On Easter, the message at my church was centered on a passage in Ezekiel that speaks of the valley of dry bones. In a prophetic vision, Ezekiel has a conversation with God about how these bones represent the people of Israel who have become complacent and lukewarm in their faith. God instructs Ezekiel to speak to the bones and command them to hear the word of the Lord. Following his command, the bones came back to life and the tendons and muscles and skin formed over them once again. And then God told Ezekiel to command breath into them again and the dry bones became alive once again. This vision was an illustration of what God was going to do in His people.
I started thinking about this today after reading a quote from Oswald Chambers. “You should always recognize the difference between what you see Jesus to be and what He has done for you. If you see only what He has done for you, your God is not big enough.” After thinking about this for a bit, I realize that my bones are dry, that my faith and relationship with God have suffered from comfort and complacency for quite a while. I have not experienced the freshness of “seeing Jesus” that brings new life to dry bones.
A few years back, I read a book by Pastor Craig Groeschel titled “It”. He describes three “dangerous” prayers that will bring about life transformation and challenges the reader to consider praying these daily:
· Stretch me – our faith can get complacent, especially during comfortable seasons of life. This is a prayer for spiritual revitalization.
· Ruin me – this is a prayer asking God to tear down the walls we build around hearts to protect us from the outside world. It’s a plea for vulnerability and to see life around us with eyes that God sees it with….that my heart would be broken for the things that break His.
· Heal me – there is always a need from healing. This world is brutal and the wounds it causes can only be healed by God.
I prayed each of these prayers earnestly for days, and I have seen how truly dangerous they are. But I choose to see them as powerful prayers rather than dangerous, because God is looking out for us and has our best interests in mind. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV) So I begin praying them again with an understanding that He will answer them in the way He knows I need today.
I talk a lot about Resole. Recently, I’ve realized a fifth intertwining element needed to be added: Repent. I guess that’s what this post is. Me realizing that I’ve become dry and complacent, trusting on my own understandings and ways of life rather than upon the Giver of Life. Repent is leveraging the honest assessments we take of our lives through Relive and Rethink and confessing our error and sin and then turning away from it and to God. There’s indescribable power in repentance. If you’ve never done it, or maybe it’s been a while since you last did, I encourage you to join me in these simple prayers.