Tag Archives: Sue Hitchman

How Can We Orient Ourselves to Prayerfulness?

How Can We Orient Ourselves to Prayerfulness?

by Sue Hitchman

transfiguration_of_Jesus_Christ

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
(2 Cor. 4:18, NIV)

The orientation of prayerfulness is really all about the unseen. It’s about entering the realm where an awareness of God’s glory requires us to see something that is more real than an image impressed on the eye’s retina and sent to our brain’s visual cortex.

I’m interested in the event recorded in the gospels of the ‘transfiguration’ of Jesus. Atop a high mountain, His three closest companions are suddenly enabled to see Him as glorious.

“His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2, NIV).

A measure of the glorious brightness of His eternal being, set aside during His tenure on earth, is revealed in that moment.

Rather than falling in worship as would have been appropriate at that moment, one companion, the impulsive Peter, begins to babble on about his impressions and plans to supplement Christ’s transfiguration. He is stuck in the temporal, the here and now. He wants to manipulate what he sees to fit his own plans.

          “This is my Son, whom I love,” thunders a voice from an enveloping cloud; “with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5, NIV).

Breath and feet knocked out from beneath them, Peter and his companions fall facedown in fitting terror.  God makes it clear He doesn’t need followers to augment His glory. He is already completely pleased with the expression of His triune being. What is needed is for the disciples to worship, and to listen. Their own transformation from willful, impulsive, fearful, doubting novices is dependent upon this attitude. God has plans for them. He has plans for them far beyond what they have envisioned. He wants to transfigure them.

Transfigure, transform, metamorphose: they all mean to make a thorough and dramatic change to one’s appearance, form or character.

Jesus’ transfiguration is an expression of God the Father’s pleasure and love for His only begotten Son—an extension of His glory. Jesus’ followers witness the communion of the Father and Son for a brief moment in time; they catch a visual glimpse of the unseen and eternal. The beauty of Jesus in relationship with His Father strikes them with awe, and they finally fall prostrate before Him.

Relationship with God equals transformation, transfiguration, metamorphosis.

This is what I need. I need a deeper relationship with God, and I need to be changed.

I need a metamorphosis, and I have a growing sense
that it must come through prayer.
(tweet this)

Moses’ extended tête-à-tête with God on Mount Sinai resulted in a similar radiance, “because he had spoken with the LORD” (Exodus 34:29, NIV). This connection with the Father is what I need, and prayer is the medium I have been given.

Primarily I must listen; somehow I must respond.

Like Samuel I have much to learn;

“Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV).

Sue Hitchman

Susan Hitchman

Sue  seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, co-leader of a women’s Bible study group and parent prayer group, and retreat speaker.  She is a member of The Word Guild and NCWA. Outdoor pursuits (cycling, gardening, hiking, & kayaking) remind her of God’s creative bent and constant presence. She writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God.  Visit her blog at: Word Made Flesh.

Is a Crumb Enough?

Today we welcome Susan Hitchman as a regular contributor to UTCOP. Please give her a warm welcome – read her bio below and visit her blog.

Is a Crumb Enough?

by Susan Hitchman

Crumbs

I was thinking of the story in Mark 7:24-30 (and Matt. 15:21-28), entitled “Jesus and the Syrophoenician Canaanite Woman” in my Bible.  I have been intrigued by this story for many years.  It goes like this:

     Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.  He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.  In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.  The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia.  She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

The woman is plucky; she asks Jesus for help, but is not dissuaded by his potentially offensive metaphor of children/bread/dogs.  Instead, she rises to the occasion and applies the metaphor to her advantage.  Rather than being put off by her bold and assertive manner, He grants her request because of her boldness.

I like that interaction between Jesus and the woman; she knows she desperately needs Jesus and she will not allow herself to be offended.  I can almost see Jesus with piercing eyes and the beginnings of a smile challenging her request with his off-putting rebuff. I imagine her own shrewd look as she phrases her cheeky reply. With a slight nod and murmuring “touché!” under his breath perhaps, Jesus grants her request.  He directs her home, where she finds her prayer granted, her daughter healed.

I’m thinking this story is included in the gospels for a reason.  A good reason.  And I’m thinking I’ve overlooked this story far too long.  Many times I’ve asked God to teach me to pray, and I think there’s something important in this story that answers at least a ‘crumb’ of that prayer.

     “For that reply”, Jesus enjoins.

For her reply, the woman gets exactly that for which she asks.  What is it about her reply?  I’m thinking I really need to know what it is about her reply that touches Jesus.

Her reply illustrates her belief that the smallest crumb from the Bread of Life is more than sufficient to meet her most desperate need.  She is saying He is Omnipotent God.  For that reply, he gives her the ‘crumb’ she needs.

 Omnipotent Maker;
Redeemer of All, Bread of Life;
Of crumbs from your table
of blessing and mercy and grace
I must eat or be starved;

My hunger is slaked
by your Life-bread alone.
Let me eat of your fare,
For I hunger of You,

Hear my desperate plea,
O fill me or I die.

Sue Hitchman

Susan HitchmanSue  seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, co-leader of a women’s Bible study group and parent prayer group, and retreat speaker.  She is a member of The Word Guild and NCWA. Outdoor pursuits (cycling, gardening, hiking, & kayaking) remind her of God’s creative bent and constant presence. She writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God.  Visit her blog at: Word Made Flesh.