My Dad gets choked up more now...since my Mom died...and since his heart attack. But never more than when he talks about how much he loves our family. So as we joined hands to pray, 23 of us on that night, my Dad thanked Leanne for opening up her home to all of us. And his voice cracked with emotion as he told God how thankful he was for our family.
I totally "get" that.
Prayer has always been a big part of my life.
Correction: I have always wanted prayer to be a big part of my life. I've not always been faithful to do it, but I've always wanted to.
I desire to have a full prayer life...to have that relationship with God, that constant communication with Him; to be able to share in the joys and heartaches of others. I also realize that I cannot pray for every thing and every one, so if I say, "I'll pray for you," I honestly mean it, and will make every effort to do it. Because, isn't it so easy to say out-loud or write on a card: "praying for you?"
Well, ARE you?
I just know that there have been times in my life when I have counted on those prayers, and I have held fast to the belief that others were praying for me. The promise of those prayers have been my life-line.
I have seen first-hand the power and the change that comes from prayer.
I am not a good speaker. I'm not even a good out-loud pray-er. I'm not good in stressful or intense situations with others...I don't like awkward silences...
But I can pray.
And you can, too.
I get frustrated with myself at times. My prayer life ebbs and flows...not based on God's responses, but on my effort.
I thought early in our marriage that my prayer life was strong. I was young, married and away from home...in another state from all of my family. Jim and I each went to our college classes in the mornings, and then worked in the afternoons. It was hard and we struggled and we made mistakes. We still make mistakes. But I prayed for God to bless our marriage in spite of us and God did. We honored God with 10% of our income, and He provided for us financially even on our meager paychecks. We got involved in our church, and God blessed us with Christian friends and mentors.
We prayed for direction after graduation, and God provided a job for Jim...and, in our 4th year of marriage, we moved and Jim started his first "real" job. We got involved in a new church and met new friends. We had people who invested in us and helped us as we started our new lives. We planted ourselves in the middle of them and our roots grew deep. A year later, God blessed us with a pregnancy and a new home. And then...Joshua.
And my prayers took me on a new and intimate journey with God. It was like being in an completely dark room...we couldn't see in front of us. We prayed and yet we had no idea how to pray or what to pray or where to go. We needed so much.
But in the dark we waited..scared and unsure and feeling alone...not knowing where to turn. And there, in the dark, we heard the voices of our family and friends. There were other voices that we didn't recognize, and they were all praying for us. And the people...they came to stand beside us, and they brought warmth and Light, and we didn't feel alone. And where His voice led...the people, all of them, they carried us.
"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison..." 2 Corinthians 4:17