I am blessed to be part of a church without walls, and we aspire to live by the “unforced rhythms of grace.” That’s the way the Message translation expresses Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30. When we are living from a place of rest in God’s presence, we live by the unforced rhythms of grace.
When we live by God’s rhythm for our lives, it shouldn’t surprise us that we end up exactly where we should be at the right time and place, filled with God’s peace, and living in the flow of His Spirit.
Lately I’ve had several opportunities to experience the unforced rhythms of grace. One stands out that I’d like to share.
I’m an intercessor and a prayer minister. I pray often. I try to invite the Lord into situations and not take the burden on myself in a fleshly way. No one needs my flesh – they need Him. And if I take on burdens that are not mine to carry, I’ll end up as a greasy spot.
I try to pray by the leading of the Holy Spirit, not by human emotion. This is not always easy, especially when friends and family are involved. But I try to let God lead me and to keep resting in His Spirit.
Recently I was facilitating a prayer ministry session for two hours. Those can get pretty intense, especially when dealing with generational healing. I love doing these sessions, but I can only do so much in a day.
At the time I finished the session, it was mid-afternoon on a weekend day. I knew I was spent. I felt like I needed the evening to rest.
A friend asked if I could join her and several others on a prayer call that evening for Healing Rooms. As much as I love Healing Rooms prayer, I told her I wouldn’t be able to join them. It is rare that I would miss a call like this, but I didn’t have the energy.
I rested. God renewed me.
Shortly before the evening prayer call, another friend texted and mentioned the call. I was surprised to realize how refreshed I felt.
“I’d like to join the call after all,” I told her.
Half an hour later, as I prayed on the call for someone in need of God’s healing, I realized my personal testimony was relevant to praying for her healing. I knew God had prepared me all afternoon to be on that call. And I felt totally at rest as I prayed. I let the Holy Spirit lead my prayers.
After the call, I talked with one of my friends about what happened. It was the unforced rhythms of grace. If I hadn’t rested completely in the late afternoon and into the evening, if I hadn’t said “no” at first to the prayer call, then I would have prayed more in my flesh than by the Spirit. I also would have been anticipating the call for hours and worried about my energy level. Therefore I wouldn’t have rested well.
Instead, I stayed present in the moment. I knew at mid-afternoon I needed to rest. So I did. Completely. With no thought of participating on the prayer call. I didn’t anticipate. I simply did what I needed to do at that time. I rested as if I had the whole evening to rest, with no thought for what came next.
When the time came for prayer that evening, I was prompted, rested, and refreshed. I wanted to pray, and I was glad to pray from my testimony of healing and by the Holy Spirit’s leading. The prayer time renewed me as well. And I slept really well that night.
I share this as an example of what it means to live in the unforced rhythms of grace. God is much better at guiding my time and energy than I am. When I surrender to His rhythm for my life, when I live by His rest, I am better able to pray by His leading.
If you would like to live by the unforced rhythms of grace, read Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28-30 and allow God to bring His peace into your life:
“’Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Copyright © 2020 by Janet Eriksson
Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of nine books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches at https://adventureswithgod.blog/. She enjoys volunteering with Transformations. Janet received her M. Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary.