Tag Archive | importance of prayer

He Waits for You to Pray

In times of man’s Earthly affairs,
When grief arrives with its ill will,
We can only offer our heartfelt prayers,
That God hears when offered in sincerity.

He throws open His storehouses wide,
Raining down His perfect answers,
It’s through His Power He truly provides,
All His love and blessings besides.

Prayer may seem the least to do,
But make no mistake my friends,
God answers prayers prayed by you,
When your friends or family has need.

It matters not if the prayer is eloquent,
Or words straight from your heart,
What matters is the development,
When you say, “I’ll pray for you”!

God has answers stored up for each one,
He’s waiting to be asked to be involved,
In circumstances of each daughter, son,
So pray, my friends, pray on and on.
             dfav 9/6/16

—Donna

Be Prayed Up

Nearby in our small town a middle-aged woman reaches for her cell phone. Outside her husband, Jeff, of nearly 30 years is tinkering around with the motor of their sons Camaro, a father-son rebuilding project that the son has little interest in beyond having a super drive when he finally gets his license. His father is already angry this morning and the shouts had flung themselves around the kitchen table until Jeff had slammed out of the house. Upstairs their nearly sixteen-year-old son is laughing with his friend as the sounds of a movie echo in the background. Her name is Katy* and she’s spent the last 30 years taking care of her men. Her husband, four sons and her, their family.

Katy’s eyes sweep over the portraits hanging on the wall and the framed photographs on the bookshelves and mantel. Visual memories of their lives together. Bryan, Mark and Ted’s high school graduation pictures, Mark and Ted’s college graduation, Bryan and Ted’s weddings, Colton, Little Bryan, and Cari her grandchildren. There are candid shots of Christmas’, birthdays and Easter egg hunts and those once in a lifetime moments you manage to capture on film. Jeff and she have weathered life storms pretty well on their own, Katy tells herself. Then immediately questions her thought, “Haven’t we?”

They had managed to raise three grown sons and the last one, Kevin, was fast approaching the day he too would fly from the nest. Katy knew deep down she hadn’t made it easy for either of her older sons to find a life on their own outside these walls. They were her boys and she didn’t want to see them make mistakes nor did Jeff. Despite their need to try and control their son’s lives they all managed to still stay intact as a family. Wearily Katy admitted the battles had taken more of her strength than she would acknowledge, Jeff already thought she was too “teary” as it was, it wouldn’t do for him to suddenly come and find her weeping or not busy. From the earliest days of their marriage Katy remembered the lessons of how Jeff expected marriage to go and she heeded them. Though his rigidness chaffed at her sometimes Katy didn’t often rock the boat, the price was too high and she never really won.

Her hand stills on the cell phone and then passes over it to pick up the hand towel she’d used to dry the kitchen counter, her eyes checking off all the tasks of readying the kitchen for the next meal prep so nothing was left undone before she took the towel to the laundry room and started a load of laundry. Despite her resolve to keep the questions and longings at bay Katy felt the tears pressing against her eyeballs begging for release. Her thoughts seemed to seep from the box she had crammed them. Into the turmoil of her heart a voice called to her. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 KJV)

How long had it been since she’d really prayed? Oh, sure when she saw prayer requests for children hospitalized for awful diseases and from accidents she asked God to intervene, to heal them. But she hadn’t prayed, really prayed for such a long time. Jeff said religion was a crutch of the weak and although she’d been raised in a strict Christian home she’d willingly left behind that part of her life to marry Jeff. Jeff had been the one to love her, he’d seen someone beautiful beneath the extra pounds she’d carried then and thanks to him she had not been heavyset the last 30 years. They had observed the holidays with joy and laughter and large family feasts attended by both sides of their families. Unbidden the memories of Jeff and his four brothers red-faced and drunk reeling through the house, shouting, fighting with one another until either the wives managed to calm them or they tore away vowing never to talk to either brother again causing family squabbles until a crisis brought them together again.

Now Katy knew Bryan and Ted were struggling to be different fathers to their own children and she wasn’t entirely sure what that meant. Bryan and Beth were “Jesus freaks” as Jeff often said when they came late to family gatherings after going to church for worship or activities. Ted was beside himself with fear that Cari would date or marry a man like he had been raised to be before he’d understood there was another way. Mark seemed the most likely to follow fully in his father’s footsteps although he didn’t get loud or talkative like his father and uncles did when they were intoxicated, he withdrew into himself. Anger seethed in him and radiated off of him like red waves of heat. She feared the secret she’d harbored for years that her husband often drank too much seemed to crystalize in their son.

