a tiny glimpse at my prayer list

October 12, 2015

A pained face sits down slowly on the pew during worship. Another friend offers a hug and a quiet question, “Would you pray for me and my family? “ Someone else reminds me to continue to pray for their marriage. Several families ask for prayers for ongoing pain and sickness with no clear diagnosis in sight. Some are recovering from surgery while others just put one foot in front of the other as they attempt to overcome the hurdles of financial struggles they face. One family lost their loved one tragically with no warning. One is a little face I glimpsed on the internet who is looking for his forever home and has special needs. Others lost their jobs after years of service and commitment. And, yes, still others are battling addiction and depression and divorce and defeat.

Yes, this is just a tiny glimpse at my prayer list. I am sure it probably looks much like yours.

No, it isn’t all bad or hard. There are many praises and times of thanksgiving. But, it is true that the heavy just weighs on your heart.

Just one little list. On an index card in my Bible. Next to Psalms 91 which I love to read before I begin praying over my list. And, yes, everyday more are added to my little list. And, as it grows longer, I pray harder.

God is really opening my eyes to this battle we all face. Yes, the key word there is ALL. Your battle is not mine and mine is not yours. But, really that isn’t true now, is it?

Doesn’t God say in His word, to bear one another’s burdens? To love your neighbor as yourself? Yes, if we love Him and we know Him and we believe Him, it is true.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” {Galatians 6:2}

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.” {Mark 12:30,31}

We are all in the battle of carrying burdens. And, yes, yours is mine and mine is yours. And, together there is power in our prayers.

“Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three of you come together in my name, there am I with them.” {Matthew 18:19, 20}

No, there is no power in this list, but there is power in the One who accepts this chicken scratch written on a 3×5 card with a yellow sticky note addition. And, hears it. And, blesses it. And, stores it up in heaven.

Maybe you are experiencing some of the same issues found on my list. Maybe you, like me and many others, some days just feel a little defeated by your circumstances. Or, perhaps betrayed by a friend or loved one. Could it be, that you are weighted down by a burden that God never intended for you to bear alone?

If so, please read this slowly and understand it deep down in your soul. You need a prayer warrior. Maybe a team of prayer warriors. Please don’t try to tackle your troubles and carry your burdens and walk these paths alone. The enemy would love nothing more than for you to keep holding on to your heartache. Alone. His plan is to isolate and lie and steal and kill and destroy. And, yes, he does it every day to so many people. Including me.

We all find ourselves in places where we really need a friend and a prayer warrior and a Savior. Amen?

If so, I am praying that God brings the perfect prayer partner to walk alongside you in whatever your struggle may be. He has provided this for me time and time again and I am eternally grateful!

If you are in a hard place today, can I please offer another word of advice? As hard as it may seem, would you just be still and praise Him? Even when you don’t feel like it. I know firsthand how He blesses those who praise Him in spite of their feelings.

One really hard day several years ago I was consumed with worry. (Yes, worry is one of my greatest struggles). My husband is self-employed and for months his business had been so very slow. He confided in me on this particular day that he had no idea what we were going to do. The economy had really taken a toll on his business and he was overwhelmed with concern for our family.

Of course, my first thought was to pray. To beg and plead and ask God to fix the problem. To send customers. To just do whatever it took to make my husband feel better again. That was my normal response. To pray and to lay my requests at His feet. But, this day, for some reason I didn’t. The Spirit instead whispered to me and prompted me to change my ‘me’ focus to a ‘God’ focus. Instead of asking and whining and begging Him for all those things He encouraged me to change my heart to one of praise.

So, yes, on this depressing, heart-wrenching, financially maddening day, I did just that. I remember exactly where I was while I prayed. I don’t think I will ever forget.

As I drove home, I praised Him instead of just praying to Him. I thanked Him for every little tiny thing I could think of. Every item ever sold at our business. One right after the other. For every physical thing I could think of God had provided for us.

Truth be known. I didn’t really feel like praising Him. I wanted to pull over and just cry. To instead beg Him for a quick fix. But, I did it anyway. I can’t remember ever really doing anything quite like this before, but I am so grateful I did.

Much happened that day. Right there at the red light on the way home. You see, as I was praising God, my husband’s business had exploded.

My phone rang and seeing it was him, I answered. His exact words were, “I don’t know what you have been doing, but I know you have been doing something. I will probably be late today. The doors have been blown off this afternoon!” All I could do was praise Him more and cry tears of awe and thanksgiving.

