God has revealed to me that I am not a disappointment to Him, and that He loves me dearly. He has shown me that, through His Son, I can have real understanding of what is true. But these revelations came at great cost, through intense personal struggling. As I meditated on these great truths, I asked God to show me something good that has come out of all my pain and suffering.
God whispered to me to think about my prayer life and what it has become because of this adversity. He wanted me to look through my journal, paying close attention to what I had written during times of hardship, to see what had happened to my prayer life over the past few months and years. What I saw in my journal entries opened my eyes. I realized that there had indeed been times when I had lost hope, but then, somewhere along the way, I saw a change.
I have always believed in the power of prayer. I am involved with the prayer committee at my church and have helped plan prayer-emphasis services. I have been active with Moms in Prayer International (formerly Moms in Touch International) for over twenty years. For over fifteen years, I have met with the same friend to pray for our children and their schools. On many mornings, I have sat at the front window of my house and watched my daughter’s friends drive by on their way to school; they would honk their car horns at me, and I would pray for them. I strongly believe that prayer changes things.
Prayer is a form of protection against the evil forces that want to kill, steal, and destroy the world around me. But, honestly, at times my prayer life has lacked a little something. When I started my journey of deep depression, I even stopped praying altogether, apart from my regular meetings with my Moms in Prayer friend. She was so faithful and always there to keep me going. Without her, I probably would have given up that prayer time, too.
But all that had changed. It changed when prayer became not a daily habit but a daily need. I had to pray to make it through the day. I had to pray to forgive others. I had to pray against bitterness. I had to pray for the removal of my obsessive thoughts. Prayer became more personal to me, a part of my very being.
But just as I was praying for myself, I had to pray for others, especially for those who were my “enemies.” God was calling me to pray daily for those people who had hurt me and even betrayed me. Then as my healing progressed, I realized that other people around me also needed to be free from the very things that had held me captive. I began to feel a burden to pray for others who did not know God and who were facing sorrow and uncertainty. I grieved that so many people were heading down the road to doom and destruction. So I cried out to God for direction in my praying. For whom should I pray? There are so many.
First, God told me to be more diligent in praying for my family. So I started praying specific prayers for the individual, personal needs of my husband and my children and my grandchildren. I especially prayed for their character growth and their walks with the Lord.
Okay, God, who’s next? Who else needs to be lifted up?
God gave me a mission. He told me to pray for a particular group of people with whom I was indirectly involved but did not know well. I collected their names and added them to my prayer list. These were people that I knew were not saved or, if they were, were living far from their faith. I began to pray for them diligently, understanding all along that I may never know the answer to those prayers. And, this time, my heart was different.
My prayers had moved from my head to my heart. And if my prayers could help even one person find freedom in Christ then I wanted to stand in the gap for that one person. In Nehemiah 4:7 we find these words: “[A]nd the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry” (NIV). I want to be able to write in my journal one day that the gaps of unbelief are being closed and that the enemy is very angry. I want to see these young people that God has laid on my heart turn toward God and away from bondage. I want to see my family walking whole-heartedly with the Lord, too.
Friend, to what specific mission is God calling you, what task has come out of your troubled journey? Do not resist Him any longer, but ask Him what He would have you do, and then do it! Only you can fulfill the purpose that has been designed just for you. Oh, that your trials would lead you to a deeper walk with Christ. Ask Him today.
Blessings – Lisa