Welcome to Palmerston North, a small city in the heart country of New Zealand where students walk along the banks of the river, world cultures mix and mingle and share the bikeways, and by and large,the locals have roots that go back three or four generations.
And here is where I'm praying 'Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.' Here, in my city. My neighbourhood. My family. My nation.
If ever there's a picture that tells how it's done, it's here, on the hilltops surrounding this city. Reality is, I live in one of the windiest cities in one of the windiest countries of the world.
We can't escape the wind,of course, and so we harness it. We've got masses of turbines on the hills around us. Doesn't matter where you're standing or where you're looking, chances are, you'll glimpse a turbine if you're visiting town.
They stand there, a whole array of towering structures, their long white blades turning, turning, capturing all that is unseen, all that power and potential up there in the sky, and with every sweep, they it all down here to earth. Creating energy. Bringing light and power and transformation to our lives here below.
So it is with our prayers, our presence. We're the ones, the ones who get to belong to two realms - this seen one we see with our eyes, this earth we inhabit - and the unseen, the heavenlies, the one we see by faith rather then by sight. And so we stand between heaven and earth, human turbines, firmly planted, yet reaching ever upwards, harnessing all that is good and lovely and true up there, and bringing it powerfully to this world we love so dearly.
"Lord, I reach up, into Your presence. I take from the heavenlies a great measure of . . ." and it doesn't matter what the need of the moment is, you name it, it's there in measureless supply. Courage for the job interview, rest for a worn-out soul, shoes for the kids or grace for the neighbour . . . if it's in His realm, it's ours for the harvesting.
That's how we change the world. That's how we bring a slice of heaven to earth. We reach up, and bring down, and reach up again, and bring down.
And the thing I love, is that on the blustery days, the stormy days, the turbines don't quit. They don't struggle. That's when they reach peak performance. It's in the blasts that the blades do their most intense work. I've watched them there, hundreds of them, all together, turning, turning, making the most of an invisible resource, like a great multitude of believers all about one cause, all effortlessly in sync, maximising the opportunity to empower and bless and bring light and life to humanity.
"Lord, I reach defiantly into the heavens today. In the face of all that buffets and batters and threatens and storms, I choose to relentlessly reach up and bring down, reach up and bring down, until day after day, generation after generation, the unlimited resources of God flow in my life,my community, my world."