Improve Your Prayer Life

When I read the Bible, I am drawn to the passionate God-wrestlers:

Jacob
Elijah
Jonah
Jeremiah
Martha

People like that. (If you’re unfamiliar with their stories and want to read them, let me know–I’ll tell you where to find them.)

I am drawn to the characters who bring everything they are into their relationship with God–even when they’re angry at him.

A few years ago, my husband gave me boxing gloves and a 70-pound heavy bag to hang in the garage. He thought that might be helpful to my prayer life. Totally was.

Have you ever let the intensity of your wrestling with God work its way out of you physically? I’m talking about prayer that is not clean or pretty or dignified. It’s rough and raw and unrehearsed.

Have you ever unloaded on God your hurt and anger and doubts and questions to the point that you’ve given him every bit of it? Kept wrestling until you can’t anymore because you’ve emptied out all your questions and doubts and anger onto him? Have you ever exhausted yourself against God–punched through it all to the place where you find him holding you and you can rest on him and hear his love for you again?

I have.

Have you? What appeals to you or scares you about that idea?

Connect the dots parenting

A few years ago, CNN ran an article exploring a new book called Almost Christian by Kendra Creasy Dean. (Check out the full article: “Author: More teens becoming ‘fake’ Christians,” by John Blake, CNN.)

Dean’s research into the state of Christian faith among American teens sounds fascinating. But the part of the article that jumps out at me most strongly is a set of paragraphs discussing one of the key factors in a teen developing a vital and active faith.

It’s a parent factor. And it has nothing to do with sending your kids to church.

Check this excerpt from the CNN article:

“…parents who perform one act of radical faith in front of their children convey more than a multitude of sermons and mission trips.

“…But it’s not enough to be radical — parents must explain ‘this is how Christians live,’ she says.

“‘If you don’t say you’re doing it because of your faith, kids are going to say my parents are really nice people,’ Dean says. ‘It doesn’t register that faith is supposed to make you live differently unless parents help their kids connect the dots.’”

Now I’ve seen plenty of people with a vital faith whose parents didn’t have one at all. And I’ve seen parents with a radical faith whose kids didn’t. It’s not a guaranteed equation by any means. But it got me thinking. Want to join in? Here are the questions I’m curious about:
Did you ever see your parent/s perform an “act of radical faith?” Did they connect the dots? If so, how? Has that affected your own faith?

If you’re a parent, have you ever performed an “act of radical faith” in front of your kids? Did you connect the dots? If so, how?

Summer 2008 (repost)

This summer the Olympics are being held in London, England. Summer 2008, the Olympics hit Beijing, China.

You might remember the crazy awesomeness that was Michael Phelps, swimming for eight gold medals–to add to the six gold and two bronze he won in Athens 2004.

Steve and I love the Olympics, and watch as much of the coverage as we can. But we missed goodly chunks of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

Why? Well, my family was in the process of moving.

Summer 2008, we Wilsons moved from Nevada, where we’d lived for ten years, to the Boulder area of Colorado.

On the face of it, it was a little crazy. We put our house on the market at what our realtors basically called the worst time in the history of mankind to try to sell a house. (Still hasn’t sold, actually.) We left a community we’d lived in and loved for ten years. We left mainstream-ish jobs for more out-on-the-edge jobs. We pulled our kids out of the only church and home they’d ever known.

Why?!? Why would we do that???

Because we did what we believed God was calling us to do. And what our hearts were crying out to do. And really, that’s how I want to live, don’t you?

Because I honest-to-goodness believe that the adventure of following God has a counter-intuitive richness that rewards those who choose it. And we chose it.

As we walked through the process of this radical act, Steve and I were careful to connect the dots for our kids. Our children were well aware not only of the when and how of the move, but of the why.

And as we unpacked boxes in Colorado, we were able to catch up on recorded Olympic coverage. We watched athletes compete and cross their varied finish lines, and felt a bit tired but victorious ourselves.