Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Power of Prayer

All right already! Gibee has already chewed me out for not getting this post up first thing this morning. I basically am piggy backing on her post from yesterday (go to April 4th), so if you want to start with hers (highly recommended) and get back to me, you will see why I am writing about prayer…

You’re back already? Good.

First let me state that I do not have my stuff together. After reviewing this post, it looks like I am a holier-than-thou type lady who trusts God without question. I am further from that than you can imagine. I am human and have weaknesses, too many to name. My faith is a rollercoaster ride, with highs and lows and a few loop-d-loops thrown in for fun. But I’ve found that it’s the loop-d-loops that makes me stronger.

I see that I am not alone in this department of prayer; I mean praying for the big stuff and the little stuff.

Big Stuff (to name a few)

When I was in college and I broke up with the guy I thought I would be with, I prayed and prayed that he would come to his senses and we would work out. A few months later, after same prayer, a friend (true friend indeed) out of the blue asked what I prayed for. I told her and she took my hand and said, “Shalee, you are praying for the wrong thing. You need to pray that God will send the right man to you. Not the one you have picked.” She prayed with me then and there. I continued the prayer with more and more emphasis on God handling it and my letting it go, and less than two months later, Mr. Right came into my life.

When Mr. Right was looking for a job, which has basically been the last 5 years Read this for one discussion on it. There were lots of “praying without ceasing” occasions during those times. But I know God was striving for me to learn dependence on Him. I found it easier and easier to trust that He would provide during those jobless times. My stress levels were basically trivial things like what am I going to make for dinner and will the laundry ever cease?

Not even a month after we bought our house, Mr. Right lost his job. We hadn’t even made our first payment! We prayed about it, a lot, and decided God would take care of it. We didn’t think He would let us have the house after so long of a wait and then pull it out from under us. And if He did decide to do so, we would still praise His name. That week, we got a call from our closer – we went to church with her- and she said that someone from church had called to pay our mortgage. She was basically apologizing for making that decision without asking us first. The anonymous donor did it again the next month. Isn’t that what being a Christian and being part of the Family is all about? Doing service for God without letting the right hand know what the left is doing? We were humbled by such generosity and outpouring of love.

When Mr. Right was diagnosed with malignant cancer moles, endless prayers were uttered. I had no surprise whatsoever when a month later the doctors called to say that the retesting of the moles showed no cancer in them. Yes, I do believe in miracles and in the power of prayer.

When we knew that we were not going to make our bills, we prayed for God to take care of it. We would get an unexpected refund or a large tax return. The money would just appear.

One Christmas (three years ago), we knew we had no money for presents for the kids. We were going to make the best of the situation, but it really bites when you know your seven and three year olds won’t have a big gift under the tree. (Tree was a freebie from a state park.) We came home from church one Sunday morning and someone had snuck into the apartment –really there was no sneaking, we left our door unlocked all the time- and there was a $200 gift certificate in the middle of the floor. No name, no explanation. Boy, did I cry then! I am right now just thinking about that gift.

I prayed hard for my marriage when I wanted to call it quits. (Mr. Right probably prayed even harder because he was the one wanting to make it change for the better and to work it out. Stupid, kind, loving man… He really went through hell to get me to change my mind because I can be very stupid and stubborn. NOT a good combination.) I learned to pray for wisdom, to open my eyes to the truth and to remove all obstacles in the way of my making good decisions. God was so faithful and quick to answer. It was a long process of finding love and acceptance again, but it was so worth the time, pain and effort. I know now what true love is. And God knew what He was doing all those years ago when I prayed for Him to find the right man for me.

Little stuff

I've prayed for me to find lost items, for me to remember my train of thought, for me to not lose it with the kids, to find a babysitter, to find the right words at the right time. I pray to make it through the long lights when late for work; I pray to make it safely home at night.

I pray for sleep almost every night. I am such a lousy sleeper. But when I do wake, I pray that God will tell me what He wants me to know so that time will be used wisely. I also pray that I will not be so jealous of my husband who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and sleep through nuclear war.

I've pray for my daughter to find a good Christian friend and for her to like herself the way she is. I pray that she will still want to be by me in the years to come.

I've prayed that my son will learn to obey the first time and that he will pick up on reading. I really pray that I will not beat him senseless and that I will have patience when he makes a mess in the bathroom… again. Read this to see why.

I pray about work, my boss and his life, my computer when it does strange and unusual things. I pray about reports, about finding a location for impromptu meetings and about my reputation when said meetings don’t go the way they should, like this one.

I pray that I’ll find the one missing item needed when making something (because you know, I am not smart enough to pull everything out first.) I pray that dinner turns out when trying something new. I thank God for giving me food in the first place and to change my attitude when I know I am going to have to eat something I do not like.

I prayed to like vegetables when I found out that my cholesterol was high. It worked. I like all sorts of veggies now, but still a big no on the Brussels sprouts.

I pray for firemen, EMTs and policemen when I hear a siren, to keep them safe. I pray for the victims or those in need of their services. I pray that others will get out of the way so that they can do their jobs.

I find that I pray about anything and everything, and it is not just things of today. Since I know God is faithful, I pray about the things that I cannot see will not come into fruition for a long time – like my children’s spouses and their families, retirement, my marriage as empty nesters, friends I still have yet to make and people that God will put before me so that I will learn something yet again. I pray to be a tool for God and to not be frightened by that thought.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will intercede for me and use the right words when I know my words don’t fully express what is in my heart. I pray that my heart will not be my own, especially when I find that I don’t want to give it to Him.

Long blog I know, but I’ll wrap it up by sharing my favorite saying:

"When you pray for potatoes, have a hoe in your hand."

I love that quote because not only are we to pray without ceasing, we are to expect an answer. And sometimes work and time will be involved in your answer. And more often than not, the potatoes you prayed for, turns out to be a big container of chocolate fudge ice cream instead.

My lesson for today? God is always faithful to His children, more so than we can ever imagine.

Oh, and never make a promise to Gibee – she’ll hold you to it.

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