Part 3: Praying through changing seasons — Staying Connected
In this series of praying through changing seasons, we’ve looked at the process like that of metamorphosis – change is happening, it might not be comfortable, but it’s necessary as we’re transformed into the Image of Christ.
Last week Karin and I shared about the importance of waiting during the change; that instead of becoming impatient, we fix our gaze upon Jesus and prepare our hearts during the waiting season.
This week, I have the pleasure of writing with another one of my “spiritual daughters,” Erika Vidor.
Erika has been learning how important it is to stay connected with the Lord during a season of change; not running ahead, taking things in our own hands, but staying connected to the Vine.
John 15:4 says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Interestingly, during the process of metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly, the caterpillar is hatched on a leaf, and not just any leaf, but ONLY the kind that it can eat from to be sustained. Each caterpillar has a specific type of leaf that can nourish it and if it is on the wrong leaf, it will die; and so it is with us.
We must stay connected to the Vine to be sustained, and when seasons are changing, this connection can be vital to making sure we’ll make it through the process, accomplishing ALL that the Lord desires for the change to be successful and the “Butterfly” to emerge!
Erika writes, “The Lord started speaking to me recently about staying connected to Him. He said that many people, understandably, want to know what’s coming, but then go into auto-pilot when they hear something from Him; not praying about it, not worshiping, not reading His Word. But it takes effort to stay connected and in pursuit of His will, continually worshiping Him and staying at His feet so we don’t miss it when there’s a next step forward, or something shifts. He speaks to us and shows us things in a way we can understand now, and it will evolve over time as our ‘story’ develops.
“A few months ago I awoke feeling very convicted that I was not praying or believing for the Lord’s will in certain situations. I was just accepting the current way of things as forever-fact.
Then I remembered that a little over a month prior, I heard Him tell me that I often see things as permanent; like there’s this finality to everything, and He told me that it’s just not true or accurate. As with all of us, there are things that we’d like to see changed, and I found myself resigning to the lie of, ‘Well, I guess this is just always going to be this way’. That’s how I would talk about it with friends or family. I wouldn’t pray about it because it seemed too hard to have the faith to wait or ask or expect such a big change. It seemed easier to just give up.
“But as I was spending time with God that morning, He led me to 1 Samuel 16:7: But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’.
“I felt the Lord saying to me, ‘The temptation lately has been to accept what things LOOK or SEEM like and there’s been a lack of faith that they could be different or that they could change’. I felt Him showing me that instead of believing it’ll always be this way and that I need to get used to it, I should believe in faith for change and pray for what He wants in the situation. God was showing me that He wants me to ask Him for His perspective in everything, and pray from that place.
“Since ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1), a lack of faith expresses disbelief in what we haven’t seen yet. We’re basically saying, ‘God, I know You’ve said this, but because I haven’t seen it yet, it must not be true so I’m going to think and speak about it as if it’ll never be so’. I started asking God to help me to speak about things with faith, to help me handle situations and people with faith – using worship, prayer, and declarations of truth that He will provide and He alone can change things’.
“He was saying, ‘Stay connected! Don’t give up or resign yourself to what you see now. Continually enter your secret place with Me and hear what I am saying today’.
“Through this process of conviction and revelation, God led me to Hebrews 11. In this chapter of scripture, the author tells us that by faith, all of these people entered into God’s rest. This one chapter alone says the words, ‘By faith…’ 18 times! It says this in relation to at least 17 people in the Bible. God is saying that FAITH is a BIG DEAL! Faith needs to pervade every word and thought, it needs to be infused in every action, bit of love, service, and sacrifice; that we need to ask Him for help and put forth effort in speaking and praying about things with faith. It means, praying about everything, listening for His answers, speaking them out loud, and trusting He will bring them to pass; and no matter how long it takes we stay connected to Him!
“So friends, be encouraged and don’t give up during a changing season – stay connected to God and have faith, knowing that He who began a good work in you, WILL be faithful to complete it!”
Robyn Morris is the Director of the Wilmington House of Prayer Community Prayer Room on Main Street.
Erika Vidor is an Intercessory Missionary serving in the Charleston, S.C. area, while making Wilmington her home away from home for times of equipping and refreshing.