An Eye-Opening Prayer

By Julian Wells

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18 NIV)

As I encountered this verse in my Bible reading this morning, it echoed back to me a three-fold plea I often pray as I open the pages of God’s Word: “Lord, open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your Word; awaken my ears to hear like one being taught (Isaiah 50:4); and open my mind to understand the Scriptures I’m about to read (Luke 24:45).”

Uttering that prayer reminds me that Bible study without the involvement of the Holy Spirit is just reading. But when the Holy Spirit intercedes, Bible study becomes an engagement and a dialogue with the Author himself.

When that happens, real transformation begins to take place.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)

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Why I Write

“The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” (Isaiah 50:4 NIV)

These words from Isaiah hit me like a resounding gong earlier this week. They reminded me why I began Ridgetop Reflections over two years ago – to comfort, encourage, and edify those who take the time to read my posts.

And yet it has been six months since my last post. Somewhere along my writing journey I lost sight of that original purpose. Several factors have contributed to that silence, including a lack of focus and self-discipline.

But being honest with myself and with you, I must confess that the diminishing size of my readership made me lose confidence in my abilities as a writer, leading to a serious case of writer’s block.

As I wrestled with those issues, I realized that my motivations for writing had become corrupted. Falling victim to a common trap of social media, I became too focused on numbers – how many people visited Ridgetop Reflections, how many hits each post received, and how many likes, shares, and comments were recorded on Facebook and Twitter.  So I stopped writing until I could sort all that out and honestly address the question, “Why do I write?”.

This passage from Isaiah began to reveal the answer. Like Isaiah, it is usually in the mornings that the Holy Spirit “wakens my ear to listen like one being taught”. Psalm 96:2-3 (NLT) says “Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” 

That is why I write – to comfort the weary, to steer the seeking, to encourage the discouraged, to strengthen the doubting, to edify the faithful, and most importantly, to glorify the One who “came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 NIV)

Recently I was reminded that the apostle Paul never boasted about the size of his ministry or the reach of his impact. In fact, while Paul planted many churches, he could not possibly have known that his letters to those churches would continue to comfort, encourage, and instruct believers for thousands of years to come. He only knew that Christ’s love compelled him to do what he did and he left the rest in the Lord’s hands.

Going forward, may that be my motivation as well.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV)