In the last two years I’ve had more than a few deep conversations with Mom about lots of spiritual things. Prayer is something we discuss often. This may not be the post for you. It may be a post just for Mom. I have some serious things to work out in my noggin. Things I’ve been discussing with Mom off and on over the last couple of years.
At church Sunday morning, I had one kiddo show up for class. When you are in the sixth grade, you would pretty much rather be anywhere else than locked in a room with a Sunday school teacher. It became apparent that it was just the two of us so I let him join another class and I slipped into the back of Ray’s class. When I say slipped in, I mean it. There was barely room for me to drag a chair into the doorway. The topic of conversation was prayer in the context of parables.
God works in mysterious ways. That’s something that I don’t do often enough. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
So here’s one of the things I hate. Sometimes I hear, God answers the persistent prayer. (Luke 18:1 would be the reference I think.) I hate that story, sweet as it is. As this was being discussed, someone said that we should be bold and shameless with our prayers. I’m hear to tell you, I have been pretty bold and shameless with a few of my prayers. They don’t always get answered. Like staring at a monitor hooked up to an ultra sound that isn’t showing a heartbeat when you were only expecting to hear if the room should be pink or blue. I’m pretty sure Mom has said her share of persistent prayers and she watched her husband struggle and struggle is too light a term with RCC. What about the parents that watch their small children fight horrible disease like cancer? I’m sure they are bold and persistent. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve wrestled with it. Mom has wrestled with it. I remind myself that Paul prayed for relief and never received it. I think about our friends, the Alexanders and what a wonderful example (even if they don’t know it) they have been for us. Still, I sit in a class I hear this story and all I can think is, “Am I not persistent enough in my prayers for Jack? If I prayed more would it help his development? Doesn’t every mother of a special need child feel this way? Do they feel like it’s a slap in the face too?” The struggle is real. I know I’m supposed to be learning something from this.
I guess the point I’m getting to is that it’s hard for me to sit and listen to a class about prayer. Maybe it’s the plank in my eye right now. Can we just talk about your speck please?
So, here are some of my notes from that class…
- Just as we live in JOY (Put Jesus first, then others, then yourself) we can pray ACTS
- God’s will is that everyone be saved…and for us to have joy. We should note that joy is not necessarily happiness.
- Content in prayer is more important than form
- Remember to use the Lord’s prayer as an example
- Even Jesus didn’t always get what he wanted (see above about Paul)
- The takeaway given for this particular lesson was “Will God find faith? Will Jesus find prayer fatigue?”
Prayer fatigue… sigh. I think I have all the symptoms. I was on it when we were in the process to get Jack. I was on it when we brought him home. It was persistent. It was bold. It was shameless. It went on until well, at some point you get a little angry. I had big ideas. I was stepping out in faith to do the right thing. I just knew Jack was going to be this shining example of what God can do. He is. It wasn’t my expectation. I thought he would come home and it would take lots of hard work and he would be totally healed. He’s not. He struggles. I struggle. Every member in this family has been frustrated with his delays at one time or another. It has also been a lesson in faith, patience, self control, mercy. We all had a lot to learn. I can see that God’s plan is working here. Really. And still, I pray that Jack will catch up. That Bria can have an equal. That the girls won’t have to take care of Jack after Ray and I are gone. I’m starting to realize that maybe that’s not God’s plan. It’s really, really hard to reconcile that in my head and in my heart. I know that I’m not the only mother that feels that way. I know there are so many people who struggle feeling like their prayer hasn’t been answered. I know that there are people who struggle with the death of a loved one. (I have too and I did find peace eventually.) Struggles just stink don’t they?
So, that’s what is on my mind in the twenty minutes that I get to go to a class about prayer instead of teaching one sixth grader about Phillip and the Ethiopian. Maybe I should’ve made Shawn hang out with me…
Do you have thoughts? Anything you want to say about prayer? My ears are open. Mom, I’m talking to you!