Axe Head Prayer
Redeeming your spiritual edge.
As we open our hands in surrender, speaking honestly with God about where we lost our edge,
what feels like loss actually draws us deeper into God.
“The company of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live.
“And he said, ‘Go.’
“Then one of them said, ‘Won’t you please come with your servants?’
“’I will,’ Elisha replied. And he went with them.
“They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axe head fell into the water. ‘Oh, my lord,’ he cried out, ‘it was borrowed!’
“The man of God asked, ‘Where did it fall?’ When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. ‘Lift it out,’ he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.”
CHRONIC ILLNESS CAN DULL OUR AXE HEAD
Losing our “edge” – our ability to love and serve in familiar and fulfilling ways – can be almost as disorienting as illness itself and sometimes more discouraging.
That’s why we need the community of others.
In 2 Kings 1-2, the “company of the prophets” met with Elisha and suggested they build a place where there was enough space for all of them to live together. They needed more space for their growing community. This is where I found myself before I was sidelined by illness. I was serving in ways I knew God had called me. Ways that brought me joy, pulled me out of myself, and grew my faith. Our community was growing and we needed more space.
It was a joy to swing my axe!
Until the head flew off the handle, swallowed by illness and overwhelming loss.
2 Kings 6:5b were the words I needed to learn, “… it was borrowed,” but they didn’t come easily. It took many months to open my hands and speak those words honestly to God.
“What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul asked 1 Corinthians 4:7.
He answers that question in Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.”
Everything we have – every gift, skill, talent, insight, passion, interest, drop of love, and scrap of energy – is given to us by God, from Him, in Him, through Him, by Him, for Him, and because of Him.
For His glory.
WHEN MY AXE HEAD FLEW OFF
My axe head flew off into the depths of chronic pain and illness.
I was overwhelmed, searching, and frantically seeking help when God quietly asked, “Where did it fall?” (2 Kings 6:6)
He already knew. But I needed to surrender. God had called me to serve in ways that brought me great joy. Now He was asking me for something different, calling me to trust Him a little bit more, to lean a little bit deeper, and to surrender to His will in this new season in my life.
But was I willing?
Where had I stopped trusting that God was greater than my diagnoses? When had I stopped believing that whatever He allows in my life is for my good and His glory? What had caused my edge to fly off into the muddy abyss?
As we open our hands in surrender, speaking honestly with God about where our axe head flew off, what feels like loss actually grafts us deeper into the Vine.
HOW TO FIND YOUR EDGE WITH GOD’S HELP
Prayer keeps us close to God. Today, take some time to think about, pray through, and journal your responses to these questions:
- Have you lost your edge?
- Have you stopped trusting that God is greater than your illness, deeper than your pain?
- Are you sinking in the muddy waters of affliction?
- Have you been sunk by your circumstances?
- Have you lost faith in God?
Show God where you lost your edge. And when your axe head floats, reach in, and lift it out.
AXE HEAD PRAYER
You are the source of all that I have. My life is a gift from You, but sometimes it seems there is too much to bear. Grief, illness, unfinished projects, and other things take my eyes off of You. Sometimes I am overwhelmed as all these things come crashing down on me.
But as I feel myself sinking, I remember that I don’t have to carry these burdens alone. You have promised to be with me every step of this journey through life. You are greater than any illness or problem that comes my way. Give me the faith to trust You, to meet You in a prayer of lament, and to surrender my burdens to You.
Turn my heart toward You and Your Word. Teach me to come alongside others as we bear one another’s burdens and share the load. Remind us that You are the One who is faithful to keep us; Your faithful love will always be with us and You will never leave us.
Oh, Father, strengthen our faith. Draw us close to You where we can find our “edge” again. Make our axe head float so we can move forward with joy and peace, knowing that You are our strength.
In the name of Jesus,
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