Prayer God Hears
I’ve prayed all sorts of prayers since Jesus invaded my life. Some embarrassingly small in faith (is there anything smaller than a grain of mustard seed?) Some sad. Some mad. Some glad! Some confident, in a season of Bible study and regular devotions. Some alone. Some with others. One thing I’m convinced of - He’s heard them all.
Recently, I’ve shared some of the miracles Jesus is doing in my relationship with my gift from God special needs son Jonathan.
On this one, I'm with the beavers in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, who knew by the melting snow that Aslan was on the move. GOD is on the move--just look at that smile on Jonathan's face ! (This is from a number of years back with Daniel, but you get how much joy his smile brings.) In my last post, Love in the Wait, I mentioned how long we wait between smiles. Recent back to back brother visits from Matthew and Nicholas certainly upped his quotient!
This God intersection with Jonathan and I these past few months --I could say it started when the snow was still flying, but this woman who sometimes forgets why she crossed the room remembered well into this encouraging season...a prayer. Not a noble, courageous one. Not one I'm proud that I had to pray. What kind of Mother prays to want to spend more time with her child? Admits that "important work" takes priority over time with Jonathan, because it feels tedious, even endless at times?
For those of you who don't know Jonathan, he has Down Syndrome, is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum. Eye contact is unpredictable. Learning tasks are in short spurts interspersed with physical activity breaks. He requires constant supervision for daily activities such as eating, dressing and toileting. He grabs food...
So, prayer...Remember the 2015 movie War Room? It revolutionized my prayer life, and God's been schooling me ever since. This recent series of answers has got me thinking. What makes for fruitful prayer and perhaps just as importantly, what doesn't? What's needed? What's not? And what constitutes “fruit?”
Fruitful prayer relies boldly on God's mercy and love. If prayer is conversation with God, the holy, sinless, all-powerful creator of the universe, who would bend quaking knees and bow in complete vulnerability without hope of forgiveness? Although emotions may betray us, the faintest whisper of prayer shouts "I believe" to our Savior Jesus, who paid the price for every sin we'll ever commit, and understands our weakness. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Fruitful prayer quits playing games. Who do we think we're fooling...really? Ignore, justify or shove down guilt about (pick a behavior or attitude). What we refuse to see is therefore shielded from God's view?? Ludicrous. Jeremiah 17:10 says "But I the Lord search all hearts and examine all motives." Not only ridiculous, but dangerously presumptuous. We diminish God's all knowing capability and assign ourselves God-like status when we "hide" stuff. Give up. When I admit what God's seen all along, my humbled heart is finally prepped for surgery. (2 Chronicles 2:17)
Fruitful prayer is rooted in God’s Word. I Google Bible verses on kindness, hope, forgiveness--whatever I need. I do in depth Bible studies, too, but I’m grateful for technology that can give me a quick “God take.” 9 times out of 10 his living and active Word adjusts my attitude, not the situation. And there’s hope as I remind myself of His perspective. That's what fruitful prayer looks like.
A plan. It's embarrassing to admit how many times I've prayed with a helpful list of "suggestions" in my back pocket. I'm in a mess, and all I need is for God to utilize... my solution! Kinda reminds me of the fellow who was standing on his rooftop praying for God to rescue him from a flood. You know the story. After turning down repeated rescue efforts, he drowns. Once in heaven, he asks, “God, why didn’t you rescue me?" God answers, “Well, I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat and a helicopter!” Problem is, we’re so focused on our plan, we miss God's.
I didn't have a clue how God was going to answer my prayer about Jonathan. In fact it seemed impossible. How could God make waiting soooo long to do things more bearable? But I’m learning that "impossible" says more about my limited point of view than reality. God saw things I couldn’t - a little boy craving new experiences, and a Mom whose fear of seeing her son pitied or rejected holding her back. Of course it was boring - I was playing everything too safe! Don't over-analyze this theologically, but picture a Cosmic Chess Player. Step one: Jonathan’s helper's extended sick leave pushes me out the door with Jonathan. Step Two: God encourages me with a successful trip with Jonathan to the grocery. Step Three: God allows me to experience some disasters so I see God meeting me in the mess. Literally. He puts fear on the run and allows me to see the kindness, not rejection of strangers. Teaches me some practical strategies (like don't take Jonathan to the grocery near dinner time. Duh🙄) Step Four: New peace, joy, delight and pride as I celebrate Jonathan for the gift of God he is to us.
Only our loving heavenly Father sees the end from the beginning, knows our hearts, and can coordinate the complex events of our lives for our good. My takeaway? Get real. Abandon your solutions so you can see God’s. Pray for the “impossible” so you can see His possibilities. See what God’s Word has to say. And get ready. The One who loves you will blow you away. Every time.