If there’s one word to summarize my experience with the Sore Knees Challenge, it’s “kinship.” In our work as teachers and activists, we can put on a mantel that doesn’t actually belong to us. The authority and resources that we have do not translate to “savior.” Through the Sore Knees Challenge, I sensed order. That the Master is always the Master, the one who blesses resources and multiplies them. We are nourished, and we break our bread with the people around us–our students and the poor–all of us hungry, all of us fed by the Master.
The Sore Knees Challenge helps me a lot with overcoming laziness and keeping following Yahweh. I didn’t realize that something had changed in me after my graduation from school until I read the foundation part. For a long time, I built my life on money and reputation rather than on Him. And now, I admit that He is the unique foundation and the rock of my life.
Recently I sat in a student meeting and listened to a parent tell me that I had given up on her son…Her son is the student I most often bring before the feet of the Master Teacher. I love him more than I probably should. I can see his pain and while his behavior is extremely difficult, I have always been able to separate him from his behavior. That is not true of how I felt about his mother. Later the Spirit nudged me to start lifting her up. I was certainly not terribly compassionate as I began…As I prayed for her, I began to see her as a fellow mom a bit more. I saw her struggles and began to appreciate her attempts to be a good parent. The student’s behavior and school performance has been very much improved since the meeting. I don’t credit my act of prayer for the change in student behavior, I credit our Master for the change in me, my heart and the lens I can now use to see this mom.
My co-worker and I had lifted together before, but the challenge gave us an opportunity to do so in a much more focused way. Perhaps what it did most for us was reveal our sins and inspire us to be honest with one another about our struggles. As we move into the next few full months, I’m excited to see what more the Master Teacher will do in and through us, having laid a foundation of intercession, of Him.
My co-teacher and I have very much enjoyed lifting our Sunday School girls. It’s not that we hadn’t ever interceded for them before, but we made a much more concentrated effort to do so regularly during the Sore Knees Challenge. No, we haven’t been answered with lightning and thunder. We have noticed, however, more opportunities to speak one-on-one with children as well as connect with their families. I even had a meeting with one girl and her father to discuss some problems the girl was having. I’ve considered the fact that some of these girls likely have no one to bring their name into the throne room on a regular basis, if ever. What a privilege to be the ones to do so! We will not know the answers to these requests until eternity. That’s okay with me!
As I read the comments, I was reminded of a book I read quite a few years ago. It was entitled, ‘Lord, Change Me!” It was written by a mother who had difficulties with her daughter. She discovered that when she changed her prayer direction from “Lord, change her!” to “Lord, change me!” significant changes came to both mother and daughter. I have kept that in mind through the years when as a minister I encountered individuals who were difficult to work with.
That stood out to me too, that more change happened in us than to others. Or, maybe that’s what is easiest to see and measure.