Upstairs she heard the sounds of the new video game Jeff had allowed Keith to buy last night. One filled with violence and the sounds of its battles had disturbed her sleep long into the small hours of the morning, her protests weak and unheard.

Though Katy had done her best to steer the ships of her son’s lives she was suddenly shockingly aware of how little control she had ever really had. They were long passed the days when a skinned knee was reason to run and find Mommy to “fix the boo-boo”. In fact, Katy realized, they didn’t need her near as much as she’d like for them too and her conscience spoke to her of how the distance between her daughters-in-law and herself was her own fault. She had been, all too often, the dreaded mother-in-law portrayed in movies. Katy just wasn’t sure how she’d gotten here. Wasn’t sure where the last 30 plus years had gone.

Again came that voice, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Then without allowing herself to think anymore she hurried back to the kitchen and picked up her cell phone. Keeping her eyes focused on Jeff beneath the hood of Keith’s car she listened to the phone ringing at the number she’d called. When the voice came on the line Katy wasted no time in making her request. “Can I come to church with you this morning?”

The first text came from Beth to her mother at 10:02 vibrating her cell phone in her purse. When Beth’s mother read it she immediately added to the prayer requests being shared in their Sunday School class. Several other women joined Beth’s mother in texting or messaging the prayer groups they belonged too, unsure how many would see a prayer request at a time most would be in church but recognizing the need for prayer and feeling an urgency for intervention for this woman none of them but Beth’s mother even knew. By the time Katy and Beth slipped into the pew that morning and her eyes swept the choir loft for Bryan, asking where Little Bryan and Colton were over one hundred people were praying for her.

One of those people was me, I received my text at 10:41 and after texting and messaging my own prayer group I fought to think through the haze the medication I’d taken to ease the severe pain in my amputation. I knew I had to write this prayer if it was to be coherent. Thankfully my prayer journal was close as I’d prayed just before taking my medication. Around me on the bed were scattered my sketchpad, pencils, Bible and stacks of books, before the medication had claimed me for sleep I had been trying to work on a blog. This prayer request wasn’t a “when you pray” type request it was NOW request. Every second felt like ten minutes, and I unearthed my prayer journal but the pen wasn’t attached! So then I had to find another pen or that one and the delay seemed to take forever, although in reality only seven minutes had passed since I received my text to pray and the time I put pen to paper. But how many of those minutes had been wasted?

I was grateful for not only the opportunity to pray for this woman who was in need on this Sunday morning. I was disappointed it took me so long to respond to the request with actual prayer though. Bottom line is I should have been prepared to pray quicker. My prayer journal and Bible should have been within arm’s reach in their designated place.

Yes, there were lessons for me in Katy’s needs this morning. The lesson on preparation was clear. Clearly I need to focus on praying without writing them more often for sometimes the call to pray will come in places my prayer journal doesn’t accompany me…a trip to Wal-Mart or the doctor’s office for example.

In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul is telling Timothy to, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” the advice to be prepared is surely applicable when it comes to prayer. We must”…be prepared in season and out of season…” for prayer.

I’ve often heard it said, “You must stay prayed up!” Meaning we have to maintain an ongoing relationship with God that includes (and I don’t know if you could even have a true relationship with anyone, much less God if you don’t) communication. For Christians this communication is prayer. Active, daily, sometimes minute by minute prayer. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonians in chapter 5 verses 16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

That requires an attitude of prayer, of being aware of and acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit ALL THE TIME. Every minute of every day and night because as Believers we are called to surrender all to Him. We must be prepared.

Yet in the pew of a local church congregation, as Katy stills her heart’s pounding as she sits beside her daughter-in-law and continues to fight the tears begging to be cried she is lifted up in the prayers of over a hundred people, some from those occupying the seats near her although they don’t know it’s her they are praying for. They are praying for her because they are prepared, nothing between themselves and God to prevent their prayers from being heard. And the Son Himself intercedes for Katy at the request of dozens and dozens of Believers.

