Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Midweek Meditation: "The Third Circle-Think Long" (Mark Batterson)

We move to the third circle of Batterson's exhortation: Think Long. We live in a world of technology that boasts of speed, efficiency, and quick results. This is one reason why praying is particularly challenging in this day and age. Like planting a tree, we need to remember that faith and spirituality is not a sprint but a marathon. Praying is planting seeds of faith.

"Even when we die, our prayers don't. Each prayer takes on a life, an eternal life, of its own. I know this because of the moments in my life when the Holy Spirit has reminded me that the prayers of my grandparents are being answered in my life right now. Their prayers outlive them.

Prayer is the inheritance we receive and the legacy we leave. Honi the circle maker didn't just pray the prayer that saved a feneration; his perennial prayers were answered in the next generation too. His grandson, Abba Hilkiah, inherited the prayer legacy his grandfather left. During droughts, Israel came to his doorstep, and Hilkiah would go up to his rooftop to pray for rain, just as his grandfather had done.

When we pray, our prayers exit our own reality of space and time. They have no time or space restrictions because the God who answers them exist outside of the space and time He created. You never know when His timeless answer will reenter the atmosphere of our lives, and that should fill us with holy anticipation. Never underestimate His ability to show up anytime, anyplace, anyhow. He has infinite answers to our finite prayers. He answers them more than once. He answers them forever. The problem, of course, is that we want immediate results. Forever is fine, but we want answers instantly.


On the Swedish island Visingsö, there is a mysterious forest of oak trees; mysterious because oak trees aren’t indigenous to the island, and its origin was unknown for more than a century. Then in 1980, the Swedish Navy received a letter from the Forestry Department reporting that their requested ship lumber was ready. The Navy didn’t even know it had ordered any lumber. After a little historical research, it was discovered that in 1829, the Swedish Parliament, recognizing that it takes oak trees 150 years to mature and anticipating a shortage of lumber at the turn of the twenty-first century, ordered that 20,000 oak trees be planted on Visingsö and protected for the Navy.

That is thinking long.

For the record, the lone objector was the Bishop of Strängnäs. He didn’t doubt that there would still be wars to fight at the end of the twentieth century, but he was the only one who anticipated that ships might be built of other materials by then."

(Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, Zondervan, 2011, p134-5)

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