Friday, December 26, 2008

My Mountain Spring

Full of Christmas? I hope so.

Counting down the Top 10 LifeNotes of 200
Top Ten8, we're at #7, which made the list from the month of May.

Here's "My Mountain Spring." In my opinion it's one of the most explanatory and helpful ones of the year. I hope it helps you.

Merry day after Christmas!


At our home church and in some of my Face To Face groups, we’ve been talking about prayer.

When I say, “Let’s talk about prayer.” the faces of most either remain glued in place to hide what’s going on inside, droop with a sort of “Won’t this be fun” look, or their faces slightly flinch and turn away. I wonder if they would look any different if instead I said, “Let’s talk about tooth decay.”

Oh, boy.

Most of us have a fairly long history with prayer. Somewhere back in the early years of our Christian life, we learned about it. In fact, for many, prayer education was like getting old enough to learn math or Spanish or history. The teacher, passionate and faithful to his craft, told us how indispensable the subject was—Pay attention! You’ll need this. To varying degrees, we were interested at least for a while, but when we found something more interesting or fun or beneficial, off we went in pursuit, leaving our recent education parked on the shelf in favor of something more useful or invigorating.

I don’t have much use for geometry these days, I use Spanish only to increase my chances of getting what I order at local Mexican restaurants, and I don’t really care about who rounded the Cape first, Sir Francis Drake, Jacob Le Maire, or Al Gore. None of it gives me much of a thrill or lights my passion. I had to learn, but given the choice, I’d rather watch a good movie, go fly-fishing, or eat a really great burrito. See what I mean? I learned so I could do or get something else—free time and food.

For a lot of us, that’s what prayer was—something we learned to do in order to get something else. That something else might have included a better day, a better job, a better outcome, a better future, or a better wife, but in any case, praying wasn’t the thing, getting something because of it was the thing. (By the way, lots of us have virtually stopped praying because we’ve found prayer doesn’t often give us the something else we wanted. Prayer has become more about disappointment than fulfillment, so how many of us who have been around awhile really want to do it?) How many of us ever gathered a group together and said excitedly, “Hey, everyone! Let’s spend the next couple of hours in prayer!”

Oops. I have.

Before I learned how to strategize my life by praying the right way, I got to know God in prayer. I found that God was like my own personal fountain of youth—Ponce de Leon was on the right track, he just looked in the wrong place. God showed Himself to be like a spring of water that I could visit anytime simply by taking a few steps away from the dry flatlands of the visible and temporary world, toward the rich and satisfying peaks of the invisible and eternal. My best expression before prayer was, “I simply want to be with you!” In other words, “I thirst.”

If God is, in fact, like a spring of life, a fountain of revival, then all I have to offer Him is my thirst. That I can do. The best way to glorify my Mountain Spring is to get to it as often as possible and to drink to the full, to drink to satisfaction. It would be foolish to drag water from the flatlands up to the spring, there to pour it in, hoping to make something more of it, hoping to make it go somewhere else or look different. Or maybe we could get a bucket brigade going to make a really impressive watering hole, set up some floodlights to illuminate it, and add-on some related attractions to get people up the hill.

Prayer is offering to God my thirst for Him. The way to please the Mountain Spring, the way to please God is to come to Him to get and not to give, to drink and not to water. Every time I approach the Spring it is because I have found its’ water to be everything I need—that’s how God is glorified by me. I believe He is who He says He is, and my efforts related to wanting Him and finding Him is how the spring of living water now in me issues forth as His display through me. He has planned for that.

So, whatever it is that makes me thirsty—frustration, chaos, futility, lust, covetousness, hopelessness, envy, weakness, arrogance, pride, anger, unbelief, or gas prices—I want to be quicker and quicker to head for water. And since He now lives in me, since the Spring is so close, I can silently turn my thoughts toward Him in the confident hope that satisfaction and water await. Anything(!) that surfaces my need is the avenue toward the Spring. My satisfaction and His glory through meeting the need are the result. You and I are set up for this.

So if prayer is about drinking, have one on me.


  1. Anonymous12:58 PM

    Man, this was great.

    Thanks for the refreshing blog.

  2. Anonymous11:16 AM

    I enjoyed the way you wrote this. It's an invitation to prayer, not a command.
    I liked it a lot.

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    While prayer can sometimes be a drudgery, it's almost always because I've begun thinking that I HAVE to do it, or what an idiot I am for not doing it. All that junky thinking takes a toll on me, and the invitation to the delight of prayer is overwhelmed by other things.

    Truly, prayer is now my native tongue, and the more I get used to it, the better, more normal I feel.

    And that's pretty good.


  4. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Makes good sense!

  5. Anonymous7:39 PM

    Like this one especially well!