Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pray for Bethany House

I'm going to ask you to join me on a journey. I can't tell much about it, because I don't know much about it myself. I don't know exactly where this journey is going to take us and I have no clue how long it will take us. Success? Failure? I have no idea. Will we get lost? Probably. Will we get tired? Definitely. Will we get discouraged, frustrated, scared or angry? Yes, yes, yes and yes. Will you think to yourself that my request is a little ridiculous? Probably. The final destination of our journey is a place that doesn't exist yet. Right now, our journey's end is a small vision in the recesses of my mind, but it's beautiful. And it's a place that we will all gather together one day and rejoice. We will all come together in this destination and praise the God of this universe, because He finally got us to where He sent us. So, do I have your curiosity piqued yet?

Right now, the vehicle that we are going to use for our journey is simple: prayer. An that's all this journey is at this point: a prayer. This is not a goal, a plan or even a idea yet. This is a prayer, and that's it. So I guess in many ways, I am only asking you to walk with me. You don't have to buy a plane ticket, pay for gas or even get your biked tuned up. Just put on your shoes and walk with me for a while, until God reveals what comes next. A walk. That sounds good, doesn't it?

Our walk together begins with a vision that God put on my heart this weekend. I just got back from a three day personal retreat, and the place that I visited is a convent in Houston that offers a non-denominational retreat house for groups or individuals. It has become a sanctuary for me and a beautiful refuge from the everyday stresses of life. It's a place that I find rest. It's a place that allows me to slow down. I slow down mentally. I slow down physically. I slow down spiritually and listen to God, rather than dictate wish lists to Him. When I walk into this place, I feel like a child curling up in his fathers arms, as the weight of my burdens lightens. It's simple. It's monastic. It's always there waiting for me.

Have you ever wished you had a place like that to go to? When you feel like running away? When you feel hurt and alone? A place where someone will be waiting, with a hot cup of coffee? A place with a bed, so you can rest and a meal waiting for you when you wake up? A place to share creative expression in music, art and faith? It's simple, but it's always there. Someone is always there waiting to open the door, no matter how late it is. It's a refuge. A sanctuary. What if that place existed right in your community? What if it existed?

So this is where we begin our journey. I'm just going to ask you to join me in prayer. Remember, that's all it is at this point; a prayer. So often, I think we limit our prayers to things that can only be accomplished within the natural realm. We pray to a supernatural God, and yet we rarely expect His answers to resemble His character. What if we prayed for God to give us this place at the end of our journey? What if we called it "Bethany House"?

Bethany was a small town located on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. It was about 2 miles Southeast of Jerusalem, and the home of Mary, Martha and Lazurus. If you were traveling to Jerusalem and found yourself stopping in Bethany, you wouldn't be able to see the city yet because Bethany was nestled at the bottom of the mountain. This gave the town a feeling of quietness, peace and seclusion. Jesus often found refuge in Bethany to stay with His closest friends as He ministered in Jerusalem during the final days before His death and resurrection. Some of the most significant, spiritual and passionate events of His ministry culmination took place in Bethany. It has also been thought of as a center for caring of the sick, the destitute and weary pilgrims of Jerusalem.

So, as God began to paint this picture in my mind, the images of Bethany came to mind: Bethany House. I'm not sure where Bethany house is, what street it's on, how to find it or what kind of condition it will be in when we get there. For that matter, I'm not sure of what condition we will be in when we get there. But I know this; there will be light on in the window and a pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen and a bed waiting for us to rest our weary heads on.

Will you join me in praying for Bethany House, whatever and wherever it is? Will you join me in this passion that God has put on my heart? I know it sounds impossible, but nothing is impossible for God, is it? It says in Daniel 4:35 that "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'" He can do what he wants and I believe that He wants this! !I can see it! I can feel it! It's out there somewhere, and we'll find it together.

Mark 11:24 - "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

1 John 5:14-15 - "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."