There is the beginning of the opening of the secret chambers where Katy has kept her hurts, troubles and disappointments. There is the quiet knowledge that God is where her answers lay. But there is much to be overcome, both within her and around her. Katy will cry her tears in private but there among those gathered to worship and pray Katy offers a simple prayer of her own, the first for years that is a genuine cry of her lonely heart, “I am here.”

Praying,

-Faye

*Names changed to protect privacy. I am privileged to know the circumstances and events of this Sunday morning although accurately represented they have been altered to protect the identity of the actual people involved. But join with me in prayer for this woman and her family who have such a need for God in their lives. Join with me also to focus on being prepared to pray at all times and in all circumstances.

A Poem/Prayer Blog This Morning

No regular blog this morning,
I’ve been so long in prayer
Not seeking fame or fortune
But truth and solace there.
Many needs for many folks
Are recorded in my book
I couldn’t write a real quick prayer
These deserved a deeper look.
For some stand in need of healing
For spirit, body, soul and mind
Others needs are quite different
Special intercession they must find.
One father in need of salvation
One father whose temper needs control
A daughter faces breast cancer again
A mother witnesses this battle foe
My daughter has some issues
My friends have needs I do not know,
Yes the prayer list was quite lengthy
For which I praise the Lord
Was time well spent with Jesus
On behalf of His children He adores.

Prayers for you!
-Faye

Pouring Out – Part 2

Samuel King stood 6’4 in his worn jeans, long-sleeved dark blue work shirt with his long weathered face crowned by a greasy black hair comb over, eyes as black as his hair and his 283 pounds was solid from years of manual labor.  His feet were planted a foot apart shod in cowboy boots caked in so much grease, mud and red Georgia clay that the color was hard pressed to be named.  He towered like an angry thundercloud in the front counter area of McDonald’s, totally out-of-place among the bright yellow, white and red decor.  Sam didn’t care.  He didn’t care that he didn’t fit in, he didn’t care that people were moving as far away from him as he could and he didn’t care that the 21-year-old red-haired frail looking manager was telling him that he had to leave.

“Shut up, I ain’t leavin’ ‘til Becca gits on home.”  The man shouted, blasting spittle on the managers head.

Kevin Engle was the youngest manager McDonald’s had in this restaurant and he was frantically wishing one of the other managers was on duty instead of him.  He was rightfully frightened by Sam King and suddenly aware of why Rebecca King worried when he switched her shifts or had her work late.  She had tried to explain that her father was difficult and didn’t understand she couldn’t always get off right on time or had to work a different shift than expected.  Kevin remembered her request to use the phone one more time during the last hour of her delayed departure and his own refusal to allow her.  Well, tomorrow, Kevin decided, tomorrow Rebecca’s difficult father wouldn’t be his issue anymore because he had all intentions of letting her go.

“Sir, you can’t act…” but that was as far as Kevin’s quaking voice got as tried to regain some of his authority.  Sam’s large baseball size hand reached out from the end of his leg sized arm, seized Kevin by the collar of his uniform and tossed him aside.  Before anyone could react he had swept over the front counter, uncaring of the displays he knocked down and landed beside the terrified cashiers.  “Becca!  Becca you best be gittin on out here girl ‘cause when I find you you are in for one more whoppin’!”

Kevin recovered enough to scramble to his feet and he shot out of the restaurant with a speed the coach would have admired as he ran for the fire station less than a football field away.  When he burst into the bay, panting and panicked the firemen had a hard time understanding what Kevin’s emergency was but once they heard the name of Sam King they knew it was trouble.  One of them called the police while three others went back with Kevin to McDonald’s.  Maybe they could calm Sam down although not one of them believed it possible.

Hanging back Kevin let the firemen go in first, feeling braver standing behind them than in the lead.  The customers had cleared out and so had the employees except for the ones Sam had either pushed down or knocked out.  One was laid out visible just beneath the swinging gate leading to the back of the counters, another midway down the aisle at the grill.  Sam could be heard still calling and threatening his daughter somewhere in the back, his curses loud and ugly.

One of the firemen used his walkie-talkie to request for paramedics and the other two went to help the victims.  Leaving the walkie-talkie fireman to also deal with Sam.  “Anything back there like a gun or knives?” he asked Kevin.

Kevin’s negative response helped the fireman quickly decide to wait for the police unless Sam became a threat to someone instead of property.  Already in the distance police sirens were heard.

