We’ve just moved into a new place. To our great delight, as well as the necessary number of bedrooms and walls and a roof, it has an open fireplace. Believe it or not, winters in the med can be surprisingly chilly, and this one is definitely no exception(!) so the past few weeks have seen something of a revival of the art of fire building and tending!
In all that, this simple picture has really found a place in my heart – Someone blowing gently on the embers of the fire and seeing them suddenly glow with light and heat. It’s so easy, and yet almost magical to watch. Seeing this happen over and over has stirred my heart, and a conviction has taken root that now is a time to pray over embers.
How many of you know people whose hearts have burned with passion for God in the past, but for whatever reason have gone cold? How many of you have watched the fire of someone’s first love for Jesus settle into something steady but lukewarm? Perhaps some of you can recognise parts of your own heart where the light and heat has gone out? Perhaps you’ve even begun to believe that hope, joy and excitement are for new believers, and that the reality of faith is slogging it out in the cold.
Sometimes it’s about circumstances or disappointments that have caused a gradual, not even noticeable coldness, or perhaps we’ve lived life or done ministry in a way that really has ‘burned us out’. Sometimes we’ve made mistakes (or others around us have), and instead of running to the stream of forgiveness we’ve let our guilt or unforgiveness smother the fire within us like a heavy blanket.
As always, there is so much grace here. We all live in seasons, there are times when we feel more or feel less of God’s presence, or have more or less zeal to serve him. Sometimes faith really is about putting your head down and forcing yourself forward. That’s kind of normal – a pendulum swing in our walk of faith. But maybe you look down at your own heart right now and all you see are embers.
In all of these cases, I am absolutely convinced that all God wants us to do with our embers is to surrender them to him and ask him to breathe on them again.
Where you can see embers in your own life, or in the people you care about, it’s time to pray. It’s time to pray that God would come and breathe where the fire has almost gone out, to blow gently on the embers and to see them glow into life again. It’s time to ask him to restore light, life and warmth to the hearts of men.
And it’s time to sit back and watch what happens.