Monday, June 1, 2015

Becoming a Bold Pray-er

If you are at all like me, then there might be times in your life when you are afraid to pray. It sounds ridiculous, but I found myself feeling that way more than once on this journey to our son. You see, I had begged God to make me a mother for so long -- years-- and it didn't appear to be happening. 

The result, for me for awhile, was a severely weakened prayer life. 

I knew that God was hearing me, but I didn't see anything happening. So over the course of months and then years, my prayers became quieter. More timid. Weaker. Sometimes they were barely whispers. 

I reasoned with myself that if I wasn't really asking for anything major, then I wouldn't be disappointed when nothing major happened. Oh, how I cringe when typing that truth for you all to see. But, if my thinking is right, then maybe you, too, have felt this way at some point. You may feel that it is somehow safer to pray wimpy little prayers that don't really require God to demonstrate His mighty power.

Well, I want to encourage you (as a rehabilitated prayer wimp myself) to let that go. I beg you to let it go. 

We serve a great, BIG, mighty God. He designed and created the entire universe. He holds planets in orbit and still has time to paint the flowers. All of these details, literally EVERYTHING WE SEE, are resting in the palm of His righteous hand. And this very same God is holding you and me. More than that, He actually knows us. Knows the desires and longings of our hearts. Knows when we hurt and when we triumph. But most importantly, He knows what is the very best for us AND HE WANTS THE VERY BEST FOR US. 

The problem is that sometimes my best and God's best are not the same (NOTE: His best is always better than mine). So when my prayers aren't being answered in the way I feel they should be, I like to throw a little pity party or maybe a temper tantrum. I'm too quick to feel ignored, forgotten or left behind. I'm too quick to forget that the Lord can see so much more than I will ever be able to and that He alone is WORTHY of my trust. 

I look at our journey to Bradley, and there is a part of me that wants to shout: COULDN'T THIS HAVE GONE A LITTLE FASTER, LORD? I MEAN, WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS SWEET CHILD FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS! 

Very gracious, no?

That part of me is inclined to feel angry, frustrated and impatient with what God is doing in my life. But then I look at who I am now compared to who I was when we started down this road. And as I look back down the path, I see that the Lord has used this incredible this called adoption to help me see Him more clearly than I ever have. 

He took away every other support I could have managed to prop myself up on till only He remained. And for a good, long while I retreated into that prayer wimpy-ness. I didn't want to be hurt by another "No" from God. 

But little by little, bit by bit, the Lord restored my faith, my trust in Him, my {now} rock solid belief that He is exactly who He says He is. Through that, I have come to learn that I can ask BIG things of my BIG God. He can handle it. In fact, I rather think He delights in it when we ask for something enormous. Why? IT SHOWS THAT WE BELIEVE HE CAN DO IT. 

What better demonstration of trust in someone than to ask that person for help? When I am carrying something that is too heavy for me and I start to lose my grip, I call out to Adam and beg him to get his rear end over here and help me. Why do I do that? He is physically FAR more powerful than I am. I trust in his ability to carry something that is too heavy for me. When I would type emails to parents and I wanted to make sure my words and tone were right, I would ask Anne Carter, the other English teacher on the hall. Why? I trust her ability to advise me. 

So when I have a problem that is far to big for me, doesn't it stand to reason that I should go the the One who is INFINITELY more powerful and more able than I could ever be? Not only that, but I also know that He loves me and will do what is best for me. 

This newfound prayer boldness does come with a catch, though. Bold praying does not guarantee the result you want. Not at all. But when we absolutely trust the One we are asking, we can rest confidently that a "No" is just the placeholder for a bigger and better "Yes." God is not out to crush us or string us along with false hope. He LONGS to be gracious to us, but He also knows more than we do. And so we have to trust that His answers, whatever they may be, are coming from a place of love. 

And ask others to pray with you and for you. I could not count the number of people who have prayed for us at different points along this road. Our families, our small group, spiritual mentors, friends. The list could go on forever. Be bold in asking people to surround you with prayer. I have seen the most amazing things happen when I have been brave enough to really put our needs out there and specifically ask for prayer. Look HERE to see what I mean. It's really quite unbelievable. 

So I want to encourage you to press in and press on if you are praying through something tough. Hang in there and stay faithful. God is not ignoring you. He has not abandoned you. He is working all things together for your good. Seek His face and you will find Him. 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him."
Matthew 7:7-11

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