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The Water Lily

Several years ago I was blessed to have someone take two long Friday evenings to walk me through Neil Anderson’s Steps to Freedom in Christ, with three others gathered around us praying and interceding. It was an exhausting time as I faced a multitude of sins in my life that I did not want to admit so that I could renounce them and become free of them.

After the step of Forgiveness, during which I recalled all the people who had wounded me and how that wounding felt and then forgave each person for their sin against me, one of the intercessors described a picture that had come to her while she was praying. The picture was of a water lily—exquisite, pure white, beautiful—and how this now described me—accepted by God with joy.

It’s been a symbol to me of forgiveness ever since—of how God has forgiven me and for me to continue being a forgiving person. In my prayer room I have a mounted photograph of several water lilies in a pond and my custom is that when I come to it, I thank God for his forgiveness and renew my commitment to be forgiving.

I had actually forgotten the part of the picture that described the water lily as exquisite, pure white and beautiful until yesterday when a small piece of paper fluttered out of a Bible I seldom use. On that paper, the various pictures and messages the intercessors were given that night are written.

And so this morning as I came to the water lilies in my prayer time, I thanked God for his forgiveness and for how his forgiveness has made me pure, white and beautiful in his sight. And then, as I began to pray about forgiving others, it hit me. When I forgive someone, I am, in essence, making them pure, white and beautiful in my sight. Wow! Can I truly see those who have hurt me as pure, white and beautiful? It gives a whole new meaning to forgiveness; one that’s going to require some chewing on before the fit is comfortable.

God, when you forgive me, you make me pure and spotless in your eyes. I’m not sure I can do that to others. If I can’t, does that mean I haven’t truly forgiven? Can I wipe the stain away from my view of them so I see them as you see them when you forgive them? This is radical thinking for me, God. Please help me as I try to follow you in this.


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In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…