Now, does He always act that quickly? No. Does everything always turn out better than we hoped? No. Does He always change those dark circumstances? Not always.

But, there is one thing that is certain for those who learn to praise Him during trial and defeat He always changes the hearts of those who seek Him. He did mine.

And since this day, my prayer life will never be the same. It has changed from one of asking and requesting to one where I also want to praise Him. Over and over again. When He answers prayer, but even when the answer isn’t exactly what I had hoped for.

I really do believe that God blesses those acts of obedience when we decide to purposefully overcome our feelings to honor Him. When we lay aside our requests and needs in order to just be grateful – regardless of our current circumstances.

I pray right now for any of you reading this who just need a glimpse of the Savior today. I pray for all of you who may have a heart full of defeat who long to have a heart of gratitude. And, yes, I pray for anyone reading this who may just need a prayer warrior. If so, please leave a comment and let me add your name to my chicken-scratched card in my Bible next to Psalms 91. I would be so honored to pray for you.

After all the pain and tragedy and defeat in this world, I really believe that He is calling all of us to be prayer warriors. And, yes, to maybe, just maybe, spend more time focusing on His promises and precious blessings than any thing else.

To carry each other’s burdens.
To love others as we would love ourselves.
And, yes, to offer sweet sacrifices of praise to the One who carried our burdens all the way to Calvary.

He knows. He cares. And, He is able, friends.

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  • Reply Linda November 20, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Put me on your yellow index card and put cameron and patricia M too. Cameron is going through a year of rehab and Patricia is trying to get over a broken heart from a messy relationship and trying to get her life back in order and get her education.
    For myself, I want God to bring that restoration and healing that I feel he is saying is coming, I want to heal renewed in my faith, i want to feel his spirit and presence mightly, i want to be guided and helped getting a good job, I want to be full of energy and what ever is causing me to continously lay down for months to be healed and fixed and i want to ride my bike and be artistic again, read, and have that full abundant life jesus promised. I want my mind will and intellect restored, faith restored, financially restored, healing and everything restored.

    • Reply Jennifer Woodward November 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      I would be honored to pray for you, Linda. I am sorry for the the struggles you are experiencing. One thing that has really helped me during difficult times is to find a way to pray prayers of praise in lieu of praying over and over again for all that I want. I am not saying to stop asking, but I am saying that I have tried it, and several times when I really wanted to just beg Him to do something, I made a conscious effort to just thank Him instead. I have really seen Him show up in those moments of obedience where I overrode my feelings to just worship Him with prayers of praise. I will be praying for you and trusting Him to be all that you need in this time. He can do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or imagine! God bless you. Ephesians 3:20

    • Reply Jennifer Woodward January 28, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Linda, I have been praying for you. I hope you are feeling His presence and love as He heals and restores you. Trusting He is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. To Him be all the glory. {Ephesians 3:20} Blessings to you.

      • Reply linda March 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

        my family needs prayer==My mom and dad need help fighting the foreclosure of our family home and the deal with the money from the car accident that has causes my sister lisa and mom to fight even more (they have a very adverse relationship to start with) and lisa fully threatens to cut mom off from seeing his grandkids. It makes me very sad. Dad had to retire due to illness and that puts a fight and a strain on mom as he doesnt have a regular pay check to contribute =He does various home contruction/repair jobs for a little extra cash but we need help. My Grandfather was going to help us but wont now because of some tall tale about my dad and my car from 15 years ago. my father is heartbroken in all of this. I need help too with work and being able to handle the three year olds at work in the afternoon and I would love if they would be able to settle down so I wouldbe able to read to them and do activities with them and not have them be chaotic in the afternoon. thanks Linda

        • Reply Jennifer Woodward March 14, 2016 at 10:52 am

          Holy Father in Heaven, Thank you for Linda. Thank you for her heart that is seeking You. Please provide all that she and her family need in the midst of this storm of life. Please allow your Spirit to cover them and stop any attempts by the enemy to cause chaos, confusion and defeat. Remind them of your Presence and your abiding love in all things. Help them to see your hand as you walk with them through this season. You are holy, you are worthy and you alone are ABLE. Cover them with your feathers, Lord and give them complete refuge as they trust in You. In the precious name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus. Amen!

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