I pray almost every morning. I'm talking . . ."sit perfectly still and read some scripture and write in a prayer journal" kind of praying. I try to do it all the time but I'm not perfect. Of course, I send up prayers throughout the rest of the day . . .I pray at work quite often (helps that I work in a church!!) and Mark and I pray together before we go to bed at night. So often our prayers are lists . . .lists of names . . .lists of wants and needs . . .God, are you listening? Can you hear me? God, why aren't you working on this? Are you? Do you care? Why haven't you healed our friend, Jason? Why does Nancy have cancer? Why does Laura not have a classroom teaching position yet? Why are our friends having problems in their marriage? Can you fix it?
Maybe your prayers don't sound like this. I'm just being perfectly honest with you. Some days my prayers sound like that. Some days my prayers are from some place deep inside of me . . . someplace raw . . .someplace the outside world rarely sees.
Some days my prayers are all about being thankful. Some days my prayers are more like this: God, I thank you that the situation at work was resolved. I thank you that the sun is shining outside my window. I thank you for the birds at the birdfeeder. You made them and their funny feathers and they are amazing. Thank you for this crazy cat that keeps jumping up on top of my prayer journal (and I have traced his paw on my journal so that I will remember he was there!). Thank you that this cat has brought such joy to our family. Thank you that we are all gainfully employed. Thank you for clean drinking water. Thank you for a roof over our head. Thank you for a stove for cooking and a refrigerator that is overflowing with healthy (and not so healthy) food. Thank you for friends who love me. Thank you for your grace that covers me.
But once again . . .I'm doing all the talking. I know I talk a lot. If you know me, YOU know I talk a lot. BUT I can be a good listener. I really can. That skill does come in handy when you are in charge of the prayer ministry.
So I've been struggling with some things . . . quite a few things actually. I've been praying about these things a lot. I told God that I feel like the persistent widow (except I'm not a widow! - thank God!!)
I went to visit my friend in Nashville a few weeks ago and she works in a great store -- Hot Pink in Brentwood, TN (I will show you a picture because they have amazing gift items in this store!! - they have everything from linens to baby gifts to seasonal items - it is like "gift giving" paradise . . ..sorry for the shallow aside . . .I know I've been talking about prayer - but I'm a girl and love - what can I say?) I know you are wondering where I'm going with this - hang on . . .
The day away in Nashville helped me in many ways.
1) I spent a lot of time alone in the car - driving to and from Nashville . . .praying and listening to Christian music for the majority of the time.
2) I spent several hours with Jan who makes me laugh like no other friend does. I laughed until my face hurt. She can also make me examine my life in a way no one else does. We also had a pedicure which helps cure almost anything that ails you (boy is that a Southern expression!!!).
3) When we ended the day at Hot Pink with some shopping, she bought a book for me, "Jesus Calling" because I said that a lot of people had been reading it . . .and she said it was wonderful . . .and I had already paid for my items . . .and she bought it for me. She didn't buy just a plain old copy. When I got home, this gorgeous leather copy was in my gift bag.
I didn't have the time . . .or the inclination . . .or whatever to start using the book right away and it sat in the car for a few days. I finally brought it inside and it sat there a few more days. I was still struggling with God and I opened the book for the first time on April 12. These are the first words on April 12: "TRUSTING ME is a moment-by-moment choice." Hey Lisa . . .Lisa . . .are you listening? Hey Lisa!! LISA!!!! Coincidence? Possibly. Was I finally listening? Possibly. Does God still speak today? I sure hope so.
So I'm still struggling with some big questions in my prayer time. I've been reading this devotion book as a part of my prayer time every day and have been amazed at how many times I have "heard" God speak through the author's words.
Today I opened my devotion book . . . .Today's devotion from Jesus Calling -- April 30 is this:
WHEN SOME BASIC NEED IS LACKING– time, energy, money (note from Lisa - insert any of those worries and concerns with which I am struggling) –consider yourself blessed. Your very lack is an opportunity to latch onto Me in unashamed dependence. When you begin a day with inadequate resources, you must concentrate your efforts on the present moment. This is where you are meant to love (note from Lisa - and LIVE - not always worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow).–in the present; it is the place where I always await you. Awareness of your inadequacy is a rich blessing, training you to rely wholeheartedly on Me.
The truth is that self-sufficiency is a myth perpetuated by pride and temporary success. Health and wealth can disappear instantly, as can life itself. Rejoice in your insufficiency, knowing that My Power is made perfect in weakness.
So guess what? . . .I'm supposed to trust God . . .and I am supposed to latch onto him in unashamed dependence . . . .and wait on him to answer these prayers. I think he is speaking. I think I've heard him call my name. Lisa? Lisa? Are you listening? Yes, Lord. Speak . . for your servant is listening . . .and I'm trying to trust . . .and I'm latching on for dear life.
These are truly the musings of a middle-aged momma's heart today.