Prayer That Impacts Our Perspective

When I was growing up, Mom or Dad usually said “the blessing,” a rote prayer, before supper. Sometimes Dad told one of my three brothers or me to say it. Being kids, we flew through it so we could eat. And then one day Dad instructed the four of us to each write multiple prayers that would become our suppertime prayers. “I want you to think about what you’re thankful to God for and write it into prayers,”

I still remember walking to my bedroom thinking, “I bet nobody else’s family does this.”  None of us had ever written a prayer before. But, we wrote them, and for weeks, we took turns and read one person’s written prayer each night at supper. Though I rolled my eyes the day Dad assigned this “task,” I enjoyed listening to my brothers’ prayers and sharing mine.

Over the years, I strayed significantly from Dad’s effort to lead us to thoughtfully thank God—until I began to read the Bible. Oh, sometimes I thanked Him for giving me something I was praying for or for helping me out of a hard situation—but that’s about it.

“I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Ps. 9:1)

When something wonderful happens in our life, we feel like being thankful. We tell others about the wonderful thing God did. However, read all of Psalm 9. The psalmist describes his current affliction and oppression. He recalls others’ long seasons of trial.

Yet, he trusts God. He recounts ALL of God’s wonderful deeds—not only his personal experiences of God’s goodness. The psalmist knows the testaments of God’s people who have lived before him.

“An those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.” (v. 10)

When I started reading the Bible, I began to get to know God. He writes His Word on our heart and gives us recall for His wonderful deeds that cover all of time.  Our view of Who God IS no longer is limited to our life experiences of Him. His Word shapes our view to include the testimonies of all His people.

The Old and New Testament reveal His steadfast love, faithfulness, and grace over generations, as His people walk through hardship, trouble, long waits, and great loss.

So how does this affect our gratitude?
Our heart swells with gratitude for who God IS.
Who God IS anchors our gratitude—not circumstances.

Whenever I read or hear someone’s words of brave gratitude toward God, I think, Wow, her trust in God is strong. God grows this strength in you and me— as we believe HIs Word and as we recognize Him moving throughout our day. . . Thank you, Lord, that you will lead me through this…that you see everything…that your plans are perfect…that you are with me right now…that I have eternity with you…

Yeah, being thankful is brave. We stare our troubles in the face and trust that our God is so much bigger.

Life can be really hard. Each of us face hardship, heartache, short and long seasons of discouragement. Sometimes when we don’t think we can endure one more thing, one more thing happens. The details of our stories vary, but the themes mirror those of generations of God’s people. The emotions and thoughts that wear us down and wreak havoc within are common to us. And God IS.

Especially in my hardest seasons, prayers of gratitude shift my perspective. When we thank God, we mark His goodness—in creation, in the generations before us, in the testimonies of our friends and strangers. We remember countless gifts we don’t deserve—a loved one, an ability, an experience, a miracle. We remember who God IS.

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people, it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.”  (2 Corinthians 4.15–16)

Perspective for Your Right-Now Season

get-attachment-2-aspx“They grow up so fast.”  Whenever someone said this to me, I paused for a second, thinking, I should probably appreciate her well-intended words.  But silently I reacted, Right now, it’s not going fast enough.  Days can be long.  Hard seasons feel endless.

Mothers on the other side of our current season look in their rear view mirror of motherhood, and the details of their former seasons blur.  They bear witness that children do grow up—and we grow with them.

From the best days to the hardest, God bonds our heart with each child’s heart.  He supplies all that we need even when we don’t ask.  Looking back even now, we can see much that God has done—in our child and in us.  We can mark his allowances and protection, his grace and mercy.  Gratitude swells for all that he has helped us do up to this point—things that we never imagined we could do.

cimg2805As time distances us from prior stages, we realize how short each really was.  On the larger canvas of life, each stage blends into the next.  Each brush stroke has purpose, for the child and for us.  Memories of hard experiences slowly fade as love covers all.

Treasure now.  Soak up what God has for your child and you now.  Don’t wish or worry it away.  They grow up so fast.

~ From Becoming A Peaceful Mom: Through Every Season of Raising Your Child

. . .  Thank You to all of you who have read or are reading Becoming A Peaceful Mom. I love receiving your emails as you make your way through and express what the Lord is doing in you or how you’re encouraged or how you’re challenged. I pray for you daily.

 . . . Thank you for recommending the book to your friends. I am blessed to be connected to those you hold dear.

. . . And thank you for using some of your precious time to write a review on Amazon, Christianbook.com, or Barnesandnoble.com. Moms want to hear what other moms (like you) have to say.

Passionate Pursuit {day 22} : Giving Thanks Before We Have the Outcome

IMG_0463One Sunday about 30 minutes before the worship service, 3 little girls walked over to me as I finished putting out name tags and pens.

“Can we help you?” Wishing I had even 1 small task, I admitted I was finished.
“But, I’m getting ready to sit over here and pray to Jesus for a little while. Would you like to pray with me? I’d really like that.”
With a shrug of their little shoulders and a nod, all 3 said, “Sure.”

Between you and me, on the inside I was surprised, thrilled and honored.

“Okay, I’m gonna pray for our church and the people. You can, too, or pray for anything you want to pray for.”

IMG_0462Sharing a bench in the back of the church, not a second passed before each one prayed a desire on her heart. Taking turns to hear each other, we prayed for almost 15 minutes. A few times I peeked, humbled by their serious faces and closed eyes.

Passion. They believe Jesus with a passion. At the ages of 5, 7 and 9.

The 5 year-old made an additional impression on my heart. Rhythmically kicking her feet back and forth, her every request began with “Thank you, God”.
“Thank you, God, please heal my sister.”
“Thank you, God, please help the man walking down the road.”
“Thank you, God, please bring all the people.”

I won’t soon forget that precious 15 minutes.

These littlest disciples reminded me:  Remember Who I’m praying to.  Believe Who He is. With faith, thank God.  He always gives us His best.