Cold, hard concrete below my feet, but it feels like cotton when I’m on my knees. The surface doesn’t change, but the texture of my heart does. My circumstances may not change, but my conviction does. The hard people around me may not change, but how I see them softens for yet another day. Oh how desperately I need my prayer time as my life line. My morning manna. Speaking with Jesus in the cool of the morning before the heat of the day.
In here, without prayer, you have no chance of making it out a changed man. Everything about the environment works against you; and if you’re not praying against it or praying to be developed through it, it will certainly prey on you. And as a result, the smoke of this furnace will certainly be smelled on you.
Yet with fervent prayer, it is possible to be in a fire and leave without smelling like one. “And the smell of fire was not on them” (Daniel 3:27).
I’m coming home not smelling like smoke. Not because I’ve stayed away from the fire, but because with the Son of God by my side, I’ve learned to walk in the midst of the fire. “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25).
Prayer isn’t necessarily fireproof, because you can still touch the flames. But prayer makes you fire-proved, which means the flames can’t touch you. It’s a choice whether or not to be burned by the flammable surroundings. Just last night I was speaking with my brother on the phone. And as we talked he wondered what all the racket was in the background.
I was surprised that he even heard it because I’ve become so accustomed to blocking it out, but then I realized how loud and flagrant these flames actually were. Less than a few feet away from the payphone on the wall was a card game going on with 4 guys.
It is usually at these tables where the wood of ignorance is tossed into the flames of idleness. They have no concern but their game, they carry on at the top of their lungs in spite of the phones being only a few feet away in both directions.
My brother asked how often that noise occurs, I told him rhetorically, “When doesn’t it occur?” Outside of sleep, gasoline and sparks collide all day. Vulgarity. Profanity. Perversity. It is the language of the land that will burn you…if you reach out and touch it. I refuse!
So when the entire tier is sleeping on their backs, I’m on my knees praying against the backdraft. And by the time my peers begin to stir, I’m already at the “table that God prepared before me in the presence of my enemies” fanning my own type of fire (Psalm 23:5).
The burning fire of a personal revival.