The Journey of Prayer

Here we are together yet in different places. Every journey unfolds uniquely as learning takes place at different rates for different people and life offers up challenges and lessons not all alike, so no wonder we see differently.

It’s summer, always a time of year for reflection for me, and one that both encourages and weighs heavily because of what summer meant to me all my growing up years, and to an extent, what it still does.

The long, hot days come to the south and typically rain lessens leaving a thirsty, scorched earth that testifies of need for both survival and growth of all things earthbound. And as brilliant as we humans think ourselves to be, we haven’t figured out to open the heavens to let down the rain.

Summer for us was about days at home and visits to revivals where old-timey Baptist preachers gave their all to convey the truth of Jesus and His gift of salvation, free to all who would come and ask. Those memories are as vivid now as if I lived them just last year, all the years still alive in my heart with names and faces and tears all joined to tell a story, their stories of how they came to know Him as Savior.

We knelt in prayer, alters full to overflowing, down the aisles heads and knees bent low and hearts opened to ask, to receive. I well remember the old preachers making the alter call and making clear it was open to all, “even the stranger that might be in the midst.”

Those memories, precious…

Folding clothes this morning, words from a very old song, “tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus, He is a friend that’s well-known. You have no other such a friend or brother, tell it to Jesus alone” just bubbled up and came from my lips spontaneously. That’s the way it is for me especially in summer. The old is fresh again and the good from long past is what memory offers up. For that, I’m thankful.

Prayer has been something so pressing and important to me for years. In recent years I’ve had a deep desire to pray together with other mothers, for our children, our homes, and families. I’ve learned it’s one of those things, though, prayer is, that many people dread to do in the presence of others. I understand that it’s hard for many reasons, but I believe it’s far harder in the long run when we don’t pray together. It’s hard to hold grudges against people you pray with. It’s hard not to love those whose hearts you hear crying out to the same Heavenly Father you call on for help in the very same struggles you pray about. It’s hard to fake anything with people you pray with because real prayer demands real vulnerability, truth, laying aside all that isn’t genuine. Wow, looking at what prayer demands clarifies why Jesus told us not just to pray but to pray together. He did it because it’s what’s best for us. He is a good, good Father.

Remembering revivals I always remember the white-haired man who preached the most to my soul in my most delicate years. His voice was so kind and his words so full of wisdom. He treated everyone the same and I never heard him waste an opportunity in the pulpit. It was all about Jesus and the world He came to save. All foolishness was left outside the church doors along with all things that might hinder the call to salvation. When that man proclaimed the gospel, the spirit-filled sweetness of heaven was palpable. What a gift this servant had and what a difficult life he lived, yet in those moments when he was abiding in his calling, JOY was evident. He taught me by example what it looked like for a man to live out the call. I’ll never forget…

One of the last times I heard him preach, he mentioned his one grandchild that had not yet professed hope in Christ. He said, “I almost said, when she is saved, I’ll be satisfied, BUT no, not then, not until I see Jesus, and THEN, THEN I’ll be satisfied!” And with a sincere shout, we all said in our hearts along with him, “AMEN!” I’ve never forgotten that sermon of over 30 years ago or the truth in that statement. Only when I see Jesus will I be satisfied.

I long to hear and see with my eyes an alter filled again with bowed knees and heads, sincere tears shed for the cause of Christ, and hands lifted in surrender to His Holy Will.

A precious Mother, a precious friend came recently on a day when it was just me here with Riley and Noah. She came because I called and she knew what I wanted and more importantly what I needed. She came ready for prayer and pray we did. How precious…someone came and they came to pray. I almost broke when I saw her bend the knee. She came to petition the throne of God on my behalf and the behalf of my children. These are the things that we never forget. Gifts that cannot be taken away. It’s what matters most, what builds bridges and binds up wounds and lays a foundation for others to walk after us.

Never ever forsake the honor and gift of prayer. It is the way of love.

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