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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Prayer Songs and Turpentine

I have a habit of writing down prayers.

Often times, I will write my prayers and sit with my guitar and a recording device of some kind and keep that prayer/song for a bit. I don't know how many prayers I have actually committed to song but I know I have thrown away more than I can remember.

Sometimes, I will watch a video of a prayer song or listen to an mp3 of a prayer song days or weeks later, analyze where I was "back then," and compare it to where I am at the moment.

The recordings are never that great quite honestly. Stripped back. References. Logs. But, they are my prayers. Sometimes they are so stream of consciousness it isn't funny. Sometimes they make poetic sense. Most, I would never share.

I highly encourage this practice. I grew up feeling "guilty" for not journaling because everyone around me said that good Christians journal. This however, makes sense to me--to sit with an instrument of some kind and talk to God. So, I journal . . . but not in a diary. My journals require instruments, paintbrushes, turpentine, magazines, poster board, clay, exacto knives, spray paint, canvas, moleskines, etc.

This video clip (bottom of blog entry) is an example of a journal entry. Horribly out of tune at spots but . . . such is life, eh? I thought it would be good to give you an example of something raw. You have to approach the song journaling and not think about radio play or writing hits.

Yesterday morning I was exhausted x's 10. I just finished reading Peter Rollins' book, "How (Not) to Speak of God" and it was very encouraging to me, however--in the midst of my personal madness. There is a portion in the book where Rollins rocked my world by tearing apart the passage of scripture (Rev. 3:16) where we learn God would rather have us cold or hot but detests the lukewarm. I love the way the King James says it : : :

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will spue thee out of my mouth."
I have heard messages on this before and preachers always camp on the idea of being "on fire" for God. Youth pastors use this passage to rally the troops and say, "God wants to light a fire under your butt to do great things for the kingdom. He doesn't like casual Christianity." This is true but part of the passage is ignored with the Billy Blanks approach. And, it is always suggested that God prefers the hot over the cold.

What about the "cold" part?

Well, Rollins blew my mind by suggesting God embraces the cold because He appreciates our honesty. Our wrestling. Our confrontation.

We are every bit as close to God when we are feeling "cold" spiritually because He meets us in the cold. God is not afraid of cold. Cold may not be the best place to stay but it is certainly not apathetic. Cold seeks. Cold longs. Cold engages.

With all that, I went to prayer. I was honest with my Lord.

I gotta know You'll direct me--direct me, lead me where to go
I gotta know You'll protect me--no more games, no "on my own"
'Cause if I'm honest and I know that's what You want
I speak out both sides of my mouth
I know You're there
Still I think You're not
All my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my tears, the years
The months, the days, the minutes--every moment, Lord
I just gotta know You'll do what You say
I gotta know You'll receive me
'Cause sometimes I don't even believe me
And if I'm honest, Lord--and I know that's what You want
I want nothing more than to hold it loosely Lord, in my open hand
But, my open hand is all I've got
All my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my tears, the years
The months, the days, the minutes--every moment, Lord
I just gotta know You'll do what You say
You'll do what You say
Hallelujah, please Lord, do what You say
Is "the least of these" the last of me?

This post is also part of Creative Chaos at Ragamuffin Soul.


Anonymous said...

Dude, that is incredible. What a great "journaling" idea! Thanks so much for sharing your heart in such a raw way...

John said...

thanks, marklee. love you, man.

Melanie said...

Wow, what a great way to journal. I think there are so many creative ways to do things like this, and we were created in the likeness of a very Creative God. How appropriate. :)