Sam King slammed out of the McDonald’s back door and walked right into the path of Officer Macon who had his gun out and aimed.  He was subdued after only a little resistance and handcuffed before being left in the back of the patrol car.  His anger seethed within him and he added the weight of the last half hour’s events into Becca’s account.  Although some might think him to be illiterate he was shrewd.  He knew he could not afford to allow anger to pour from him now, he would wait until he had Becca in hand before venting that, but it was hard to pull himself back into control.

Twenty minutes later on the way to the police station Sam remembered that his wife was responsible for taking Becca to and from work today and he had the impression Martha had told him something about needing to stop at her mother’s to help her with something or the other.  That meant the reason Becca wasn’t home yet was because her mother had made that extra stop.  That was okay, Sam reasoned, then they would both pay.  They would both pay dearly.

To be continued…

Follow Your Heart? Follow Your Mind? Follow Your Faith?

On the surface it seems like the best advice to tell someone making a big decision in their life.  One suffering in grief.  One anxious over a job situation.  One in the midst of their first attraction to a member of the opposite gender.  One fearful of how decisions today will effect tomorrow.  So we say, “Just follow your heart!”

I’m old enough to have learned a few things and one is that the heart is filled with feelings and feelings can be deceiving.  I’ve also come to understand that as a Christian faith is not always logical.  This means I’ve learned one more thing, to seek the answers in the place I know the answers are honest and steadfast – the Word of God.

My NIV dictionary tells me that the heart (for modern usage) is the seat of the affections (Gen. 18:5; Ps 62:10) and the seat of the intellect (Gen 6:5) and of the will (Ps 119:2).  According to  Genesis 6:6 it also signifies the innermost being.  The word heart is used over 900 times in the Word, almost never literally with the exception of Exodus 28:29.

As Christians we encourage and seek people to “let Jesus come into their heart”.  We use the analogy that Jesus is knocking on their hearts door waiting to come in.  Faith, we know, often defies logic – for that is the wonderful and freeing part of faith.  And of the 900 plus references to the heart in scripture I found:

  • Mans heart has got him in trouble (or her) since before Noah.  Genesis 6:5-6 “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” (NIV)
  • Deuteronomy 4:29 reads, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
  • The Lord doesn’t look at how we look outwardly but at the person we are on the inside in our hearts. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:29)
  • Proverbs is rich in instruction about the heart including 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
  • Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 and in 15:18 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things make a man unclean.” as well in 22: 37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

As believers in Jesus we can’t “just follow our hearts” alone for clearly a heart out of sync with God is going to lead us to decisions that are outside of His will.  To keep a heart capable of knowing and acting upon the word of God we must fill it with the same.  That means not merely giving lip service to Him but having a RELATIONSHIP with Hm and yielding to His guidance.  We also can’t approach our faith life from an intellectual viewpoint alone either.

Faith defies logic.  Faith says wait when our hearts say go.  Faith holds on in the storm when our hearts seek the first possible refuge whether it is of God or not.  Faith is walking the other road when society walks another.  Sometimes our faith conflicts with our heart and it is those times we must cling to our faith-based on what our heart knows and not on what our minds tell us.

I’ve gone through such a faith crisis many times and I once wrote, “Faith is walking into the largest, darkest room with your fear because you know there is a light on the ceiling and a switch on the wall.  But I got 1/2 way across the room and simply can’t go any further.  It’s not the absence of God it is the absence of me.”

Had I listened merely to my heart’s emotions I would have given up.  Had I listened to logical thinking I would have given up.  But in listening with faith in my heart entwined with God I found myself belly crawling across that dark room until I reached the wall and though I floundered, God guided my fingers to the light switch.

To each of those who stumble through a faith crisis I urge them to not stop seeking God’s answer in His Word.  I remind them that God can handle our questions and our doubts.

What about you?  Where does your heart and your faith meet?

A Prayer

Hand ReachingAbba Father:

You are Holy and I praise Your name.

You are the I Am and I worship You for who You are.

You are the Shepherd and I seek You.

You are Abba Father and I need You.

You are the Author of our lives and the Creator of all that is good on earth and in Heaven and I long for You.

Allow me to humble myself in Your presence and praise You as one of Your children.  Grant me audience that You may speak to me, guide me, instruct me so my life is an honor and glory to You, Your power and Your might.

