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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

I have been home since Monday evening. I cannot remember a time when I was more exhausted than I was on Monday night. My meager post-surgery strength did not match the demands my body required of me. That night I deeply second-guessed coming home instead of going into rehab. I could barely move, much less properly engage the specific mechanics required of me to consistently keep the weight off my right leg.

My week was filled with focus, practice, adjustment, and caution. I had little to no pain in hospital, but as my previous painkillers worked their way out of my system and I reduced the amount of new painkiller I was taking, my pain increased slightly. Was this a bad sign? Was I doing something wrong? Should I cut back on physio? Increase it? More meds? Less? Not sure.

The surgeon wanted to see me two weeks after my surgery. After returning home I called to make the appointment. I discover that the ortho clinic will be closed two weeks after my surgery, and closed for the entire week. My follow up is now 3.5 weeks after surgery. Will this be ok? Will my dressing last? What about my staples?

As the meds work their way out of my system, I struggle with fatigue, ennui, enervation, and depression. I hesitated to write about this, but it is my reality. When we share what is going on in our lives with the body of Christ, we do not share only the blessings, but also the struggles. The love and prayers of God’s people are a great encouragement in times of struggle.

Slowly I am seeing improvement. I am better able to hop using my walker and keep most of the weight off my injured leg. I discovered I tend to hold my breath when I am concentrating. I need to talk myself through the steps. Remember to hold in my abs, breathe, hold my arms straight, and move forward, keeping my foot barely on the ground for balance. And again. And again.

How did my appliance fail? How did I go so long without knowing it? Did the doctor do something wrong? Was it something I did wrong? Am I doing something wrong now? Is it even possible to find the truth about this?

Why hadn’t my hip itself hurt? The last month before the x-rays I felt crooked and was unable to stand straight. I felt the tightness in the muscles of my back and in the thigh of my right leg, but when I poked the hip area, nothing hurt. I thought it was my fibromyalgia. I now realize that not every muscle pain is fibromyalgia.

I become aware of many others who are struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I pray for them. Sin has touched and cursed us all. We all need Christ and His truth and His salvation. We need to speak truth to each other in times of sorrow and in times of joy. We are family. We rejoice and we weep with each other.

Today as I heal and continue to work to strengthen, I am enjoying some special blessings. My family has arrived from China and I get to hold and talk with my grandchildren, listen to their dreams, join in their imaginings. This morning my grandchildren picked the first of my garden peas to share with me. Well-formed, sweet and delicious, they are consumed with gratitude and satisfaction.

I am abundantly blessed through this ordeal to have my daughters living nearby ready to sacrifice to help in any way possible. God has also blessed me with many children of the heart who visit and write and stop by to help. They bring their little ones, my ‘adopted’ grandchildren, to visit Purple Grandma and hand me sweaty fistfuls of flowers or grasses or other treasures selected just to cheer me.

Truth is, just like many others who suffer unexpectedly, I may never know why this happened. God chose it for me for His glory and my good. I do not understand what that looks like right now or how it helps me and the body of Christ overall. I struggle to rejoice in infirmity. I struggle against self-focus and negative thinking. I struggle to rejoice in the Lord always, but by God’s grace, I am not content to be disobedient.

The prayers and love of God’s people are very precious to me. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for me and continues to pray with me. I pray God will bless you for your love and concern.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Cancer???????????????????????????????

Cancer.  We hear the word and recoil, thinking of the destruction these rogue cells cause.  Several of my friends are currently enduring the ordeal of cancer treatments.  Both of my parents died of cancer.  Most of us have friends, colleagues or family who have been touched by this terrible disease.

We are all blessed when Christians choose to glorify God in diagnosis and treatment for cancer.  Louise has been a wonderful example of this. Though very much wanting to live, she has sincerely and openly confessed that, “For me to live is Christ; to die is gain.”

She wished she hadn’t looked

Louise has been extremely ill this past year.  Miscarriage claimed her first child then later in the year, her twins.  Illness, dizziness, infections, and fatigue followed the second miscarriage.  By the end of November all the tests results were in:  stage 3 bladder cancer.  Further tests revealed the cancer had spread to her ovaries and uterus.  Louise’s doctor showed her the images and pointed out the cancer.  She wished she hadn’t looked.  Prognosis was 6 months of treatment in hopes of stopping the spread with the possibility of surgery afterward.

