I Guess I’ll Just Pray

“I wish I could do something to help.”
“I’ll just pray . . .”

Have you ever felt frustrated that you can’t do more for someone or that you’re not doing enough? Maybe you can tell that someone is in pain—at your workplace, across the aisle in the grocery store, or living in your home—yet you struggle with how or whether to engage. I have; maybe you have, too.

We want to help, to do, to say something helpful or comforting, to fix. These are fine and often helpful responses. Yet sometimes we miss beautiful opportunities to partner with God, as we think on what we can do or say. Our greatest response or engagement toward a person generates from the stir of God’s Holy Spirit in us. We don’t “just pray.” We exercise a privilege to go to Almighty God on someone else’s behalf because we believe that he listens and that he always responds with his best in his perfect timing.

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.” (Psalm 141.2a) The psalmist David knew that prayer honors God. “And when he (Jesus) had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Revelation 5.8)

Express your heart to God—plain and simple, humble. Our earnest words are incense to our Father who wants intimacy with his children and enjoys the pleasure of our coming to him. Continue to offer your heart’s words, over and over again . . . unless or until he stirs your heart to modify it. God doesn’t need us to pray, in order for anything good to happen. We need God and thus, we need to talk to the One we need.

I could and want to pray more. Perhaps, the same is true for you. So why don’t we? I can share one personal, powerful insight I experienced recently—We forget how AWESOME PRAYER is.

A few weeks ago, a group of pastors’ wives gathered to pray. I knew I had to slip out after a few minutes in order to get to the airport. When I quietly stood, a friend whom I’d only met twice looked up, “Let’s pray for Teresa before she leaves.” Everyone stood, surrounded me, and prayed. I was humbled and awed. They are weary, too, yet they gave as conduits of the message and power of God. I hardly know some of them, but they are my sisters in Christ. They loved me with their words to our Lord, and he refreshed and strengthened me. . . . just pray? What could have meant more?

I spent the rest of that week with packers as they boxed our belongings for our move to South Carolina. Occasionally, one of the packers named Patricia asked me questions, “How long did you live in Houston? How old are your children?” So I did the same. Then she told me about her mom. As she shared, I was surprised by the reaction in my heart. I felt pain, even grief, for what her mother had experienced. I took a deep breath, “May I pray for your mother?” She looked shocked and almost whispered, “Yes.” When the first word left my mouth, I began to weep. I tried to stop but couldn’t, so I kept praying. When I finished, I looked at her and smiled through my tears (yes, I felt a little weird), “I will continue to pray for Sylvia.” . . . just pray? God swelled my heart with his love, and I trust that he holds Sylvia’s.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4.18)

Dear God, Thank you for your love for us. Help us learn from you how to more often exercise our privilege to pray. Grow us to recognize your prompts, so that joy fills our heart as we respond with silent or aloud words to you. Help us see prayer as sweet communion with you. Fan in to flame passion in our soul to pray. Thank you for Jesus. Amen.

The Best Time To Pray

DSC01042Are you tired?
Do you have a significant decision to make?
Is big change around the corner – or happening right now?
Is an issue overwhelming you?

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4.8a)

This is the answer – every day and for every matter. Go to God.

Say what you’re thinking TO GOD. Relationship builds through time spent together and sharing.

God is every where you are, so talk to him there. . . As you fold the laundry or unload the dishwasher, taking a walk, driving to or from work, as you go up or down the stairs, in the carpool line, or sitting in the bleachers watching your child. 

DSC01631The ordinary day commands that we engage with our children, adults, our job, and other responsibilities. God knows this. Still, he says move close and he will move close.

What happens as we draw near?
We move closer to the One who loves us more than anyone on earth. We demonstrate we choose him over all our thoughts and everybody else.

What happens when God draws near?
He loves – He holds our heart and calms our fear.
He pours peace – The Prince of Peace fills our hollows with calm.
He responds – He meets us where we are, hopes we’ll stay real close, and helps us to follow his way.
He helps us pray – He fills our heart with his will, with what he knows is best.

Video #9 is packed with examples for prayer. Take a look on your phone at home. Take a listen (audio) while you’re in your car or exercising.

Dear God, Help me move closer to you and experience your nearness even more. Please prompt me to pray throughout the day. Amen.

Making the Most of Meanwhile

DSC01012Don’t you love to hear a good story unfold? You know, the kind that has phrases like:

“and she had no idea that 2 weeks ago he…”
“no one knew that all along her boss had quietly initiated…”
“to everyone’s surprise, they had been planning this for months…”
“that single experience was the quiet catalyst that would eventually…”

Circumstances and conversations…pieces and parts occurring, often unknown to us, over time in various settings. Culminating to “What a story!”

This summer I’ve been studying 1 and 2 Chronicles. It is story – true and relative, history. If you haven’t read it, I hope you do! A couple of weeks ago, one word in a story held my focus:

MEANWHILE

DSC01013I thought about my life and each of our kid’s lives.  I can never know all the moving parts. The condition of each heart. The impact of words or circumstance. Decisions in process. Timing. The response or reaction of all who make up “other”. The outcome.

I’ve certainly tried. Exhausting myself analyzing, re-analyzing, then analyzing and re-analying with others. I cringe when I think of the hours I’ve wasted.

In 2 Chronicles, Chapter 20, King Jehoshaphat, learning that a huge army is going to attack his kingdom, is afraid. He “set his face to seek the LORD” and prayed, “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (v.12) He also called all his people to seek the Lord… “MEANWHILE all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the LORD came…”

I don’t know how long this season was, but I can imagine the fear. Desperate, they grew dependent. Desperate, they grew faithful. In the “meanwhile” of their circumstance, they prayed. Men, women, children and moms “with their little ones”.

DSC01011Do you ever feel powerless? Overwhelmed? Does your child?

Make the most of every MEANWHILE.  Pray. Ask others to pray, to intercede to God on your behalf.

No matter your child’s age, lead them toward prayer. Toward talking to God.
Pray over them, gently and briefly. Offer to pray with them. Silently, pray for them. Direct and encourage them to pray for others and their circumstance. Pray as a family. Pray aloud, so that your children hear and see how spontaneous, simple and significant talking to God can be.

Pray that your children will pray.

We have a lot of “meanwhiles” in life. Our children will, too.
Waiting seasons, challenging relationships, difficult decisions, hard circumstances…

The rest of the story (Chapter 20) is amazing, a testimony to the sovereignty of God – the One who knows all the moving parts, knows the condition of every heart, knows the impact of all words and circumstances, knows every decision that’s in process and knows timing because He reigns over it . 

Our “meanwhiles” and our children’s “meanwhiles” can bear testimony to the faithfulness of God and how intimately He yearns for us to participate with Him in His larger-than-what-we-can-see plan.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some “meanwhiles”. What have some of yours been? I’d love to read them.