Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Improvised Discipline

gorgeous charms from Bella Vita Jewelry


Last semester, our church went through a sermon series in Ephesians, and our women's ministry did a study of Ephesians - and I knitted my way through Ephesians, because that's how I process things. I made dark ridges that cast shadows on watercolor valleys, because grace is only beautiful if you're in it. I shaped it into a giant triangle scarf, so that I would wear it often, and I added a few significant charms from a local artisan and a tassel (just because I love tassels) to the point. And then I named it Grace-filled because that's what Ephesians is - the pattern's on Ravelry here if you'd like to knit Ephesians for yourself.

image via She Reads Truth

This semester the ladies are staying in Ephesians 6 for a Priscilla Shirer study of the Armor of God. One point that she strongly emphasized in the first lesson (and has continued to reinforce in each subsequent chapter) is prayer as the 7th piece of armor (in addition to the traditional six of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and Scripture). Then, as I was considering what to do for Lent this year, I was convicted over my lack of prayer and resolved to spend the next 40ish days cultivating that discipline.


Last semester, one of the ladies in my small group brought a prayer box for us to share - a place to put the prayers that have shifted from being prayer-without-ceasing and have turned into a scheduled daily worry-fest, verbalized in God's direction. We almost all put something in the box, and several of those prayers were answered, after they were let go of.


I love the prayer box, but also realize that I need to be better about intentional prayer. Introvert that I am, I would love a prayer closet (or "war room," if you're inspired by the recent movie), but we have a sum total of three closets in our home and they are all completely full. So I got a $10 magnetic chalkboard at Target and made a "portable prayer closet" out of it - my weekly prayer strategy for the Armor of God study in one corner, Pray for Refugees' daily prayer focus in another, people whose spark puts them under greater opposition, a washi-taped list of things that deserve daily attention, and a comfortable chair {magnet}, just because. In the mornings I prop it up at the empty space at the breakfast table and in the evenings I carry it to the couch or the bedroom, wherever I am - and the rest of the time it hangs in a visible spot near our front door.


Even though I've only been doing it for a few days, I've already been surprised at how effective it is, and how much I look forward to having time to sit down and work my way through it (as a testament to this, I even stuck with my praying resolution through a three day weekend with Adam off and my schedule turned upside-down). I expected it to be a discipline, good but hard - but I didn't expect it to turn into its own sort of adventure!

Gifts...
2405. Sweet baby kisses, with "muah!"
2406. No more stuffy noses
2407. Brooklyn choosing a bedtime book for Tobin, and him sitting in my lap and patting the pictures
2409. A portable prayer closet (both the idea, and the means to make it happen)
2410. Above-and-beyond kind Target employees
2411. Tobin walking
2412. Prayer with breakfast
2413. After-dinner Literary Scrabble
2414. Leaving the valentines that Brooklyn and I made on all our neighbors' doors without getting caught
2415. Brooklyn wanting to take her Sunday school teacher a Valentine pin, in the front pocket of her new shirt (because what else are pockets for?)
2416. An illuminating Mobilize session
2417. A quiche for breakfast, made the night before (and remembering that it needed to be made in time to make it - barely)
2418. Clouds with no rain, perfect weather for a photoshoot
2419. A Loblolly Creamery adventure for us, and hot coffee for the unsheltered man with no shoes who was sitting outside (and the luxury of being able to do both)
2420. Space to write up and publish a pattern

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