Brian and Louise grieved, and cried out to God.  They questioned, they wept, they turned to the Scriptures and they prayed.  Their physical families and the church family circled around them and lovingly helped and provided for them.

Chemotherapy

The prescribed chemotherapy was in pill form, taken at home, two weeks on, one week off.  Extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and dizziness ensued.  The food that would stay down smelled foul and tasted terrible.  Louise shaved her head.  She slept a lot.

Through all of this she would text friends about the things that God was teaching her.  She told everyone of God’s goodness to her -doctors, nurses, and anyone else who would listen.  Most people will at least politely listen because who wants to discourage someone struggling with cancer?

Test results

After the second cycle of treatments Louise had a good week.  She felt stronger.  She could eat.  Her abdomen was pain-free.  Louise went in for her next set of testing.  The doctors were concerned about something and put a rush on the results.

Tuesday night the oncologist called Louise.  “Oh no.  Something must be wrong for the doctor himself to be calling me in the evening.”

The voice on the other end was incredulous.  “Louise, I can’t explain it, but we find no trace of cancer in any of your tests.”

Louise gasped, “Praise God!”  She wanted to be sure.  “Are you sure it is me? Please read me the health care number.”  He did. “Yes, that’s my number.”

The doctor continued, “I examined the results very carefully and asked two of my colleagues to give me their opinions.  We are in agreement.  There is not a hint of cancer anywhere.”

God has done this!

Excitedly Louise exclaimed, “This is God!  God has done this!”

“I need to read that paper you gave me,” her doctor replied.

“Paper?  What paper?”  Louise was puzzled.

“It was called, ‘God’s Bridge to Eternal Life.”

“Yes, God is the one Who did this and that tract will tell you about our wonderful God!”

Brian and Louise quickly spread the news.  They are keenly aware that God does not always or even often answer prayers for healing this dramatically.  Her doctors want to quadruple check the results.  So far the tests have all shown the same thing:  no trace of cancer.  The doctor showed her the cancer-free images next to the first ones.  She’s glad now that she had looked and could see the difference.

Thank you and give God the glory

To those of who have been praying, thank you.  Brian and Louise want to give God the glory.  They don’t want to squander this opportunity to point others to God.  They approach God with open hands and continue to give Him their lives to use as He wishes.

Brian and Louise do not know what the future holds; none of us does.  But today, and with gratitude, we praise God for healing Louise.

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“We have done all we can do.”Edinburgh (18)

Several of us were gathered around the crib in our baby son’s hospital room.  There was a somber and surreal atmosphere, as if we were observers of someone else’s drama.  “We have done all we can do,” our doctor told us.  “David’s kidneys have shut down.  Unless his kidneys begin working, I don’t think your son will live through the night.”

Pouring out his heart in prayer

My mother-in-law and our Christian doctor stood with us as we looked on our son’s listless form.   My husband clasped my hand and began pouring his heart out before the Lord. “Lord, this child was a gift from you.  You formed him, You gave him life, and You have a purpose for him.  We love our son, Lord, and we don’t want him to die.  But Lord, we want Your will, even if that means our son will go to be with You.  Please God, make David’s kidneys work. You are the Great Physician and can heal him in an instant.  But if you choose not to heal David, please give us the grace to glorify You in our sorrow.”

Quiet prayer

Medical personnel quietly moved in and out of the dimly-lit room taking vital signs and checking the IV. Someone removed even the diaper from our son’s fever-ravaged body in hopes that the air would help cool him.  We all continued to quietly pray.  We tried to figure out if we could have taken action sooner.  We went over the details of the day and we prayed some more.  Someone pulled a chair up to the bed for me, “You’re pregnant and need to rest.”  Someone else offered to get us something to eat.  Funny thing, in all of the urgency of the day I wasn’t at all hungry and had never once thought about the fact that I was indeed halfway through my second pregnancy.

“Please God, would You spare our son?”

The ward had several other pediatric meningitis patients.  We asked a few questions and learned that some children diagnosed with symptoms as severe as David’s have permanent disability such as deafness or brain damage, and, as we knew was possible, some die.  “Please God, would You spare our son?”

