Prayer-CounselPosted: November 9, 2011
Last night, I was on the phone with a friend, and we were relating to each other ponderings of life that often occur when two pensive guys chat, or something. We got to talking about what it means to be led by the Spirit. Often, seeking this lifestyle can seem futile. A friend wrote in recent Facebook note/poem of “shamefully hearing my own aimless echo…” Prayer can feel like that. Futile and sheepishly hearing the echo of your own voice as you speak.
But who is Jesus? Or the Spirit for that matter? When I think of names that describe Christ, Emmanuel comes to mind. But I often forget another name. Wonderful Counselor. Yep.
What do counselors do? I learned this firsthand at Wheaton this past year. I had been harboring a lot of shame to the point where it had become unhealthy and I started meeting with this guy thru the Wheaton Counseling Center (which is free to students!) on a weekly basis. He was a good ol’ Texan named Sam Oldham and he would guide me through dozens of conversations and uncomfortable, yet necessary steps of the healing process. But the majority of the time, it wasn’t the wise words of Sam that helped me. He forced me to come to my own healing conclusions about my identity in Christ, and acknowledge my journey up to that point. And to do so OUT LOUD and take ownership of it. But yes, he did guide me to that point.
So what does this have to do with living by the Spirit? Well, since the Holy Spirit is of Christ (God), it follows that He is our Counselor too. The past few days I have developed a habit (that I think is God’s prompting) of praying out loud while driving somewhere. Anyone objectively viewing the situation might think my efforts are futile, that I’m merely blabbing whatever my train of thought happens to be. However doing this brings me a sense of peace and I’ve also had a sense that my prayers are being guided. So in a sense I’m coming to my own conclusions (which really are God’s) while praying out loud. No one watching a counseling session would say “Well duh, this counselor is no good because he’s guiding someone toward a statement that was obvious all along.” Articulating truths (most of the time, ones I ALREADY KNEW) in guided conversation was what brought me to peace and healing. Telling myself repeatedly “I’m ok, I’m ok” is futile. The mere fact that I had any sense of peace during this out loud praying shows me that another Counselor was at work, and that I wasn’t merely telling myself things that I wanted, or thought I needed to hear. The latter, I know from experience, doesn’t work.
How has the Lord been counseling you lately?