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“I pray to God-my life a prayer-
And wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
Waiting and watchung till morning,
Waiting and watching till morning.
Oh Israel (oh Follower of Jesus Christ),
wait and watch for God-
With God’s arrival comes love,
With God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
From Psalm 31. The Message

Have you ever fallen asleep at night talking to God about a burden, a preoccupation, a grief or a need and upon awaking the next morning, you find that your heart and spirit are still in prayer? You have been waiting. You have been watching. Your life is becoming a prayer.

Hold on to the promise… That with his arrival comes his love and his generous redemption. Let the Spirit of Christ smooth the salve of his grace, love and hope over the wounded places of your life and bring redemption, restoration and newness. Wait on the Lord. Wait on Him til the dawning of the new morning.

This morning, I joined in worship at the Gracewood UMC, Augusta, Ga. I had left my home, intending to drive out to Thomson, to an African-American non-denoninational church, pastored by a good friend of mine. But on the way, the Spirit urged me to take the interstate exit and go on out south of town to Gracewood UMC. Of course, I arrived a little late, and the praise team was already well into the second praise set.

Worshippers were singing; some dancing; three women were gracefully waving lovely sheer banners in front of the congregation. After 15 to 20 minutes more of adoration of our wonderful God and Lord, a powerful, filled-with-God, African-American woman began to exhort and encourage the congregation to share what God is doing and their requests for prayer. Thus began a time of deep, intimate sharing and prayer, such as I have not experienced for quite a while. I was following the conversations, the exhortations, the praise and prayer, when suddenly I realized that a woman near the front, who had just requested prayer for her daughter, was a friend of mine that I have not seen in nearly 15 years. I had lost track of her and her family, but have thought of her and prayed for her so many times over the years. When she glanced back at someone who was speaking behind me, I caught her eye and waved. Her face lighted up in astonishment. A little later, in a lull in the worship, I slipped up toward the front to sit close to her and hug her. What a reunion we had this morning! She whispered to me that she has prayed for me many times over these years, as I have for her, and added that in the past 6-8 months she has repeatedly felt the move of God to pray for me. Unbelievable! well, not really; that’s the way of my great God.

So let me say, I praise God once again for His mercy, for His grace, for His glory; for friends, old and new. For colleagues in ministry. For family, for children, for grand-children. I praise God that through all of the twists and turns of life, He often brings us full circle to once again find a friend of the heart and through that reunion, experience His magnificent and furious love.

Eugene Peterson, in the introduction to the book of Ephesians in The Message wrote:

What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives. The moment the organic unity of belief and behavior is damaged in any way, we are incapable of living out the full humanity for which we were created.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our sin-wrecked world. He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God, and then, like a surgeon skillfully setting a compound fracture, “sets” this belief in God into our behavior before God so that the bones – belief and behavior – knit together and heal.

Once our attention is calleld to it, we notice these fractures all over the place. There is hardly a bone in our bodies that has escaped injury, hardly a relationship in our city or job, school or church, family or country, that isn’t out of joint or limping in pain. There is much work to be done.

And so Paul goes to work…. the energy of reconciliation is the dynamo at the heart of the universe, it is imperative that we join in vigorously and perseveringly, convinced that every detail in our lives contributes (or not) to what Paul describes as God’s plan worked out by Christ, “a long range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

As I meditated on this introduction and the first chapter of Ephesians early this morning, I realized that the choice of praise music that I am listening to builds on these thoughts: “How Great is our God, Sing with me, How great is our God. So all will see, how great, how great is our God… You’re the name above all names, you are worthy of all praise; my heart will sing, How Great is our God!”

How Great Is Our God lyrics
Songwriters: Cash, Ed; Tomlin, Chris; Reeves, Jesse

The splendor of a King, clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps himself in Light, and darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

The Godhead Three in One
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

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