Answered prayer

Weariness set in as the strain of the day began catching up with us.  Our conversation dwindled to an occasional murmured comment or prayer.  Our doctor walked back in to the room.  As he checked David’s IV, a stream of urine shot up from the bed.  We began to clap and cheer and cry with joy.  God had answered our prayers and caused David’s kidneys to work!

Our son was in hospital for ten days.  He slowly began healing and we were finally able to take him home with us.  He was neither deaf nor brain damaged – God had returned him to us and we did not want to take that lightly.

Standing at death’s door brings a reality check

Even though we mouth the words, “Not my will, Lord, but thine,” many young people retain a feeling of invincibility because of the vigor and stamina of youth.  Standing at death’s door brings a reality check and forces us to acknowledge that our times are truly in His hands. We learned much about faith, prayer, surrender and grief those days.  We had a new understanding of the verses which tell us that life is a brief vapor.  We developed a deeper appreciation of the gift that life is.

Practical help

During these days of hospitalization, treatment and recovery we were blessed with the prayers of many, both friends and strangers.  Following my continuing theme of practical help in times of suffering and grief, I want to mention some specific things which were a help to us during our son’s hospitalization.

  • A lady in our church came to visit me in the hospital.  Several years earlier her daughter had contracted meningitis and recovered from it.  This dear woman’s willingness to share her experiences was a great encouragement and helped me know I wasn’t alone in this trial.
  • We needed someone at the hospital with our son around the clock.  Family and friends signed up to take shifts so my husband could return to work and so I could get some rest.
  • Meals, laundry and cleaning were taken care of by others.
  • Some provided money for hospital parking.  This can be expensive when you have to park every day for a prolonged period of time.
  • We lived in the States at the time and were without medical insurance.  Though the hospital initially wanted to transfer our son out of the hospital because we had no insurance, our doctor and family members spoke in our behalf so he could stay.  It took several years, but God gave my husband and I both work so the debt could be repaid.  Sometimes you need an advocate in the midst of a critical illness.
  • We received many notes and cards of encouragement.
  • During the crisis I felt totally calm and my husband was agitated.  It was a great help when our doctor told us that in his experience, one parent often is stoic at first and falls apart after the crisis has passed and the other is anxious first and very calm when their loved one is out of danger.  After we brought David home from hospital, I would sit in my rocking chair cuddling him and crying and my husband joked and played with our son.

“Why crying, Mama?”

Shortly after we bought David home from his hospital stay we learned of another seminary family whose baby daughter had just died of meningitis.  As I rocked David and prayed for this family, tears flowed down.  David reached his little hand up and wiped my tears saying, “Why crying, Mama?”  We prayed together for this bereaved family and I told God I didn’t understand why our son was spared while this family experienced such loss.

Hold the loosely

So we asked God for wisdom in rearing this recovered child believing that God had a particular purpose for our son’s life because this child had been returned to us.  Thus began our understanding of holding our children loosely because they are God’s and He has loaned them to us for an indeterminate period of time.

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No advantage in life can shield us from heartaches7-15-10 (70)

Heartaches. They afflict us in every area of life: marriage, pregnancy, child rearing, family relationships, health, jobs, finances, our dealings with other Christians, our interaction with the unsaved. No one is exempt from them: the young or the old, the weak or the strong, male or female, educated or unschooled, handicapped or healthy, PhD or illiterate, debutante or derelict, virtuoso or unskilled. No advantage in life can shield us from heartaches.

There is help in God’s Word

Who among us has not felt stabs of anguish or the pangs of sorrow over certain, maybe even many, unexpected or uncontrollable events in our lives? We women are emotional creatures. God has made us that way and formed us to accomplish His unique will in our lives with full knowledge of that emotional nature. He does not give us this nature, then allow events to stir up and touch that nature, without also providing us a remedy from these troubles that so weigh us down. There is help, solace, and comfort in the Word of God.

Hannah and her heartaches

In 1 Samuel 1 we get a glimpse of Hannah and her heartaches. Hannah was one of two wives of Elkanah and grieved over her childlessness. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, bore sons and daughters for him, but his love was directed toward Hannah. Can you imagine the tension in that home where it was known that the husband loved one wife more than the other? Day after day Hannah was taunted and mocked for her barrenness so that she was in anguish of soul.

Overwhelmed by anguish

Truly Hannah lived under great stress. As she focused on her troubles, she was dismayed and despondent. To make matters worse, Elkanah did not seem to understand the depth of her anguish. We too, find ourselves in situations where we are overwhelmed by circumstances we cannot change. Often those we turn to for comfort do not seem to understand our distress.

