Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.

By the Brook Explained

Jesus, you sit at the right hand of the Father and he is making your enemies your footstool.  He sends forth your mighty scepter from Zion and you rule in the midst of your foes.  While pursuing your enemies, you drink from the brook by the wayside and lift up your head.  ( See Psalm 110:1,6)

I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was a senior in high school, mid 1974.  From the very beginning, I tried to follow him through the ups and downs of life; prayer has been a significant part of the journey.

For many years, my prayer, just like my life, had high points and low points.  I went through times of what I considered great prayer, when it was easy to be faithful and I felt like I was growing spiritually.  Those times were quickly followed by periods of poor prayer or no prayer at all.

Then one day, about eight years ago, everything changed.

I was at prayer early one fall morning, following my usual routine which consisted of  singing to the Lord, reciting psalms out loud, intercessory prayer and a brief time of quiet — just sitting in his presence.

Suddenly, I was aware that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were present.  Nothing flashy happened; I didn’t hear any voices; I didn’t have any visions.  But some how I knew they were there.  It felt as if they were in the room right next to where I was sitting; and I had this desire to be closer to them, in the same room.  I felt a gentle urgency rise from inside of me which I gave voice to:  “Lord, draw me in to where you are.”

And then it was over, just as quickly as it started.  But I knew something was different; like I could suddenly see just a little bit clearer than I could before.

The next morning, the very same thing happened in exactly the same way.  Once I again I prayed:  “Lord, I want to be close to you.  Draw me in to where you are.”  It was all very simple, almost imperceptible; but, my life hasn’t been the same since.

From those precise moments, my prayer life has changed from active prayer:  singing, vocal prayer, reading the psalms out loud, praise and worship with a few challenging minutes of quiet, trying to listen to the Lord —  to deep, quiet prayer —  where I sit for an hour or two just adoring the Lord in my heart.

I passed through the veil from active prayer, where I was doing all the work and getting what seemed like very little benefit, to passive prayer, with the Holy Spirit pouring grace and love into my heart; making me better and better, from the inside out, with seemingly little effort on my part.

I know it sounds too good to be true or, maybe, that I am exaggerating; but I am not and it is true.  The best part of the story is what has happened to me through the grace of this new prayer.

Almost immediately, I began to experience deeper conversion of heart.  I noticed there were areas in my life that had been resistant to change; yet, all of the sudden,  they began to change.  One problem in particular, despite significant effort and perseverance, refused to go away.  As a result, I gave up hope that it would ever change.  Not long after experiencing this infused prayer, the problem disappeared altogether without me thinking about it or trying to make it go away.

Soon I began to live with a deep peace, much deeper than I had ever experienced it before.  Previously, I enjoyed brief periods of passing peace, but what I am describing is something different.  The peace I experience now abides; it may go away momentarily, but it always returns.  This peace is so powerful, that it calms  storms occurring around me.  I am learning to live out of my interior peace rather than responding to the exterior conflicts that frequently arise.

Another benefit of this deeper prayer, is what I describe as an awareness, almost a certain knowledge, that Jesus dwells inside of me.  Before, I knew this truth abstractly and by faith, but I have come to know it through prayer in a substantial and tangible way.

Perhaps, most importantly, because of deeper prayer, I have become a better person than I used to be.  It is impossible to spend time face to face with Jesus and not become better.  I should be better than I am, but I am becoming better than I ever deserved to be.  It’s all because of what he does in me when I spend time with him.

The time I spend with him is different everyday.  I have had a few encounters that have touched me profoundly.  But more often than not, I keep him company and have very little, if any, sense of his presence.  Yet, whether I feel his presence or not, I am always hungry for more of him.

Before my experience of deeper prayer, I found it very challenging to be faithful to a regular prayer time.  Prayer was something that I knew I needed to do; it was my duty that I felt obligated to fulfill.  I wanted to be faithful, and at times I was, but usually, it was hit or miss.

However, since the Lord has taken me deeper in prayer, it is now something that I want to do.  I wouldn’t miss it for anything.  I pray everyday, some times for long periods of time.  There is no more up and down, no more hit or miss, no more sense of obligation or duty, only a desire to be with him, where he is.

Now I pray almost like I breathe, no thought or effort is required.  It really has become my food and drink.  I don’t eat and drink because I have to — no one forces me to take nourishment for my body.  I eat and drink because I want to — I can’t help but do it.  The same is true for prayer.

People have told me that what I am experiencing will not last.  I listen, but I don’t believe it.  They are right, of course, about the feelings; feelings come and go as they please.  But the prayer I am describing, doesn’t have anything to do with feelings.  Rather, Christ has taken root in me through prayer, and he has a life all his own.

So I long to pray.  I hunger and thirst for more of him.  In prayer, I open my mouth and he feeds me with the finest wheat and honey from the rock.  (Psalm 81:16)  I  drink from the river of his delights. (Psalm 36:8)  He quenches my thirst from the torrential brook by the wayside. (See Psalm 110:6)

From time to time, I will share what he feeds me and what he gives me to drink in this section called “Brook by the Way”.