My usually silent cell phone started playing its xylophone anthem before the children and I were back at the van, its chords bringing me back to reality of life outside this moment.
After over an hour of prayer walking through another neighborhood in our area, oldest son and I were caked in sweat . Even on such a radiantly cool, crisp hint-of-autumn day, the unusually vibrant blue palette overhead meant no clouds to hide still-hot sun.
Those walking and praying with me didn't seem to break a sweat, so maybe it was just me. Then again, I guess my workout was intensified by praying words continuously aloud while pushing a makeshift double stroller full of 70 pounds worth of twins. Bumpy asphalt buckled at the end of each driveway = resistance training.
This is only my third week of obedience to God's incessant nudging for me to get outside my comfort zone, do my part in sharing the gospel with my Judea, and show my children in practice that Jesus died for everyone, not just his family.
What I can't believe, even though I should have expected it? Although I've spent much time praying in mornings before the routine of the day starts, this is different. Starting each day out focused on the Great Commission, walking in the midst of His Creation, and voicing aloud no prayers for myself but only for others who I never have nor may ever meet? It's a day-changer.
Three times over as many weeks, the simple submission to get up, get out, and speak prayers over total strangers has transformed not only the moment but the entire day, something morning prayers in the comfort of my prayer closet don't always accomplish.
This sense of His presence lingering, His Spirit giving me peace throughout the day is something I haven't been able to replicate many times when I say the same exact prayers solely for others while sitting safe within my walls.
After rehydrating, I took the children to my mother's, her phone call saying she wanted to look in the attic for old clothes. Mid-morning found me wiping thick layers of dust from cardboard box lids and trying to decipher mother's coded labels on boxes stacked neatly around the attic's perimeter.
Then, I found it--one of my all-time favorite toys, the lite brite. There is no telling how many hours I spent sitting on my bedroom floor, making designs with simple white light and plastic pegs. Lying on eggplant purple carpet, I would decipher the color code of tiny white letters, push peg after peg through thin black construction paper, then turn off all the lights to enjoy the show.
With the light off, the design was nothing spectacular, almost ugly. But when I plugged the lite brite into the wall, illuminating clear plastic from behind black curtain? Magic.This afternoon, my oldest, Wyatt, learned the joy of the lite brite, he and I working together to create a picture of tropical fish while envious twins jockeyed for position at our feet.
Once finished, he asked to "swap" the pegs. After inserting blue peg into previously-white slot, he exclaimed, "Look! That one changed to blue!" I tried explaining that the light is white, unchanging, that the pegs hold the color, but I'm still not sure he understood.
When looking at the image, though, thinking of the unchanging nature of the white light behind the darkness, I started to understand. The change in me after prayer walking is caused by connecting a usually general prayer to someone specific as well as the repetition of the prayer.
Each spoken prayer is like a colored peg, piercing the darkness and sending forth His rainbow of light into the world. In my prayer closet, praying for the lost "in general" just doesn't have the same impact as seeing a house and connecting it to actual people...it's a prayer I utter and move forward.
Yet, when prayer walking, I continue to pray the same prayer repeatedly, specifically aimed. With each prayer for a specific household, I add colored peg after colored peg, the simple repetition piercing not just the world with prayer but also piercing my inner spirit so that more of His light shines through me and on me.
An hour or so later, there's enough prayers piercing heaven and my heart to where beauty has emerged, shining outward, lit from within. In a way, I feel like a human lite brite!
I wonder if the inwardly lit radiance has shown more on these past few Thursdays? If others have seen a difference? Or is it just me? No matter, God's economy proves consistent--submitting to His will and trying to be the blessing to others ends in my being the one most blessed.