Hannah changed her focus

Somewhere in her grief Hannah changed her focus. She was able in the full emotion of her heart to lay her burden before the Lord in prayer. Perhaps she realized that there is no human comfort to help in the midst of certain griefs. Maybe she understood that no earthly intervention would alter her circumstances.

Pouring out our hearts before God

We do know that she poured out her heart before the Lord, laying her heart bare in all of its distress and sorrow. “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.” (v. 10) When Eli observed her lips moving without sound and rebuked her for being drunk, she reiterated that she was bringing her distress before the Lord. “I am a woman of sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.” (v.15) “for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.” (v. 16)

In the Lord there is relief

In earnestly entreating the Lord, Hannah had come to the point where she understood that with the Lord there is real relief from the deepest of troubles. We need to honestly and without reserve, entreat the Great Physician to provide remedy for our every heartache.

Peace and joy

Hannah came away from her time of prayer with peace and joy in her heart. “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” (v.18) God spoke through Eli to assure her that her prayer would be answered.

Casting all your care on God

God gives us assurance through the Holy Spirit that He will hold our burden for us. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7) Where better to leave our heartache than with the “One that inhabiteth eternity”? (Isaiah 57:15) God knows all things. He is able to sort out even the most impossible mess in our lives, change the most stubborn of hearts, soothe the distresses that cause us to turn our focus from Him to ourselves.

Fix your focus on God

In coming to a place of peace in the midst of her circumstances, Hannah gives us one of the most wonderful poems of praise recorded in the Old Testament. “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord…, I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (I Samuel 2:1-2) Hannah’s focus has become fixed on the Lord and His mighty attributes. No longer is her focus on her self or her circumstances, but on the Lord and His greatness. Her focus now rests on the One who can change any circumstance, relieve any heartache.

“The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.”

Unbeckoned heartaches will descend on us at many points in life. Our natural man responds by focusing on the trouble causing the heartache. Thomas Watson, seventeenth century preacher, aptly observed, “If God be our God, He will give peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.” Only when we remove our focus from ourselves and our circumstances, as Hannah learned to do, will we be able to overcome the heartaches that are an inevitable part of the life of every Christian woman.

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Genuineness is a blessing

One of the things I have deeply appreciated about our ministry at Lighthouse Baptist is the genuineness of the believers in their ??????????????????????????Christian walk.  It’s not uncommon to ask a brother or sister in Christ how they are doing and have them answer along these lines:  “I’m struggling with _________.  Please pray with me that I will glorify God and trust Him to help me come to a biblical response.”

Genuine Fakes

Bud and I were amused on our biblical studies tour to find a merchant at Ephesus who advertised ‘Genuine Fake Watches’ and the wanna be in Israel whose green coffee shop sign read ‘Stars and Bucks.’ At first glance it looked authentic, but not so!

Sometimes we can be become genuine fakes.  We are burdened, or beset by temptation, or bound up by unbiblical thinking.  Instead of pouring our hearts out to God and carefully sharing our burdens with our Christian family, we fake it.  Like mindless bobble heads with pasted on fake smiles we nod robotically and tell people we are fine when what we desperately need is for God to help or change us.

Bethlehem commerce You can fool others…

While perusing a bookstore in Rome we noticed a Gypsy woman entreating the customers for ‘donations’ as she pointed toward the entrance. Outside a Gypsy man sat on the ground, his legs twisted and deformed looking, crutches propped behind him, while he called out in a plaintive sing-song voice for passers-by to pity him and drop some money in his upturned hat. Imagine my total shock and surprise when at 5:00 the clock chimed and the woman walked out of the store and joined the man who jumped up, grabbed his crutches and strode away!  Fakes indeed!

But you can’t fool God

God hates it when we put on an act.  The Pharisees were known for their great pomp and attention-getting devices in their outward worship.  Christ condemned them multiple times for this and held up as an example those who acknowledged their weaknesses and humbly entreated God for help.

God is teaching me to be more open and genuine.  He puts us together in the local body of Christ for corporate worship and mutual edification.  I’m praying for God’s grace and help to both share my burdens and bear others’ burdens genuinely.

