how to build a house of prayer: look for flags of JOY

As for me and my house, we will make the beds.

As for me and my house, we will play star wars.

As for me and my house, we will stomp when we get mad.

We thaw the meat, write our posts, call our friends, manipulate, and often be a whiny chorus,

BUT we rarely, in the little, treadmill things, we rarely serve the LORD, act out a house of prayer.

See us at church; see my arms aching to raise surprised by autumn wind; see our prayer before a meal,

but what overarches and overshadows, what lends its hue, is my own heart attitude and its state of JOY when life is an unexciting treadmill covered in yogurt fingerprints and vain imaginations.

I’ve said before that JOY only comes unnaturally for me, my great Helper burning in me an awareness of His presence. 

Now when I pursue Him who is my JOY, I have to pause. I have to reel in the nature that jumps out like a whip; and, the only way to reel, the only way to wave the battle flags of JOY, is for me to pray, and only lately am I learning that this means to pray with my little ones. 

You have made known to me the path of life; 
       you will fill me with joy in your presence, 
       with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

To stop, hold a little hand, and confess that there is God at the center (Christ indwelling me!) is to lash out with those invisible weapons of the Spirit. A house of prayer restores our hearts to JOY, and with JOY, only in awareness of His presence, do we serve.

I correct the whining. I wait longer than I want. I do the piddly, and I serve. I teach service. I teach prayer. I teach JOY. We meet on the grounds of prayer in discipline at the foot of the cross, and I see that what I pray for them is what I pray for myself – all children. I meet them eye to eye. And JOY cloaks us. Joy is our reminder to return to Him. 

Slow down. STOP even. And Return to Him. Again and again and again and again.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, […] But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)

holy experience

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the scooper
Reply September 2, 2009

It comes unnaturally for me too. It's how I know there is a God; if I can have JOY, fleeting though it may be, it's clearly from Him...and such a gift. Because when it comes, I don't know how I could ever turn away. (But I do.)

ET @ Titus2:3-5
Reply September 2, 2009

I, too, strive to find that joy in the unending treadmill of motherhood. He is so faithful to fill us with that joy, if only I would remember to ask Him for it each day. Beautiful post.

Reply September 2, 2009

What a beautiful and thought provoking post. Thanks so much for sharing! Something that I needed to "hear" this morning!



Reply September 2, 2009

I had always battled the constant "drudgery" up until several years ago I attended an Above Rubies conference...and a song Nancy's daughters wrote and sang delivered is aptly named Above the same time another song by Alli Rogers...the day of small things...

sigh...He is so good, I was set free...

blessings sister...sweet reminder...the joy in service...

Reply September 2, 2009

thank you, sweet friend...for inspiring joy in my day. what a gift.

Reply September 2, 2009

flags of joy. love it. thanks.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus
Reply September 2, 2009

Such grace that we can return again ... and again ... and again.

Thank you for this.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity
Reply September 2, 2009

Great reminder. thank you.

Reply September 2, 2009

Your words inspire, convict and encourage. Not preaching, no, more like exhortation. And exactly what I needed to hear. I just love it. I always love it, but this post, I think I loved more than usual.

sarah Dawn
Reply September 2, 2009

Slow down. STOP even. And Return to Him. Again and again and again and again. I have run into His arms, and run away too. Throwing tantrums like a small child. But like a small child, I have found the warmth of snuggling on my Abba's lap, in quiet times of sobbing and reflection.
You have blessed me today with your words. He has captured my heart with your syllables.

Blessings from Costa RIca,
Sarah Dawn

Boy Crazy
Reply September 2, 2009

I am so challenged by this. I need to learn how to teach my little ones about Jesus, but my own insecurities and questions and ambivilence stop me from doing it.

I don't know how much clearer God could be with me than sending me stumbling over to your blog. I just have to decide what to do about it. *How* to do about it. I just commented over at Emily's this same thing - that while I intend no pressure on you, I feel that God is using your words to challenge me and nudge me in his direction. I'm just not sure what to do about it yet.

Thanks for the post and the challenge.

Reply September 2, 2009

Choosing JOY, not always easy; but oh the benefits when we do!
Catherine :)

Reply September 2, 2009

joy comes so unnaturally for me...and yet, yes...we choose joy and we pass it on. thanks for this.

Traci Little
Reply September 2, 2009

SUCH A GREAT POST! THANK YOU From the bottom of my heart!

PS: Come Visit "Walk With Him Wednesday" over at Ordinary Inspirations: Will Your House Stand?

Reply September 2, 2009

beautiful post. thanks for sharing.

Reply September 2, 2009

Stephanie and I sat outside yesterday at a little cafe over lunch hour and talked of how Christianity seems to have forgotten the happy parts. In the Old Testament they always seemed to be feasting or partying about something or other. I think there's something to that...fiercely embracing joy in the middle of the ordinary. Thanks for the beautiful words.

Reply September 2, 2009

I needed that today. I needed that now. Thanks.

Sarah Mae
Reply September 3, 2009

Amber- inspire me so much! Beautiful, true, real...yes.

Reply September 3, 2009

Perfect! Flags of Joy.
Pause. Reel. Pray.
I'm going to remember this.

I'm here from Heather's site, and just wanted to say hello and thank you for such an honest and faith-affirming post. (I wrote something sort of similar (though less joyful) here, if you're interested:

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