Thursday, December 5, 2019

Stay in the Place of Prayer (Enduring to the End - Part 4)

(This is the fourth part of a seven part series called Enduring to the End - Overcoming Offenses, Bitterness and Unforgiveness)

By Bunni Pounds

There is much opposition to us staying in the place of prayer - time that we cannot seem to prioritize to sit before God, our flesh that wants to run and do anything else, and our own pride that thinks we can live without God. 

At the end of 2018, after my loss for Congress in May and then quickly going back to work to make sure our 13 political clients left made it over the finish line for the general election, I collapsed in a chair in a prayer room in Dallas. It was the second week of November and I had to leave for Romania is less than three weeks to teach at the Bible School that our family supports. I sat there knowing that I was completely messed up and wanting to run from two hours at a time in a prayer room, but I knew I had to be there. 

I had walked with God intimately through 2018, it was one of the greatest adventures of my life, but it had also been the hardest battles of my life- raising almost a million dollars, the wounds from the campaign trail, my multiple opponents, and people that I knocked on their doors - but then shut it in my face. 

I had then gone straight into several other major battles and dramatic stories helping some of my friends get their seats in Congress during the fall. 

I was wounded and I was a mess. My heart was hard and I felt like I had nothing to give. As I prayed about what amazing messages I needed to share in Romania, Jesus invited me to sit with Him and let Him heal my heart. 

I wish I could tell you that I cried, felt the presence of God in that room and forgave everyone instantly. I did not. 

I instead paced along the wall - praying. I sat with my Bible in my lap starring at the words with a fog over my eyes. I felt lost and felt so full of anger and may I say it, even hate. 

As I showed up day after day, morning after morning from 6 am to 8 am in that prayer room, I fought through, I finally looked at all the ugliness in my heart and I whispered prayers for God to expose it and rip it out of my soul. 

Psalm 63:1- 3
“God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You, In a dry and thirsty land, Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.”

Psalm 26:8 - Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells."

I was still busy, I still wanted to run, and my pride kept screaming - “you don’t need this....just keep moving forward.”

But I knew- I needed to feel again. I needed to weep. I needed to forgive.

We don’t have a choice on the injustices that come against our lives. I wish we did. Life happens and we get sideswiped.

For me, it was rumors being passed around cellphones about my family in East Texas and TV ads calling me a liar, but for many of you reading this, it is MUCH worse - it is abuse, betrayal, injustices, and wounds so deep just reading this is causing you to want to run. 

There is ONLY one path to healing. It is simple. Run to Jesus. Cry out! 

Look your pain straight in the face and run to the place of prayer. 

My friend Corey Russell says it so eloquently (maybe not eloquently but powerfully)  “What this generation needs is to put their butts in seats in the place of prayer and fight against everything that screams at them to get up.” 

Healing is only found in the presence of God and you can find that in your car, your closet, a prayer room, or in the woods beside your house, but you have to find HIM. 

In that place, we can see the eternal perspective on our circumstances and see His glory fully.

There is nothing like imperfect people that causes us to run even harder after a perfect God. 

Matthew 6:6  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Mark 11:25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

After two weeks showing up five days a week, here was my answer to my heart problem - I had to let the pain go. 

For two weeks, I was praying for my previous runoff opponent, his family, the people who had said horrible things against me and my husband. I prayed for them. I interceded for their needs - not with a feeling but by a command. I laid down my pride, my anger, and my own thoughts of injustice and I prayed. 

About two weeks into this, my heart cracked open and I could feel again. I wept tears of healing and I went to Romania with a heart of love rebuilt by the only one who could reach me. 

In December when I got back from that trip, I had a Christmas card from my previous opponent in my mailbox. It was just a general card sent to all the voters in the district but I placed it on my desk and took this precious family before the Lord day in and day out. Most days I didn’t feel anything but I kept on keeping on till love filled my heart for them and I could move forward. 

When it comes to prayer, we just have to show up with our hearts in tow. We have to force our flesh to sit down.

We just need to prioritize the place of prayer in our lives against ALL of the opposition in our own hearts because it is in this place before the Lord that we are changed. 

I am living proof - Letting God show us His eternal perspective changes everything. 

Love is produced in the place of prayer. 

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series as well. 

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