Prayer for Clearer Vision (26)

40daysprayer

Guest Post by Trent Tanaro

Prayer Text and Reflection: Mark 1:35-39 (NRSV)

When we think about our vision in life, we often think about where we want to go with our lives over the long haul. Vision is something we set in place in the beginning of a particular journey or direction in which we want to go. Where am I going in my life with God? Where am I going in my life with others around me? These are important questions concerning praying for a clearer vision. Jesus had a clear vision in his life and ministry. He knew where he was going and what he needed to do to get there. Here are a few of the habits or practices that he often did in order to maintain his clear vision:

Jesus chose a time to pray in solitude (a deserted place) and he did this often through his ministry.

Jesus did not allow himself to become complacent. He didn’t become attached to one particular area or expectation (v.37-38).

Jesus stayed on the course of his calling and vision (v.39).

When we take the time to look at these qualities of Jesus, we can learn from him as well. These practices of Jesus will enable us to live a clearer vision and pray for one as well when needed. Having a clear vision takes time and patience while we learn to live it in our daily life with God.

This quote is from Thomas Merton concerning his prayer for direction and perhaps his vision about where he is going in his life…

“Ask me not where I live or what I like to eat . . . Ask me what I am living for and what I think is keeping me from living fully that.” ~Thoughts in Solitude, Thomas Merton

As we embark upon the close of the year and begin to discover the New Year in the days ahead, here are a few things to consider.

When learning to pray for a clearer vision in our life with God and others, there are many practices to choose from in our day and time. A few suggestions are:

*Praying through the Psalms with the use of a resource guide that will lead you through them daily.

*Praying the Divine Hours (Liturgy).

Below are a few links to some resources in both of these areas. They will help you with time and patience in developing a clearer personal vision.

A book on praying the Psalms (HERE).

A website on Praying the Divine Hours (Liturgy) (HERE)

Blessings on your journey, Trent Tanaro


Trent & Marlena Tanaro
Trent & Marlena Tanaro

Trent Tanaro is the minister for the Spearman Church of Christ in Spearman, Texas. I have come to depend on him as a consistent voice in prayer, spiritual direction and contemplation. You can get in touch with Trent on Facebook (HERE) and Twitter (HERE). His blog is located HERE and his church website is HERE.  Thank you, Trent, for sharing your excellent thoughts.  JD

 

Open Eyes to Jesus

4.2.13Have you ever thought that other people can see Jesus so much more clearly then you can? I remember reading the early Max Lucado books and thinking to myself how stunning his reflections were. Phillip Yancey and Brennan Manning and so many others as they write just illuminate my thinking about Jesus. Betty Burton Choate wrote her book ‘Jesus Christ: The Eternal Sacrifice’ and opened my eyes even more. There’s no end to what we can know and learn about Jesus. I’m grateful for those who have served to open my eyes to him … and the way He opens my eyes to Himself.

In John 9 it is the people who can’t see Jesus that are surprising.  They’ve been exposed to Scripture their entire life. One would think that as Jesus stood before them they would have made all the connections and proclaimed, ‘We have found the Messiah!’ But that is not what happened. They miss the signs. The experts trained extensively in the Hebrew Scriptures could not see Messiah standing before them.

I really want to point my finger at them and accuse them harshly, but how many times have I missed the presence of Jesus in my own life. The Pharisees knew all the facts and figures of the coming Christ. They knew the prophecies. They knew the laws of God. They had all the answers about how far you could walk on the Sabbath and how many loopholes there were in the tithing laws. They skillfully reduced God’s word to just over 600 laws and then taught them.

Be careful about criticizing them too loudly. We have more Christian literature, blogposts, rock star preachers, mega churches, podcasts, radio programs, televised Christian events, Christian movies, and Christian marketing material than any time in human history. Jesus is all over the place but how often has He remained unseen in our own lives?

The only one in John 9 who can really see Jesus is a blind man who was healed. Perhaps because he was blinded to all of the distractions of the world around him he was able to clearly know Jesus as healer, prophet, and king. Paradoxically the blind man saw and the seeing men were blinded.

What are the blinders that keep us from really seeing Jesus in our life? I don’t mean knowing about him (facts and figures) or just being aware of the basic elements of the story. I mean I want to see Jesus and how He is moving in my own life, in your life, in the church, in the community, and in the world. I’m afraid the blinders are in place too often that have kept me from having a vision for who Jesus is in the real world around us.

Blinders…

*Tradition that is treated as truth

*A sense of right and wrong that is too dependent upon culture

*My own feelings about myself

*A past hurt that is keeping me from loving others deeply

*The events of my life that have clouded my vision

If I continue to wear these blinders, then my vision of Jesus is blurry and incomplete.  

I wonder if we are to look for the ways that Jesus is  working in life rather than staring at him, maybe we are to be staring at what he’s doing rather than rehearsing the factual story. I’m not saying we should seek to dumb down our attention to detail.  I am suggesting that this attention to detail can become the very blinder that we want to see around and we need to take a broader picture of what God is doing in our lives. We want to join Him in that work. We want to thank Him genuinely for more than just the fact that we heard about how to be baptized. There’s so much more to the Christian experience.

If Jesus could open up our eyes today what would we see? What would we really like to see and know about Jesus, but have never asked God to help us see?

The blind man of John 9 saw something that most of us do not see. It was not complicated. I was blind, and now I can see. That’s all that really matters to me today.  What would happen if you asked Jesus to open your eyes to Him today?

Jesus, please give us a vision for who you are right now in the world around us, our community, our church, our friends, our family, and in us. Amen.

Thanks for reading,

John