I teach online courses at Mid-America Christian University. My favorite course is Spiritual Formation. In one of our discussion questions, I asked, How does delighting yourself in God fit into the overall process of spiritual formation? One student answered, To me, the spiritual discipline of delighting myself in God are the moments that take my breath away. Those moments that capture my heart and I can see God shining through those relationships. The intimacy of our human relationships reflects our intimate relationship with God. Another student said, I have never had a take-your-breath-away moment, as you wrote. An emotional one, for sure, tears, etc., but nothing jaw-dropping. What would qualify to you for such a moment?
I responded to that student, Ill tell you about one of my take-your-breath-away, jaw-dropping, heart-capturing, day-making moments. My eleven-year-old grandson Allen and I were sitting on log stools by our wood pile, splitting pine lighter kindling to start a fire. It was one of those tender, awesome times as we laughed together and talked about grandpa-grandson kind of stuff! Allen said, Now, Grandpa, this is what I likejust hangin out with you, splitting firewood, or anything else we do together! Thats what Im talking about, thats one of my take-your-breath-away, jaw-dropping, heart-capturing, day-making moments.
Allen is now eighteen, a senior, and a wonderful Christ-follower. He is an excellent guitarist, who can hang with about any praise band. He does a lot of illusionist tricks, like picking out a card someone places in the deck without Allen seeing it and making money and other stuff disappear. He has lots of invitations to do presentations for youth groups and other settings. After doing several of the disappearing tricks, hell say, Everything Ive done up to now has been an illusion, but I want to tell you about someone who is real, and positive, and life transforming. His name is Jesus. And he gives his testimony.
A few weeks ago, I shared with Allen the following story about My Life Goal Prayer, expressed in Elishas request to Elijah, just before Elijah was transported to heaven in the fiery chariot. Elijah asked Elisha, What can I do for you before Im taken from you? Ask anything?. Elisha responded, Your life repeated in my life, I want to be a holy man just like you! (2 Kings 2:9 msg). And Allen said to me, Grandpa, youve been that in my life! Thats what Im talking about, my take-your-breath-away, jaw-dropping, heart-capturing, day-making moment. My heart leaped within me, and I prayed, Lord God, let me always be that in Allens, Austins, Kelseys, and Calebs lives and in the lives of all you bring into my sphere of ministry. Out of that experience, my Life Purpose Prayer was born, based on Elishas request to Elijah: Empower me, Lord, by your Son, to become all you created me to be. Energize me, Lord, by your Spirit, to accomplish all you call me to do. If he will accomplish that in my life, I will feel that I have fulfilled his awesome plan for me.
My challenge is to make this prayer part of your spiritual disciplines:
Empower me, Lord, by your Son, to become all you created me to be. Energize me, Lord, by your Spirit, to accomplish all you call me to do. Create through my life and witness many of those exciting take-your-breath-away, jaw-dropping, heart-capturing, day-making moments in the lives of all you bring into the sphere of my life and ministry. And let me live in partnership with you, my Lord, in Transforming Hearts Transforming Lives!
-Dr. Sam Bruce; President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl, Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma