The Long and The Short of It
By Rosemary Flaaten –
“Give me the long and the short of it,” queried a friend regarding my recent trip to South Africa. The dichotomy of this statement resounded with my experience in that fascinating country.
Wealth and poverty are simply separated by a municipal boundary and white and black mingle, yet remain deeply segregated. A personal experience occurred on a visit into a township. The entire house of our hostess was smaller than my master bedroom back in North America. Each member of her family would be fortunate to have one meal that day, while I had already eaten a hearty breakfast and my rumbling tummy meant that I would soon be headed for a satisfying lunch.
This setting was enough to shake up my worldview, but as I stood at the bedside of a woman whose body was ravaged by the effects of HIV, I was struck by the difference within our spiritual reality. As my African cohorts began to pray, the Holy Spirit’s presence became so real that all I could do was kneel, knowing that I was standing on holy ground. The physical poverty that surrounded me mirrored the spiritual poverty that gripped my soul.
What was it about their prayers that made them feel so forceful? Did they demand that God would touch this woman’s physical body? Did they plead for food or protection from thugs?
No! The power in their prayers came from practicing the discipline of worship.
You see, in the midst of abject poverty and fatal diseases, these people approached the throne of grace, first and most forcefully, with praise for a God who created everything and cares for them by holding them in the palm of His hand. Their unabated worship led them to praise Him for being full of grace and mercy, compassion and love.
In this African setting, God showed me that my prayers are mixed up. I am quick to approach God with my long list of requests but my offering of praise is meager. Conversely, my African sisters come to God full of praise and worship and then simply asked Him to meet their needs.
What’s the long and short of it? Worship redirects our perspective, helping us see our needs in light of our awesome and loving God. God inhabits the praises of His people.
PRAYER: You are an awesome God, full of mercy and grace, Creator of everything and Sustainer of all. You are magnificent and beyond comprehension. You are Alpha and Omega.
BIBLE VERSE: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name” (Matthew 6:9 NIV).