In this full life lingering isn't something that I often do. But this year God has been teaching me about the power in lingering. Being more of a Mary and sitting at the feet of Jesus just a little bit longer. I'm sure you know the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 ...
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, "Lord, don't you think it's unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me."
The Lord answered her, "Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won't take this privilege from her." Luke 10:38-42 TPT
Over the years God has shown me the importance of sitting undistracted at His feet. This year He has been saying, stay there just a little bit longer. More of the 'Be still, and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10).
This lingering has played out in three different ways, firstly in my own prayer time; secondly when praying for people at church or healing services; and thirdly when praying at the school our children attend.
In my own prayer time, when I am sitting, being still, not asking God for anything, just listening for what He wants to say, after I have heard something from Him there is a great temptation to say, "Thanks God, that's good. I'll mediate on that and I'll talk with you some more later." I guess that is not unlike when I am speaking with one of my children, wanting to communicate a few key things to them, and once they've heard the first one, they get up ready to leave saying, "Thanks Mum, got it." And I say, "Hold on, there is more." They stop and listen, albeit sometimes reluctantly.
However in these conversations with God I have noticed that sometimes my fleshly desire to 'get on and do things' means that I completely miss the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit telling me, "Wait, there is more." And so I have learnt to linger a little longer once I have heard something from God, and most times there is something else that He wants to say. Something just as important as the first thing. Or maybe it is something else He wants me to see, as I'll share further on in this post.
So now I am at the place, where after hearing two things, I will ask the question, "Is there something else God you want to speak to me about today?" Sometimes there is silence and I know that I have received all that is required for this moment. Sometimes there is more.
I have taken what I have learnt about this 'lingering and listening a little longer' in my own prayer time, and applied it when praying 'face to face' for other people. Before bursting into prayer, most times now I just take time to wait on the Lord. Simply waiting for His prompting on what to pray, not afraid of the silence, because that gives Him space to speak and be heard.
And then again, when the time of prayer seems to becoming to a close, I ask Him, "Is there anything else for this person God, specific healing? a word of encouragement from you? a prophetic word? a picture?" Often there is, and it is the thing that brings the touch of God and often the tears start to flow. Lingering and listening can open the way for God's love to flow to others.
The third realm where God has been teaching me about lingering a little longer is in the playground, literally. A couple of times a week, I along with some other mums, with the permission of the school, walk around the school grounds praying. Sometimes the students are all in class, sometimes they are out and about on the grounds.
This week I was at an assembly. The assembly had finished and as the children were going to their classes, I felt the Holy Spirit say, "Sit a while longer." So I waited until there was only one class left, and then I saw what He wanted to show me. A child for whom I know that school has not been easy, and there she was laughing and interacting beautifully with the children in her class. A child, one of many, that we had prayed for as we regularly walked through the school corridors.
I was so grateful to the Holy Spirit prompting me to linger so that I could see that joy, a tangible reminder that God is continually at work in each of our lives, wanting us to live with the freedom and joy that only He can give.
So today let's linger a little longer in His presence, listen to what He wants to say, see what He wants to show us, so we can do what He wants us to do.
We carry this confidence in our hearts because of our union with Christ before God. Yes we don’t see ourselves as capable enough to do anything in our own strength, for our true competence flows from God’s empowering presence. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 TPT
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