We always find time for things we like and are passionate about. Some people live with open doors. There are always people coming and going, food being eaten and conversations going on. That happens because there is a passion for people in that family. When children come with their friends and empty the fridge it might disturb plans a bit, but parents with a passion for relationships accept it.
I usually find time for a morning walk in a city I am visiting and have no problem attending to my plants on the balcony. These things are an extension of who I am – I am curious and I like flowers and to taste sweet home-grown tomatoes. When I talk about passion in this context, it is a positive force for good. It is not a passion that makes me selfish or that harms others. It is within my power to control it so it will benefit me and people around me.
What we now call the Christian Church, people who walk with Jesus, came into existence because God put a passion in the hearts of the disciples. The Holy Spirit came into them personally and into their fellowship and suddenly there were no problems at all with telling the world about Jesus. Even a prohibition from the top Jewish leadership, which forbade them to speak about who Jesus really is, was ignored. They just couldn’t help sharing about what they had seen and heard and what it meant to others.
This life in us, this passion, should still be our motivation. I know that there are moments and days when I don’t like doing what has to be done. There are situations when I act more from my sense of duty than living out a passion. But if duty and pressure from others is your main motivation, then you seriously need to look at changing that.
We get some good advice from chapter 5 in the book Journey of Renewal. In the Message translation, Jesus is quoted as saying: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
How do we learn “the rhythms of grace”? How do we get passion back into our lives? The answer is not about doing an activity. The answer is simply – spending time with Jesus. Prayer is one of my favourite ways of spending time with Jesus and with the whole family of God – Father, Son and Spirit. The fruit of that personal relationship is that I easily get inspired praying for and with others.
It might not be part of your personality to be passionate about prayer. Don’t let that stop you understanding that there is both a need and a way to develop your prayer fellowship with God. You will get some inspiration from this magazine. If you lack passion, your only and simple prayer for the following weeks can be just this: “Dear God, take me on the road with you where I will receive passion from the Holy Spirit in my prayers.”
This text has been published in Die Heilsarmee magazin #8/2017