There are so many reasons to seek You Abba Father.  Prayer requests come from all sides every hour and second of our days.  Needs are great, evil is rampant but our hope and our help are in You.

Accept this prayer on behalf of those who are mourning the loss of fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, children and friends.  Comfort their hearts.  If they know You, if they have a personal relationship with You, draw them to You, cover them with Your wings and hold them in their sorrow.  Strengthen them in their pain.  Guide them through their valley.  If they don’t know You, if it is You they need most of all, then I pray that somehow, someway, someone will be Your instrument to show those mourning of an opportunity to know You as their God, their Creator, their Abba, and their Savior.

Hear this prayer on behalf of those struggling in pain, discomfort and even life and death in hospitals, homes, shelters and life’s pathways around the world.  Comfort them.  Heal them Lord in the way You find fit.  Impart to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and all the hosts of other medical staff the knowledge You have allowed mankind to know so that it can be used to help these children of Yours in physical pain.  Soothe their fragmented emotions.  Calm their fears.  Intervene Father with miraculous healings if that is Your will.  And for those Father for who this is a time to come face to face with the end of their lives, wrap them in Your embrace, show to them Your love and mercy and guide them home.  For any Lord who are facing these moments whose relationship with You is non-existent or broken, I plea with You to have final mercies and give them one more chance before their souls leave this earth, this life and face eternity with their choice.

Father I call upon You to help us be better stewards of all You have given us.  Whether we are blessed with little or much Abba Father help us use our allotment to honor You.  Where there are needs in personal and family finances God I call upon You to be for us the God who provides.  Where needs exist in Your work, whether that be local ministries or foreign missions, across lines of denominations, race, gender, economic status or anything else, grant us the privilege of being Your hands to provide with, where You are working to woo people to You please allow us some way of helping, of being used for Your glory.  Grant us the opportunity and the wisdom to seize those opportunities to further Your kingdom.

Abba I pray for my country.  For the United States of America I plea.  Open our eyes Lord to the selfish and self-serving nation we have become.  Cleanse us of self-appointed pet projects and return us to the One upon who our country was founded, was blessed by and who waits for us as one people to call upon Your name.  Our leaders God who know You, who try to walk with You and in the ways You would have them walk I plea for their strength, I plea for their endurance, I plea that their voices will be heard in a din of noise that creates chaos and discontent.  For our leaders who are not Your servants, who lead us or try to lead us, in ways that bring dishonor to You, that shame us before You I pray Lord that these leaders will come face to face with the reality of Your existence and fall prostrate before You.  Raise up in our country Christian men and women to lead us.  Call upon all Your children to pray for our country, for our leaders and dear Jesus, to pray that the decline of our morality be slowed and even halted.

Abba Father lift me beyond myself, above my circumstances, out of my situations into Your ways, Your paths, Your presence.  I am Your child and You are my God and help me cling to these facts in this world that seems to have gone mad.  Grant to my sisters and brothers in Christ the same.  Collect us together so that we might draw strength from You and one another.  Gather us from the far corners of this world under Your arm and hold us in the night and daytime hours of our fears, our needs and our work.

Amen

Another Woman’s Child-Part 3

(From AWC-Part 2)  “However it came to be, they wouldn’t be seeking a solution in a doctor’s office this they both knew for sure.”

It had been spring when Sarah and Kevin received the news that infertility treatments were not an option for them when it came to having a child.  Sarah had held to a promise she was sure God had given her that she and Kevin would be parents, but not biologically.  They logically turned to the idea of adoption and had spent the summer and fall months researching adoption.  Before anything had become concrete in their minds though the Christmas holidays were fast approaching.

Sarah found it to be particularly difficult to sing the hymns and Christmas songs about a baby Jesus and His mother Mary.  In her heart she’d believed that this particular Christmas she would be carrying their child.  It hurt to put up the decorations when she’d had visions of doing so around a rounded tummy.  She tried to cling to the promise she had felt God had given her and she tried to not let Kevin know how dark her thoughts were becoming.  Doing so meant she spent a great deal of time praying.

She prayed as she shopped, as she decorated, as she wrapped gifts, as she cooked meals, laid awake at night, woke each morning and even as she showered.  “Please Lord; please help me keep the faith.”

