Thursday, May 19, 2011

Surprised by prayer

Recently, I've been praying the Lord's Prayer (also known as the disciples' prayer) regularly. And I've been touched by the sentence, "Your will be done--on earth, as it is in heaven." As I've prayed, my heart has cried out, Lord, may your justice and love rise up here in the hearts of those who love you; I long for you to take joy in what is happening here with the image-bearers you've created. Your will be done, right here and right now!

And in saying this, I am longing for purity and righteousness. I am asking that people be drawn to repent of their sins and receive the love of a Risen Savior. I want desperately for the broken to be tended to, loved, for orphans and widows to be cared for, and for those in prison to be visited. For those addicted to substitutes for real joy to be healed and set free.

That leads me to my other prayer of late. I have led a Bible study for women in drug and alcohol addiction recovery for almost a year now. The sweetness of Jesus comes and hangs out in each Scripture read, in each truth applied to sorrow and sin, in each hug extended as though my arms were the arms of our Savior. But...I've needed help. For over six months, I've been praying for another woman with love and maturity to help with the study, to mentor women who want to go deeper, to add her heart and her mind to the cause. I told prayer warriors about this, I mentioned it to people I felt God might speak to, but nothing.

A few weeks ago, I grew impatient. Why, Lord? Why wouldn't you send someone to help these women? They are desperate for you! That day, I wrestled with God and mentioned to my husband my growing discouragement. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised to learn that same day a woman emailed the facility asking if she could start a Bible study there. The director said "We already have one, but I believe the leader is looking for help."

Was I ever. And so, within two days I met with God's provision, and she took over that Sunday while I was out preaching. And now she's helping to mentor these women in need. And I just keep smiling when I think about it. I wonder, "Did that just happen?" And God says, smiling, Yes, my child. I know what you need and when you need it. I see you. 

This week's Bible study filled up and filled over the allotted time, as the women wrestled with God's Word, asking profound questions, sharing deeply from their hearts, wondering about the difference Jesus can make in one individual life. And I said, Yes, Lord! Your will be done right here on earth as it is in heaven.

Your turn. What does the Lord's Prayer mean to you? Are you surprised when God answers your prayer--or not?


  1. Good stuff, my friend! I've been spending time in this prayer as well - the phrase God's been keeping in front of me is "give us this day our daily bread." Our pastor reminded us some time ago that the focus is, give us this day what we need for this day. And, I realized yesterday, that includes the roadmap for today - not a complete atlas, just the one page for today. Only what I need for this day - nothing else.

  2. I like it...the roadmap for today. You and I have quite a bit of flexibility in our schedules, so we definitely need the roadmap. At least I do! But only what I need for today...