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This session was recently prepared for the pastors’ wives at the National Church Planters’ Conference in Mentor Ohio, sponsored by ARCH Ministries.  These sessions were adapted from my ladies’ Sunday School series on Biblical Womanhood created for Meadowlands Baptist Church of Edmonton.

Choosing Delight

Spending time each day with God in personal study, prayer, and worship is called by many names including:  a walk with God, having devotions, meeting with the Lord, spending time with God, or having a quiet time.

When we spend time privately communing with God do we delight in that time together?  Why, do you ask, are you addressing pastor’s wives on this topic?  Aren’t they among the spiritual giants of the church who don’t need to hear this?  I may be ‘preaching to the choir’ but in my years in ministry this spiritual practice has at times been a struggle for me and other missionary and pastor’s wives due to our busy schedules and the burdens of the ministry.  It’s profitable for us to be reminded not only of our need to walk with God, but to also delight in it.

My devotional time is a specific time set aside each day to meet with God for the purpose of communicating with our Lord – to listen to what He has to say to us through the Bible, and to talk with Him in prayer.  The goal of a daily devotional time is to worship God and to grow in the Lord – to adjust our thinking and behavior- as we read how He expects us to conduct ourselves as believers in this world. Too many times we can find ourselves, as my former pastor’s wife used to say,  “dragging our eyeballs across the page” when reading God’s word, and not deriving any benefit from it.

So how can we delight in our walk with God?  First, we need to define what the word “delight” means.   The definition of delight is: to give great pleasure or, a high degree of gratification[1]; to take great pleasure or joy[2].  The scriptures speak of God delighting in His children and of believers delighting in God.  Do we take great pleasure in spending time with God?

God Delights in Us and We Delight in Him

God delights in the obedience of His children.  Who can forget the scathing words of Samuel the prophet to Saul as the disobedient king tries to justify his actions?  “Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22.)  We are told several times in the Proverbs that God delights in the prayers and right behavior of His children. (Proverbs 11:20; Proverbs 12:22; Proverbs 15:8.)

God delights simply in those who are His children.  Don’t we as parents delight in our children?  Our God delights even more in us. (2 Samuel 22:20 & Psalm 18:19 and Psalm 16:3.)

Not only does God delight in His children, but His children delight in the person of God (Job 22:26; Isaiah 58:14; Psalm 37:4,) His attributes (Nehemiah 9:25: Psalm 94:19,) and His presence (Isaiah 58:2.)

There are many verses which speak of the believer’s delight in God’s Word.   His law Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:70, 77, 92, 174; Romans 7:22,) His commandments (Psalm 112:1; Psalm 119:35, 47, 143,) His way (Psalm 37:23,) His will (Psalm 40:8,) His statutes (Psalm 119:16,) and His testimonies (Psalm 119:24) are aspects of God which we should delight in.

All believers should have a daily walk with God.  This is a personal, daily, intimate communication with my God where we listen to what God says to us through the Word and speak to Him in prayer. How much more important this should be for those in spiritual leadership.

Meditating on God’s Word

When we listen to the voice of God through reading and studying His Word, the Bible, we need to meditate or think carefully about the words we read.  To help us understand what we are reading it helps to ask the following questions:  What does the passage say?  What is the setting and why are these things happening? What lessons are taught here? How does this principle or lesson apply to me?

The Bible tells us that this process of meditation has results.  Your meditations indicate what kind of person you are (Proverbs 23:7 – As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.)  We are instructed to place our thinking under the control of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 – Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.)  In addition, believers are reminded to continually meditate on God’s word (Psalm 1:1-2 – meditate day and night; Joshua 1:8 – meditate therein day and night.)

When memorizing a verse or portion of a verse, it helps to think on it throughout the day.  We first read the verse, then repeat the verse, then practice saying or writing the verse, then quote the verse from memory.

Prayer Is Talking with God

Not only does God speak to us and reveal His will for believers through His Word, we have the opportunity to speak with Him and communicate with our creator and Savior.  Prayer is talking with God.  God did not appreciate the stilted self-righteous prayers of the Pharisees, nor does He rejoice in the impersonal rote prayers of His children today.

Prayer is not just talking for the sake of talking. When we pray we are talking with the One who created us and intimately knows us.  He understands our innermost thoughts, desires, and struggles.  We need to lay out our heartfelt burdens before Him, as He deeply cares for us and delights to help us.