Kevin too was praying.  He knew, though Sarah tried hard to hide it, how hard the holiday was for her.  It was hard for him too.

Both had been surprised at the number of adoption agencies, for-profit and not-for-profit ones.  Both had been stunned at the number of children in the United States who were waiting to be adopted.  Sarah and Kevin’s hearts wept for many of the children they read about on websites.  Sarah was repeatedly drawn to a sibling group of six whose parents had died in a house fire caused from their manufacturing crack cocaine in their homes’ basement.  The children ranged in age from 4 to 14 and as Sarah studied their photograph she saw the weariness in their eyes.

The oldest, a girl who was dressed much like a boy, had a defiant look on her face that chilled Sarah to the bone and made her wonder what that 14 year old was feeling.  As much as this sibling group called to them Sarah knew taking on six children at one time with such an age range and in a house that didn’t have room was not God’s will.  There was no point in getting the children’s hopes up knowing the local Department of Children’s Services would not approve them for six children.

Christmas was a week away and Kevin asked Sarah to sit with him by their tree one night after dinner.  He’d turned the tree lights on and lit the candles she’d placed around the room, turning off the overhead lights.  They sat on their sofa enjoying the quiet of the moment.  Kevin spoke first.

“I’ve really been praying a lot more about God leading us to the right child in the right way to adopt Sarah and I know you have too.”

She sighed, “Yes, but mostly I’ve been praying He’d help me keep my faith in Him and the promise He made me.”  She paused then continued, “And I have to admit there is one issue I can’t get beyond Kevin.”

“What?”  He was surprised.

“What if I can’t love another woman’s child Kevin?  No matter which child God brings into our lives?” Sarah confessed her fear.

“Sarah honey, you have a mother’s heart already.  Of course you can love another person’s child!  Where did this come from all of a sudden?”

“I was looking at that website with that sibling group of six on it and remembering what their caseworker said about how their parents died.  Kevin, their parents were dopers.  They used drugs and they made drugs to sell.  They endangered the lives of their children by starting that fire that killed them.  Why do you think the oldest has that hard look on her face?  What do you think those kids have seen?  Experienced?  It won’t be easy to love kids like that.”  The look on Sarah’s face was one of panic.

Kevin nodded slowly and interjected, “We haven’t even discussed adopting that sibling group seriously Sarah.  And they can’t help who their parents were or what their parents did, kids like them and others need forever families in more ways than we can begin to name.”

“Yes, I know,” Sarah said, tears rolling down her cheeks, “but Kevin there won’t be a bit of either of us in a child we adopt.  Not a bit of our blood or a bit of our flesh.  Biologically no child we adopt will ever be ours.”

“You’re right but we know a bunch of people who have been adopted and it makes no difference to their Father.”  Kevin smiled.

“Yes, but I’m not God…I’m not sure I can do this Kevin but I don’t see any other way we can become parents.”

“Let’s pray now Sarah, together.  God is going to open this door.  I just know it.” Kevin said, reaching for her hand.  Together they bowed their heads to pray.

Across town another group of people were praying too.  They were praying about how to help Kevin and Sarah.

Another Woman’s Child-Part 2

(From AWC-Part 1)  “…He knew she was praying.  He just didn’t know how her prayers were about to change their lives.”

(AWC-Part 2) Sarai was unable to bare children for Abram.  As Sarah read her story in Genesis she knew how Sarai must have felt.  Most women long to give birth to a child, a bit of their husband, a bit of themselves, a bit of their families all blended together into a whole new human being who would grow and develop their own personality, their own unique self.  Sarai must have felt a great deal of pressure for clearly she didn’t trust God to fulfill His promise to Abram through the birth of a biological child with herself; in fact, she blamed God for her barrenness.  In her human understanding, she had tried to help matters along a bit by insisting Abram take her maidservant and have a child with her which Sarai would raise as her own.  It was not an uncommon  practice in that day and time.

Only once Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s child Hagar began to despise Sarai and she complained to Abram who told her that Hagar was her servant to do with as she pleased.  Sarai mistreated Hagar to the point Hagar ran away.  Sarah, as she sat reading this story in her Bible, knew that would be her temptation if she and Kevin had decided to ask someone to carry their child for them.  For her, seeing another woman pregnant with Kevin’s baby would be painful and the fear that the woman would not follow through with any promises or contracts and made this avenue seem terribly risky and terribly wrong.  As Sarah read the rest of the account of Sarai who was renamed Sarah by God and Abram who was renamed Abraham and Isaac who was eventually born to them in their extreme old age she felt within her spirit God would not be giving Kevin and her such a miracle.

