Tuesday, December 26, 2006

PRAYER: What's Your Story?

Let's build up some prayer steam as we encounter the new year. I'm not what you'd regard as a famous pray-er nor a great pray-er nor a deeply focused pray-er. So don't jump to a mistaken track as we discuss this. My point is prayer is for the ordinary....and such lets me in. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would register at the low end of prayer devotion.

About 30 years ago (I was 29 years old), I began praying that God would let me reach thousands of people before I die. I would pray this desire over and over while standing alone in the church auditorium in Quincy, Illinois. A call came from Memorial Drive in Tulsa to interview with them. While I was wowed beyond measure that they would ask me, I told them emphatically "No". God and I were building something special in Quincy.

When I was back at my prayer once again rehearsing my request to reach thou......it hit me! Maybe Memorial's call was His response. I felt ill, guilty, and ashamed that I'd even consider bailing on the church I loved so dearly. I called Tulsa and they did want to talk to me. I was hurt. This is not how I saw it going at all. "Quincy, God." "From Quincy for the world!"

I met with Memorial's elders and told them emphatically I could not move to Tulsa. But God's response to my prayer seemed to powerfully and clearly override my heart's desire.

Today He lets me reach the thousands through this position at Memorial, the impact of the workshop, and even this matter of blogville!

I cheer you on to keep praying. Sometimes we feel we nearly have to beg Him to answer us. In my case I found myself begging Him not to answer...but He wouldn't quit....AND I AM SO GLAD HE DIDN'T. I love being at Memorial....while I still love and adore the church in Quincy.

He has a way of making life explode! Keep up the praying. Don't let it slack off. GOD WORKS!

Share with us...encourage the rest of us...about a move God made with you along the way as a result of prayer.


Anonymous said...

I so can't explain how fast my heart beat when Ethan was born or how many tears ran down my face when I looked at his. The greatest test of my faith was to put "my" child in the hands of somone else and trust them to "fix" him.

But the truth is, he wasn't mine to begin with. My prayer before he was born was for him to be blessed in a way that would allow him to reach more people than I could, that he would touch hearts, that I would hold him for a time but be able to let him go when a mother's arms were no longer called for, that he would rest in his Father's forever and answer that call.

I don't know what's planned for him, but I see the start. I see the beginning of something more beautiful than I can possibly imagine. He is imperfect, but so am I. God loves me anyway, and I see a glimpse of the perfection the Father wants for me in my son's perfect eyes.

Only two years have passed since he was born. Only part of my prayer has been answered. But I have been given the strength to let go when it was necessary, and I've seen people put in his life that have grown and will grow him. It is amazing to see God work.

heather said...

Ours was similar to yours :-)... being in Lubbock, Tx, and loving that place and our little part of a great ministry, and then getting a call... saying no and then questioning whether we were really listening to God or trying to talk Him into what we wanted.
Now, I can't imagine having settled for less than this adventure. He has grown us immensely among these people... and continues to.

Secondly, was a prayer for our son, Eli, and his schooling. In desperation, the request for God's intervention and leading (because of special needs) went outside of my comfort zone and into the hands of people who I didn't even know, but whom I gathered understood prayer much better than I do at times. And the result, though I was unsure of it at first, was life changing and undeniably rooted in His divine response. He answered needs so intimately known only by Him. I have been "wowed" by our God, and motivated to pursue Him in prayer differently ever since.
(Thanks for playing a role in moving us here, and in moving me there spiritually!)

Stoogelover said...

First, without wanting to come across as bragging, I think I rank lower on that prayer scale than you!

Many years ago I had an opportunity to move from Florida to California, the very last place in the US I would want to raise my children. I made the move, though, not because I felt God was calling me to California as much as I knew I had to leave Florida ... ASAP. Seven of the eight years there were, let's say, less than good. No, let's just say "horrible!"

The new year will usher in our 14th year and the blessing has been beyond any expectation. Don't know that I'm reaching anyone, much less thousands, but I continue to see God's hand upon my life and ministry and I keep trying the prayer thing ... feeble as it seems from my perspective.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think you are one of the most awesome pray-ers I know! I LOVE hearing you pray! And boy, am I glad you listened to God and moved to Tulsa! :o)

Several things came to mind when I read your blog and thought about my prayer life over the years. I will share the one that is closest to my heart.

I could not understand why God would not bring me a husband. All I had ever wanted was to be a wife and mother and I just didn't get it. And man, did I pray! As time went on and that guy didn't come along, I came to a peace with God about being single. It was not what I wanted, but as I looked around at some of my unhappy friends and the kinds of marriages they had, I came to the conclusion that being single could never be as bad as being in a yucky marriage.

I had been on several Christian singles' cruises that Joe Beam hosted and became good friends with him. He and I talked about this and he made a pact with me to pray about it. We did. We prayed that I would be married by the time I was 35. Well, it didn't happen. But I was OK with it, I really was. Then when I least expected it, here came this WONDERFUL man into my life. Actually, we had been friends since college but had gone our seperate ways. We have been married for 3 1/2 years now; I was 39 when we got married. One day I got to thinking about those prayers to be married by the time I was 35. When Doug came back into my life and we became good friends was 1999....I was 35! :o)

He is SO faithful, even when we think He's not listening.

Anonymous said...

It's good to know that I'm not the only one on the low end of the prayer scale. That is a comfort in and of itself. My most meaningful prayer times are when there are struggles going on in my life. I am not at all praying for more struggles, but it is through those times I feel closer to God than at any other time. My prayer is more focused and I am more receptive and open because I know there is nothing I can do. It is also at those times that scripture speaks louder to me. God will show me more of Him during those times of study and prayer. God is truly awesome!!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were both full time graduate students in Bible and Counseling. For reasons not in our power we had to leave our main source of income at the time. While working 5 jobs between us and barely paying the bills we had to decide whether or not we would continue to give to a cause we had committed to for five years. We prayed about it and decided our "yes" would always be "yes" and kept giving financially to this cause. Within 2 weeks we received over 2000 dollars in the mail that we did not expect and was just enough to cover our bills. God is faithful.

When I am tempted to doubt I remember how God has been faithful to me and that He is the same God today as He was then. I don't struggle with worry any more.

Anonymous said...

O.K. just a little secret between you and me. I'm praying you come a little closer....ya know, Quincy is "doable" on a Sunday morning:)
Dani Fromm