“And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”- Matthew 6:7-13, Amplified version, (emphasis mine)
We live in a society where everyone, no matter what they believe really, offer up prayer whenever tragedy arises. If not prayer, at least “good thoughts” or “positive energy”; which sadly, is almost seen in the same light at times. The world may be uncomfortable at so-called radical, Christian living; yet, everyone wants to support a fellow human being with their words whenever the unexplainable occurs.
This video is another small light into some of our girls’ unique burdens. They have finally been tagged as febrile seizures by most of our physicians, which is comforting and discomforting all at once. I am learning that sometimes, a name doesn’t necessarily make something feel better. These episodes hit both of our girls many times whenever they are ill. They can last a few minutes or a few seconds. It does not seem that they are dangerous in a life-threatening way at this time, yet there is no way to know if they will be at some point. There is also no way of knowing what havoc they wreck on the girls’ brains. I know everyone prefers to see their sweet, joyful smiles; yet I think it’s important for you to experience the hards in a small way as well.
I pray each day for protection for the girls from illness; yet I pray this knowing that if they become ill, it is not because God’s ear has been turned.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”- Isaiah 55:8
So, whenever Ally started showing signs of illness, while exhausting and disheartening at times, I knew that it was the Lord’s best for us. I could not have said that a year and a half ago; yet God has broadened my understanding of the truths in His Word, and I now find peace in accepting His plans over wishing for my own.
After a very challenging two days, I feel like we are finally out of the “touch and go” stage (wondering whether we are going to head to Children’s or tough it out at home). As we asked for prayer the past few days, I simply prayed for endurance in whatever God had for us. Now, I would be lying if I said I was not excited that this sickness has seemed to pass quickly; yet I want to make it clear that God would have been just as good and just as worthy to be praised if this week had taken a different turn.
His will, His way.
His children, His calls.
His decisions, His glory.
In thinking about this, I have been directed to this mindset of prayer that seems to be rampant. This, “let’s get the masses to pray that a trial will pass” culture we live in. To make things clear, I certainly believe that there is power in prayer. I think we are privileged that God has invited us into His plans, and that He, the God of the whole universe, asks us to come to Him with anything and everything. There is not a single concern of our hearts that He is not interested in. He deserves the glory whether He chooses to heal on this side of heaven or the other. If you are a Christ-follower, you understand this concept. However, I am concerned that if you are not a Christ-follower, we have done a really poor job of explaining what God says about prayer. You see, the purpose of prayer is not to rally together in order to talk God into doing what we want. NO. The purpose of prayer is to know God more deeply, to cry out to our Maker, to connect to Him in the midst of all things so that we will align with His will more fully and have a deeper understanding of that, whatever it may be. Yes, God hears us when we cry. As we look to the Scriptures on prayer, it is unbelievably obvious that when we pray, we are praying for His will, not our own. We are asking Him to give us more faith, more peace, more comfort; particularly when our humanity blurs our heavenly vision. The reason this is so important to understand is that if you do not grasp this, prayer becomes more like rubbing on a genie’s belly than calling out to the Sovereign Creator over all. Getting 5,000 people to pray for something on social media, while touching, does not give you a better chance of getting what you would want than having 4,999.
His will, His way.
Some would now ask why we pray. If you are asking this, I might gently encourage you to remember that life is absolutely not about getting what we want. I have asked this question many times throughout the years; yet God has started giving me so much comfort in the fact that He is in control of all the answers to all of our prayers. It is our job to reach out and reach up; it is up to Him to decide what’s best. This should call us to want to pray more, not less. It should excite us when we understand that the more we know Him, the more we will be able to accept all the details of our own life and the lives around us, whatever those may be.
What joy this can bring in the world we live in today that can feel so smothered by brokenness and evil. This is a game-changer for our prayer lives, because suddenly, we can begin praying fervently for what really matters, the souls and hearts of those around us. We can pray for endurance, peace, and comfort in the storms of this life; and we can wait in expectation for those things to come. We can experience the miracle of knowing our own weaknesses yet watching Him give us utmost strength in the hardest of hards. We can praise Him whenever He performs the miracle of healing in the here and now; and we can be comforted in knowing that it was not because of lack of faith or lack of numbers that He didn’t do so whenever His best is to not. How this can widen and expand our faith! How this can give us a deeper love and compassion for our neighbor; for we will be praying for the very hearts of who they are.
Friends, I do not know what your prayer life is like. I am unaware of the individual circumstances surrounding you. Yet, whatever those may be, my prayer for you today is that you would be able to sense His call to pray for anything and everything He places on your heart, and to watch in awe and wonder as He answers prayers in all His wisdom and omnipotence. May we seek the prayer of those around us, not to attempt to change His ways, but to attempt to bring Him more and more glory and give others the opportunity to come to the throne on our behalf. I can promise you one thing: prayer does not change God, the God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8); and that is a good, good thing. His ways are good. His purposes are true. He loves, He loves, He loves. May we seek Him in all our doings today and always. May we praise Him in all things, whether we understand or we don’t. May we know-in the core of who we are- that this world is not our home yet this God brings hope to even the most hopeless situations. And, when our prayers are answered in the most opposite way of what we had wanted, may we still cry out with an, “Amen” to the God who has heard our prayers and given us His best.
He is absolutely working in all things.
Amen and amen.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”- 1 Peter 5:10