Don’t Pray for Patience…. (WOW! Write.On.Wednesday! takes 2 minutes to read)

Early in my teaching career and as a new Christian, I made it a habit to pray for patience – especially because I was experiencing some challenges teaching high school aged kids. Interestingly, some of the tougher kids just kept getting testier….until one day:

My boyfriend (now my husband, Joe) gently stopped me as we were praying together when I asked for patience. He said, “When you pray for patience it’s like you’re asking the Lord to give you more challenges and struggles, which would lead to needing patience. Instead of praying for patience let’s pray for God to give you wisdom and understanding.”

Immediately I began praying for one particular student who was quite the trouble maker. As I prayed to better understand her and for wisdom in handling her misbehavior, the Lord began (through His word and through prayer) to show me the godly responses I needed with her. After a relatively short time, I recall her (and me) softening and eventually we developed a sweet relationship because I understood her background, her personality, and some of the reasons why she was acting like she did.

That observation and instruction from Joe changed part of my prayer life forever. Never have I prayed for ‘patience’ again, but for wisdom and understanding over these many years.

It has been interesting to watch the Lord give insight in many situations – from people I just didn’t care for, to helping people with their unending struggles, to dealing with challenges in my personal life, our marriage, to raising an adult child with special needs.

A few years later, when I had children in early elementary school years, I ran into this former student who was now, along with me, a mother to a child in the same school. She reflected with me how tough she was back in high school and said, “I don’t know what happened, but I remember it was really rough for a while and then we really liked each other.” I said, “It’s because I prayed to understand you.” She smiled, and as we talked a little further, I think we both understood and knew the source. Maybe that prayer focus I learned so many years ago changed her prayer life, too!

REPENT: Just Do It! (WOW! Write.On.Wednesday! Blog takes 2.25 minutes to read)

Today is the National Day of Repentance. Tomorrow will follow with the National Day of Prayer.

Somehow I never knew about it until today. I’m thankful that I did just learn about it, because yesterday my friend Preston Lund shared something on FACEBOOK. Here are his words:

“What happened to repentance? It’s like ‘as long as I am honest about my sin issue it’s ok.’ I don’t think that’s true. I think repentance somehow activates God’s grace, the imparting of His power to overcome. When we repent with genuine contrition and mourning over sin, then it’s ok because we are working on it; God is working on it. But if you don’t care, God knows and He isn’t going to violate your will and demean His relationship with you. Repent. Just start trying however you can think to start trying. Call someone. Pray this prayer. “I want to want to want to be like You Jesus.” Don’t be prideful, and don’t let my hypocrisy stop you if you see me fail. Just call out now and be saved, be renewed, restore incredibly important fellowship with the God who gave you life, TWICE!!!!”

He understands that repenting is a missing piece of the puzzle of our Christianity and our responsibility as a believer. We miss fellowship with our Lord when we continue in sin and we miss being an example to others who are questioning, wondering, and maybe considering following Christ. We’re not perfect, but when we repent we at least show that we are serious about our relationship with God.

Last week I blogged: The Standard of Measure by Which We Appear to be Holy. Preston’s words embellish what I wrote about. We think we can fool God and man. We think we can “get away” with things, but we can’t. My husband Joe and I often meet with many couples whose marriages are failing. Usually they’re failing because of an affair, but that isn’t the real reason. Peel back the layers on the onion and you’ll find a very pungent odor. Peel back the layers of marriage and you’ll find the root sin of pride along with its other manifestations: selfishness, wanting to be happy at the expense of anyone else, pornography, lust, sexual addiction, selfishness, gluttony, anger, greed, jealousy, envy…..and I’m sure you can add many more to the list.

Let’s take a minute and ask the Lord to reveal our sin to us. THEN, repent of it. REPENT means to turn away from it. Walk away. Run away. BOLT! Don’t look back and don’t do it again. Stop toying with it. Stop playing with it. Stop being tempted by it. STOP IT. Ask those you’ve hurt to forgive you, and make amends to make things right. God has the glue to hold friendships, marriages, and life together. But we have to make the effort to correct our wrongs.

THE KEY: Take the first step and just do it.

I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT! (WOW! Write.On.Wednesday.)

166702_552665164755356_828459902_n

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing a lot of different things, like making dinner, doing laundry, talking to someone on the phone, or a multitude of things that simply must get done. I often have to muster up the energy and say to myself, “JUST DO IT!”

Prayer, though not one of my household duties, is equally as difficult sometimes. It’s a spiritual duty and discipline and I know the importance of it because I’ve seen answers and results of prayer. For that reason, I must pray even when I don’t feel like it. It is a discipline as much my household chores are but so much more valuable and important.

Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer is not preparation for the work, it is the work.” (His Utmost for My Highest) Prayer is often the last resort but should be the first thought. Prayer is where our decisions are made and our “next steps” determined. Prayer is where we seek the Lord for approval and direction regardless of our own plans.

The quiet closet of prayer is where ministry leaders are lifted up, where families are embraced and cared for and where our connections to the Creator are made. All that the Lord gives us to do….needs prayer support. May we see prayer as the WORK – not just the preparation for the work….and then do it – whether we feel like it or not!