For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The End of the 21 Days of Prayer for Our Sons

Today was the last day of the 21 Days of Prayer challenge and, I must say, that this could have gone on longer and I'd not have been put out in the least. I look forward to the next challenge. Anyone have a date yet? ;)

Using specific Scripture passages, we've prayed for a variety of things for our boys. From heart change, to the "fruits of the Spirit," to Salvation, to forgiveness, I prayed each of these things for my boys, and have, myself, further changed in the process. I wrote a few months ago about the change one little prayer brought to our family, and I still see with eyes of amazement that God uses this "simple" medium to bring about such great change in His people.

One of my favorite movie quotes is from Shadowlands where CS Lewis is quoted as saying, "Prayer doesn't change God, prayer changes me." I have no idea if he is the one who actually said this. It sounds like something he'd say, though. And it is very true. Prayer changes us. If we are truly praying, we may never see a change in our outward circumstances. (I think here specifically of the millions upon millions of Christians who have suffered just the last 100 years under various dictatorships.) The thing that will change will be us. This holds true when we pray for our children.

The change is often profound and subtle at the same time. Sometimes I think it would be impossible for others to miss.  Other times I wonder if anyone can see anything at all. But I suppose that's my need for approval "shining" through...and an entirely different blog entry. ;D

On the third day of the challenge, it was the National Day of Prayer.  I went with the three oldest boys to church to participate in the activity (for lack of a better word) there. It just so happened that Day Three of the challenge was "Submission to Authority." What a day to pray for our leaders, you are probably thinking. But as I read through the verses in the chapter that day before leaving for church, I wasn't really thinking about the earthly authorities I should (in most cases) submit to, I was thinking about a Heavenly One that, it suddenly dawned on me, I hadn't. Oh, sure, I'm a Christian. And, oh, sure, I pray about things. But had I really taken every decision, every desire I had for my boys, myself, my family, before God and truly in my heart said, "Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done?" I could not answer, "yes," to that.

For the first time I saw that throughout my entire life I have held on a little to each prayer I presented to God. That part that I thought I could just do something about. Or, more likely, that part I just couldn't trust Him with. I do have trust issues...but I suppose that's a whole 'nother blog entry as well.

As I sat in the quiet chapel at church, I realized that this is probably the hardest thing to pray, ever, in the history of anything. It is just so tough to give, I mean truly give, every single last thing over to Him. We want to maintain some control over things and, oftentimes, we really don't want God to give us what we need, only what we want.

I'd love to report that I prayed that prayer and now it's just the easiest thing to keep praying it every time I pray and really mean it. It's not. In fact, I still feel the same strange feeling inside when I pray it, and even now as I am writing about it. I don't know what it is. Terrified anticipation? But I know the Lord is true to His Word, and that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it.

I started praying for my boys, and ended up praying for myself as well. And, let's face it, I really needed it. :)

Our pastor read this on Sunday, thought it was appropriate:

I asked God to give me strength. 
He gave me difficulties to make me strong. 

I asked God to give me courage. 
He gave me dangers to overcome. 

I asked God to give me prosperity. 
He gave me brain, brawn to work. 

I asked God to give me knowledge. 
He gave me problems to solve. 

I asked God to give me love. 
He gave me troubled people to help. 

I received nothing I wanted. 
I received everything I needed.

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