My wife recently used the term "baby steps", and this has become part of my prayer language. As we face several challenges, it is all too easy to fry our brains thinking and fretting about what Lucado calls "Whaddifs and Howells." Jesus tells us to be childlike if we want to make the difficult walk and find the gate to the the Kingdom of God. Baby steps.
Recently, some seriously prayerful people have been getting encouraging insights from God. Torre Bissel, who leads an intercessory ministry for the Diocese of Albany, NY, has been receiving some really comforting, uplifting messages since Easter. And Jill Woodliff, a faithful intercessor in Mississippi, recently listed several of the most emphatically anti-worry messages from the Bible.
Finally, as we take baby steps unburdened by yesterday's regrets and tomorrow's problems, we can maintain a childlike expectation of our Father's good gifts for his beloved children. Yesterday, a friend loaned me a book, and I was blessed by this wonderful quote from a famous Anglican priest and writer:
God made Sun and Moon to distinguish seasons, and day, and night, and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons. But God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons of his mercies. In paradise, the fruits were ripe the first minute, and in heaven it is always Autumn: his mercies are ever in their maturity…
He brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light; he can bring thy Summer out of Winter, though thou have no Spring. Though in the ways of fortune, or understanding, or conscience, thou have been benighted till now, wintered, and frozen, clouded and eclipsed, damped and benumbed, smothered and stupefied till now, now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the Sun at noon to illustrate all shadows, as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries. All occasions invite his mercies, and all times are his seasons. John Donne (d. 1631), quoted in Ordinary Graces, Edited by Lorraine Kisly
May God's mercies surprise you this weekend, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Chapter 7 on Monday.