Not like Sarah and Abraham, Rebekah and Isaac, Rachel and Jacob, Hannah and Elkanah, or Elizabeth and Zechariah.  Sarah knew in her heart God was telling her there was a way for her and Kevin to have a family but it would not be by opening her womb.  She placed her hand on her flat stomach and it felt so empty, her heart felt hollow and she wasn’t sure she could bear the emptiness.   With a clarity that hurt so badly it felt as if actual knives were cutting up her insides Sarah remembered the miscarriages, three in all and she wept again for those precious babies she and Kevin would never know here on this side of eternity.

As she wept she felt God’s arms around her and she heard His voice assuring her He would make a way for her to be a mother, for Kevin to be a parent.  He would do so, not by means of medical technology but by a way that would bring Him glory and honor.  A way that would meet not just Sarah and Kevin’s needs but the needs of the children as well.

By the time Kevin had showered and dressed Sarah was downstairs cooking their breakfast.  When Kevin reached for her hand to say grace before they ate Sarah held on just a little longer, looked him in the eyes and he was startled to see her smile, that it wasn’t just a smile she plastered on her face to help him feel better but a smile coming from her heart, lighting up her face, shining from her eyes.   That and the words she said next actually caused his breath to catch.

“Kevin, God has promised me we will be parents.  He didn’t tell me how or when just that He was going to make a way.”  Sarah released his hand and her smile broke into giggles at the look on Kevin’s face, “Ah sweetheart, I’ve not gone around the bend, He is just asking us to have faith in Him.”

Kevin nodded and felt his own spirit relax within him.  He’d have to make this as serious a cause for prayer as Sarah, Kevin knew that, but he also knew God had nudged his heart yesterday when they had left the doctor’s office with Dr. Moran’s news weighing on them like the world’s troubles.  However it came to be, they wouldn’t be seeking a solution in a doctor’s office this they both knew for sure.

To be continued,,,,

Another Woman’s Child-Part 1

The tears in his wife’s eyes, rolling down her face and falling unheeded onto her blazer made Kevin twisted him with guilt. He gripped her hand more tightly, fumbling with the key fob, silent in his fear. Internally he thought only how this was his fault.

“Kevin I just really feel God leading us to trust Him to provide and not to go through infertility treatments again of any kind.” Sarah had said.

“Honey trusting God to provide food, a job, or clothes is one thing, but last time I checked He didn’t walk around handing out babies.”

“Try telling Abraham and Sarah or Jacob and Rachel that Kevin.”

“That was Old Testament times. These are modern times,” he countered back picking up his mug-to-go and heading out the front door, “God uses modern science and medicine to work His miracles now.” He paused. “Just one more time? For me? Please?”

Sarah had agreed to appease him and look where this had led them, another disappointment. A door slamming shut in their faces. Sarah must hate him.

Dr. Moran had been gentle in his news. But his word seemed so final. “Infertility treatments will not solve your problem in conceiving.”

“You’re not the only infertility specialist, we can get a second opinion.” Kevin announced.

It was Sarah who ended the conversation when she reminded Kevin, “Honey, I told you God has told me we need to wait for Him to move.” Sarah’s voice had been laced with unshed tears but it had also carried an undertone that clearly conveyed she was serious. She hadn’t uttered a single word since they’d left Dr. Moran’s office.

Safely in the car Sarah reached over and stopped him from starting the engine by putting her hand on his and Kevin looked up at her slowly. His heart shattered when he saw the pain in his wife’s emerald green eyes. “Ah honey I am so sorry I made you do this…” he brushed her copper hued curls away from her face.

“You didn’t make me Kevin. I wanted one last chance too. I knew God was telling me no, to wait for His timing, but I didn’t listen well enough. You can’t blame yourself. No one is at fault. This just is, even though it seems unfair and unkind, it just is.” Tears still ran down her face.

Kevin felt relieved. She didn’t hate him. She didn’t want to leave him. She didn’t blame him. Kevin breathed a prayer of gratitude.

