I was privilaged to spend a week at the retreat centre last week. Wonderful time. It was at a 'Fatherheart' conference.
I was thrown at first by the lack of any kind of worship or praise before the sessions. Also no regular prayer ministry after the sessions. There was 'soaking' to gentle music for half an hour per afternoon & one prayer ministry time towards the end of the week but that was it....so different to where I hark from.
It's funny though - as the week progressed I began to see where they were coming from & really appreciated this. It made me realise how liturgal I have become. My church (which I love) has developed a praise/word/prayer liturgy just as traditional as the 'traditions' of the established church which we spurn! I'm not saying our format is a bad thing - of course not - just that I/we can develop an expectation that God will ALWAYS work through that format & that he cannot work without it - that is a dangerous misconception.
It also revealed to me how often I respond out of emotion - I am always very moved by music & will often respond in a 'response time' if there is background worship going on. All very well...but when the music stops, so does the response & I will too easily fall back into the old ways.
This week I knew that any response that came from me, came from my heart, not my emotions. Which has made moving on from the week rather amazing. I did not come away on a mountaintop high - & those invariably lead you to a valley low soon afterwards! - more that I came away with peace in my heart and a message ringing in my heart. I have sniffed a whiff of freedom - freedom from striving and performance and freedom from pain...freedom from judging and being judged. The smell of freedom is inticing - inticing enough to make me really want to walk in grace.
On Sunday I was supposed to be playing in worship group. Instead of being frustrated that an extra guitarist had turned up I was quite relieved. We went to pray beforehand and I just curled up on the floor of the prayer room like a child and rested in God's love. I stayed for what seemed like moments but was nearer an hour.....how good of Him to send along the freedom to allow me to do that. I find myself lying down on the floor often now when it comes to prayer times. Probably a phase, but He is using it to remind me that it does not depend on clever words or even on what I say or do....I just need to be childlike and He will do it all - He does live in me, after all.....and that is a thought that is starting to fill me more and more.