A Wish is a Feeble Prayer

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Prayer for a change of scenery

Last year my husband spent 6 months overseas supervising a project for his company, a defense contractor. It was an immense sacrifice to be away from the family for such an extended period; and it was neither a safe nor pleasant environment. He joked that he was either going to come home a hero or a scapegoat if things didn't turn out as planned. As it happened, it was not a joke afterall--he was not a hero.

Without going into all the details, by the time he returned there were a number of personnel changes and a reorganization in his division of the company that left him working with a group of people who neither knew him nor liked him, and they certainly did not appreciate his skills and experience. He was assigned a position for which he had never been trained and one that did not capitalize on his expertise.

I'm sure there are a host of people in the world who have found themselves in similar situations. It is frustrating, painful, stressful. During the 10 months he has been going through this trial he has experienced the full gamut of emotions: anger, determination to succeed, depression, etc. It has seemed very unfair in so many ways. But as everyone knows: life is very often unfair. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.

In God's classroom there are often very difficult lessons to learn. A former pastor of ours once told us that when God intends to teach us something we may try to avoid the lesson by changing the classroom but the same lesson will show up elsewhere. I think this may be part of what is happening in my husband's situation. But oh how painful this has been.

So my prayer for this season in his life is this:

Let him learn what you are trying to teach him, Lord. Do a redemptive work in his life through this difficult time. Provide times of refreshing and encouragement along the way that he won't become so disheartened. Make him stronger through this trial, more determined to persevere in the things of God. Open up a door of new opportunity for him in Your perfect timing with a job that will use his unique skills; where he will be challenged and excited about his career. Help me to be understanding, affirming and supportive during this time. Protect him from the wiles of the enemy; give him discernment, grace, and courage. Thank you, gracious Father. Amen.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Am Not My Daughter's Conscience

We sent our oldest daughter off to college in late August. She was homeschooled from the beginning and moral education was and is a top priority in our home education. About 7 years ago we chose to discontinue cable television and be more careful about the kinds of entertainment we watched on television. The only thing we watch are videos or dvds of movies that we check reviews on or TV series that we know are unobjectionable. None of us believe we have missed anthing by not seeing the TV shows, commercials, or made-for-TV movies that are standard fare for cable or broadcast television. On the rare occasions we have rented an R-rated movie (usually for language) we use a built in capability in our DVD/VCR to blank out bad language. The bottom line is: We don't want to watch movies/shows that use bad language, show nudity or sex scenes. We are free and revel in the liberty of a clean heart and mind.

All that to say that my daughter reveled in her freedom away from home and family restraints to start viewing a lot of movies that were not allowed at home. She would tell me about the movies she was watching and I was alarmed at the amount of R-rated fare she was consuming. Yes, she told me what she was watching. She may have been using poor judgement but she was honest.

What made me more concerned was the fact that my daughter had often been the watchdog for what the family watched. Many times she would be the one to say, "Mom, we shouldn't be watching this." And we would stop whatever it was and take it back to the rental store.

I knew that I could not tell her what to watch while she was away at college. If I were to forbid her to watch something inappropriate she may be compelled to disobey me or follow my instructions with a bitter heart. Neither response would be healthy or instuctive in using wise judgement to make good choices.

So I decided to pray to my Heavenly Father, who is also her Heavenly Father, and who cares infinitely more about her well-being than I do. I asked the Lord to convict her where she was making poor choices, help her to guard her heart against ungodliness and give her strength to do what is godly.

On her first visit home the conversation turned to her movie watching habits. My younger two children were sitting at the table listening to our conversation. My college student said the Holy Spirit had convicted her that she was watching some movies that weren't appropriate and she had made a commitment to only watch movies/programming that she knew we would watch at home. I cannot tell you how proud I was to hear her say that. And more than that, I was grateful to God for His faithfulness.

Thank you, Lord, for hearing a mother's prayer for her daughter and answering so graciously.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Believe in Prayer . . .

So why don't I pray more?

The reasons are myriad and none of them acceptable.

1. I'm too busy to stop to take the time.
2. I think I can handle this one on my own.
3. I forget to pray.
4. It will work out okay without prayer.
5. And so on.

Let me start with the first one. Martin Luther said he was too busy not to pray. That pretty much says it. We are missing out on intimacy with God and divine intervention in our needy lives when we do not take time to pray.

Secondly, perhaps I can handle this one on my own. But why would I want to handle it that way when I have limited wisdom and imperfect understanding? Why wouldn't I want my Heavenly Father's involvement in whatever concerns me?

Forget to pray? I don't forget to eat, I don't forget to get dressed or brush my teeth. How dare I forget to pray!

Who wants life to just work out okay? I want victorious life!