“Let’s go home.” Kevin suggested and Sarah nodded her agreement.

Neither felt much like conversation or supper, they barely nibbled at the pizza they had delivered, and turned in early. Kevin held Sarah as her tears soaked his tee-shirt as he cradled her to his chest. Gradually they both slept.

Kevin sat up wearily when the alarm sounded at six o’clock the next morning. Startled he noticed Sarah wasn’t asleep beside him. Looking up he saw her on the window seat, wrapped in a blanket with her Bible open. She was obviously praying.

“Well,” Kevin thought, “I tried to make things happen in the way I wanted. Maybe I need to let Sarah and God have it their way.”

He just didn’t know how her prayers were about to change
their lives.

I Was Afraid to Pray

At the beginning of this month I found myself back in the hospital in an ICU room with yet more life threatening blood clots.  Gratefully, though initially they believed I was also having congestive heart failure, they had been wrong.  I spent six days in ICU and another day and a half in a regular room before I got to go home.  However, I brought a physical reminder of this hospital stay for I am again on oxygen so the familiar sounds of the concentrator are ever present in our room.  The next day a woman delivered me a C-Pap machine to use at night for they believe I have sleep apnea.

There were three blood clots, one in my lungs, one in my liver and one in what is left of my amputated leg.  My survival was again a miracle as the clot that had gone through my heart to my lungs was large enough it should have killed me.  This was the third time for that to happen.

I prayed in the hospital although I found myself deeply depressed.  Recovery has been slower than usual for me and that has added to my sorrow and my grief.  In many ways I am having to learn how to do things without both legs all over again for the amputation is so painful I can’t manage the way I did just a month ago.  Blackness seemed to swallow me that I had no strength to fight.  Though I knew people were praying for me I felt alone and abandoned.  God seemed like a shadow of what was in my heart; I could see Him at times if I looked up at just the right time.  I knew He was there.  He would never forsake me.  But I was afraid to talk to Him.  I was afraid of what He’d guide me to do.

So I asked others to pray for me and their prayers lifted my darkness enough that I found myself seeking solace in the Word this morning and in prayer.  I confess I do not yet have an answer to what the next step in my life should be.  I confess that I can’t bear the answer yet.

I am a woman who has worked at some type of job since I was in high school.  Most of the time I love my job and I’ve fought hard to keep working even after the amputation and when many people thought I was crazy to put myself through what I had to do to keep working.  God’s grace has allowed me to recover from a dozen life threatening episodes in the last ten years and to return every time to the office.  What I do is a large part of how I identify myself.  My job helps me feel successful and really good at something that has a hand in helping people who are hurting.  It helps me feel productive and part of the world.  I believe God intended for mankind to work from the very beginning when He told Adam to take care of the Garden of Eden.

Yet now I must face the reality that in pushing myself to keep working I may be damaging my body further.  Certainly the stress of the last year contributed to my recent hospitalization, especially the last two weeks in September.  More than one doctor has suggested it’s time to apply for disability and leave the work force.

Frankly, I am afraid of God’s answer so praying about it has been hard.  But this morning I did.  God lead me to Jeremiah 29 and though parts of Jeremiah are very familiar to me I found new solace there this morning.

Where God is leading me I don’t know just yet, or maybe I just can’t hear His answer just yet, but regardless of which it is I know for certain that God has not forsaken me, God has a plan for me.  I must seek Him with all my heart and open myself to Him completely to know the direction He is sending me.

Yesterday I was afraid to pray.  Tonight I can still taste the sweetness of the Word that I devoured this morning.

If you’ve ever been afraid to pray, afraid of the answer God might give you there is no shame in that – God is big enough to be able to handle your fears and your honesty.  It is a fear you must face for you must not allow that fear to triumph over you when God is waiting for you to call upon Him.

“Abba Father, Praise and glory to Your Holy name.  Before You I kneel in spirit and seek Your audience.  Accept my praise of Your Mightiness and Glory.  Forgive my sins of fear that have kept me from You.  I plea for Your Mercy and Grace, open my heart to You Abba Father so You can guide me in the way I need to go now.  Help me not fear the answer but embrace the possibilities whichever way You lead me to go.  I love You Lord and I praise You as the Author and Creator of my life, of all life, of all that is good, right and Holy.  Thank You Abba Father. Amen.”