about the “Watch & Pray” New Year’s Eve vigil I am working on for Sunday afternoon and evening. Out of that came the topic for the next prayer guide — “Open Your Eyes”. It is so easy to let life, even our prayer life, become so routine that we completely miss the important things around us.
Two passages came to mind as I worked on the topic of open your eyes. The first was the account of Jesus and the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane. The request of Jesus to His disciples was more than just for them to pray — they were asked to “watch and pray”. Jesus wanted His followers to pay attention as they prayed. The other passage was from 2 Kings where the prophet Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant to see the help God had sent. When circumstances looked impossible, God was at work in the heavenly realms to provide help that could not be seen with eyes that had not been opened. While most of us probably began our prayer life with hands folded, heads bowed, and eyes closed, I believe it is more important now than ever that God’s people turn to Him in prayer with eyes wide open.
Once the prayer guide was written and then formatted and scheduled to be sent out, I spent the rest of the day focused on the sermon I’ll share Sunday focused on the same subject of praying that God would open our eyes. The temperature outside today was so cold that it was good to keep busy in the office but it also meant that the birds outside my window stayed out of sight and I didn’t go out in search of other photo opportunities. So, today’s photo is one that I took yesterday as we arrived at Holland State Park as the sun broke through the clouds. Our entire drive from the highway out to the lakefront was through snow falling so heavily that it was difficult to see. It was looking like the entire trip would result in no photos as nothing could be seen. But as soon as we reached the park property and was in view of the “Big Red” lighthouse, the snow stopped and the sun began to peek through the cloud cover.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- It is fun to celebrate important events, such as Christmas and birthdays, with family but eventually life returns to some semblance of “normal”.
- I am thankful for the variety of work God allows me to do and I pray that it is always done for His glory.
- When we pray for God to open our eyes, it ought to change how we pray as God removes our “tunnel vision”.
- We will usually miss most of what we aren’t looking for . . . and not even know we missed it.
- Our battle is not against flesh and blood and when we pray with open eyes we begin to see glimpses into the realm where the battle is taking place.
- It is far easier, but far less effective, to pray that God would “bless the sick” than it is to open our eyes and visit the sick and pray with them.
- The sun is always behind the clouds even when it requires perseverance in order to see it.