Praise and Adoration Brings God Delight

Our prayers should first be full of praise for God and His attributes.  Too often we minimize this step because our hearts are burdened or we are in a hurry.  We should thank Him for His care and His answers to prayer.  We must also search our hearts and confess any sin we discover or know of to Him.  Not only are we to take our own burdens to the Lord in prayer, we are to remember the burdens of others before God’s throne.

Part of our devotional time should be dedicated to worshipping God through praise and adoration.   It is encouraging to sing, read or quote hymns as part of your devotions.  Why not take a few minutes and rehearse some of His many attributes and praise Him for them?  He is Holy, Just, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Infinite, Immutable, Eternal, Loving, Merciful, Good, Sovereign, and many more things for which He should receive glory.

Each life is launched down the stream of life.  Our walk with the Lord provides delightful fresh, flowing water to help propel us down that stream.  The stream bed is full of boulders, logs, garbage, and sandbars.  When we do not walk with the Lord consistently the water level drops so that the obstacles stick up and strike our boat as we pass by, causing us trouble.  When we walk with God as we should – when we spend time knowing Him, and praising Him, and speaking to Him in prayer, and growing more like Him – our stream is full and flowing.  The obstacles are still there, but our walk with God lifts us over them and bears us through them so they do not hurt and damage us the same way.

By God’s grace let us take time each day to walk with our God and delight in Him.

Bibliography

Collier, Mardi. What Do I Know About My God? Greenville, SC:  JourneyForth, 2006.

Collins, Nell. To Glorify God.  Indianapolis:  Colonial Hills Baptist Church, 1999.

DeMoss, Nancy Leigh.  A Place of Quiet Rest Journal.  Chicago:  Moody Publishers, 2005.

DeMoss, Nancy Leigh.  A Place of Quiet Rest.  Chicago:  Moody Publishers, 2000.

DeMoss, Nancy Leigh. Seeking Him:  Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. Chicago:  Moody Publishers, 2004.

Pope, Janet. His Word in My Heart. Chicago:  Moody Publishers, 2002.

Ryle, J. C. “How Readest Thou?” Moscow, Idaho:  Charles Nolan Publishers, nd.

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How’s Your Prayer Life?

“How’s your prayer life?”  It was a simple question jotted in a note of encouragement from a sister in the Lord I barely know. She was eagerly sharing what God was teaching her through her church’s recent messages.

“How’s your prayer life?” A simple question yet it stuck with me and resonated in my thoughts for days after.  I had been renovating my prayer life lately, praying more specifically, more fervently, more for others, more consistently, more thoughtfully.  Yes, I was working on my prayer life but if I were to answer the question honestly I would have to say my prayer life needs work.

Sometimes God makes it clear that He’s trying to tell me something special through a convergence of events.  I’m not talking about a mystical, extra-biblical sort of special revelation, but rather a reinforcement of biblical truths and principles.

The first reminder came in our Sunday School course on Christian discipleship where we just finished the section on prayer.  Prayer is communication to God.  Check.  We pray to the Father in the name of our Savior, our Master.  Got that.  Our prayers should be biblical.  Understood.  Prayer is worshipping God for Who He is, not just a list of requests for things I want. Yep, supported in Scripture.  Prayer is our delight not merely a duty.  Hmmm.  I sometimes fall short on having that as my attitude.

The second came as I was reading in Psalms 99. The psalm recounts how Moses and Aaron and Samuel all called out to the Lord – they prayed.  Verses 6 and 8 tell us these men called out to the Lord and He answered them.  I was struck that at times I do not have faith to believe that God will answer me.  Maybe it’s fear that He won’t answer as I hope or expect or maybe I have somehow lost sight of how omnipotent, how omniscient, how sovereign He truly is.

The third was that pointed question, “How’s your prayer life?”  God spoke to my heart.  My prayer life needed improvement.

God was bringing these things to my attention to encourage me and help me grow in this area of prayer. I was reminded that God delights in fellowship with His children. I shouldn’t be surprised that the process of sanctification in my life includes working on my communication to my heavenly Father, even after all these years that I’ve been His child! I’m excited to be learning and growing in this vital area of my Christian life.

I hope your prayer life is vibrant and encouraging and full of wonderful answers to prayer.  So, to copy my encourager let me ask you, “How’s your prayer life?”

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