I was sitting in the waiting room at the health department and there was only one other lady in the room with me. She started off by talking to me about my little boy who was dancing and singing while we waited. She told me to relish those days because they pass by so quickly. As a young mother, people tell me this a lot. I looked down at my cell phone and pretended to be busy so that I did not have to talk to this woman. However, she was chatty and I assumed on drugs. I never looked up as she continued to talk about the job interview she just came from, her children that had been living with her husband and his wife for the past year, and how difficult life seemed to be.
When she was called back I realized I had completely missed out on an opportunity to speak life into this woman when she clearly needed me to. I was too busy judging her and trying to keep to myself. I quickly prayed that God would send me another opportunity.
A few minutes later, a lady sat down across from me. She looked tired and after a few minutes of talking I discovered that she was pregnant with her second child. She told me her first son was premature and that he had spent 100 days in the NICU. She was worried that this baby would come too early. Here was my second opportunity. I could easily ask this lady if I could pray over her and her unborn baby. But, I was crippled by the fear of what she would think about me. My name was called over the intercom before I ever got the courage to speak.
God is constantly speaking to us. Most of the time, we simply tune Him out. But, when we listen to Him, God is faithful to speak directly to us. We must follow through with the task He assigns to us.
I will never know the rest of that lady’s story. I will never know if her son was delivered safely. I will never know if she will come to know my Jesus. But I do know that on that day, I did not do my best to glorify God and listen to his commands. I allowed distraction, fear, and doubt to get in the way of obedience. A simple prayer could have made a huge impact in the lives of two women that day but I allowed the enemy to have victory.
I cannot hide the thoughts of my heart from you, Lord (Jeremiah 23:24). Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).
Help to cast away my anxiety and turn to you in everything (Philippians 4:6). You know my needs and will provide for me. Help me to not seek the things of the world, but to seek the kingdom of God (Luke 12:29-31). When I cry out to you in my trouble, you will save me from my darkness (Psalm 107:13). You will deliver me from my troubles when I cry out to you (Psalm 34:17-18).
You tell us that an angry man stirs up strife and a furious man abounds in transgression (Proverbs 29:22). Help me to not be quick to anger (Ecclesiastes 7:9) Help me to not be envious of others or self-seeking because evil exists where envy and self-seeking exist (James 3:16).
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Plam 51:10). Help me to be spiritually minded, so that I may have life and peace (Romans 8:6). Give me the wisdom to be pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).
Renew the spirit of my mind (Ephesians 4:22-24). Help me to be of good cheer in times of tribulation because You have overcome the world (John 16:33) and your comforts delight my soul (Psalm 94:19).
Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). You oppose the proud, but give grace to the humble (James 4:6). You bring down the mighty from their throne and exalt those of humble estate (Luke 1:52).
Help me to humble myself like a child, so that I may enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2-4), because you have said “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15).
Do not allow myself to justify myself before men because You know my heart and what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15). So, then, what good is it to me if I gain the whole world but lose my soul? Help me to humble myself and to take up my cross daily to follow you (Luke1:23-25).
You are a faithful God and nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate me from your love that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). I will give thanks to you because your love endures forever (2 Chronicles 21). Help me to not have fear because you are with me. You will strengthen me, help me, and uphold me with your righteous hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Help me to recognize who my battle is truly against (Ephesians 6:12). I will surrender to you, Lord, because the battle is yours (2 Chronicles 15). I know that the enemy will flee from you (Psalm 68:1) and not have victory over me (Psalm 30:1). You will give me strength and protect me from him (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Be a light when I am in darkness (Micah 7:8). Keep me from temptation and guard me from the evil one (Matthew 6:13).
This week’s prayer is a prayer about being a diligent worker. The Coach is in law school, and these verses are frequently posted in areas around our house. While they are particularly helpful for him as a student, they apply to us all. Everything that we do should be done “enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Whether we are students, working moms, or stay-at-home moms, everything we do is for the glory of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).
I will commit my work to you Lord and know that you will help me to achieve my plans (Proverbs 16:10). Help me to work cheerfully and enthusiastically (Romans 12:12). Help guard my heart so that I will labor without complaining (Philippians 2:14).
Everything I do is for Your glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Help me to remember that I am working only to serve You and not others (Colossians 3:23-24). Through hard work, You will bless me (Proverbs 12:24) and You will allow me to bless those in need (Ephesians 4:28). Help me to not be lazy (Romans 12:11).
Each week I would like to share a scripture based prayer. This first week, I thought it would be appropriate for the topic of my prayer to be on prayer itself.
Your eyes are on me and you listen to my prayers (1 Peter 3:12). I will praise you when I am cheerful (James 5:13). I will give thanks to you often (Colossians 4:2). I will come to you in times of need and trouble (Psalm 142:1-2). I know that you will help me when I call out to you in distress (Psalm 107:19). If I keep asking, it will be given. If I keep searching, it will be found (Luke 11:9-10).
Please, help me to make my supplication with the right motivations (James 4:3). Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit to intercede for me when I do not know what to pray for as I should (Romans 8:26). Cast away my doubt so that I may believe that I can move mountains through you (Matthew 21:21).
Share your favorite verses on the topic of prayer!
Prayer time has always been difficult for me. I have only recently begun to understand that prayer is just about being with God, listening to Him, and strengthening your relationship.
It is not about specific words. I have always spent too much time worrying about what I should say and being afraid of saying the wrong thing. We don’t have to be overly spiritual or eloquent in our prayer life. We should have a relationship with God that is open and easy. We should be talking to him the way we would talk to a friend or a family member that we love and respect dearly.
It takes work. A relationship with God is just like any other relationship. You have to work at it and spend time together to build your relationship. If you and your spouse only saw each other and talked once every few months, your relationship would not be very solid. The same concept applies to God. If you are only spending time in prayer on occasion, you will never build a deep relationship with Him.
We have to listen. Relationships cannot form when only one person is doing all of the talking. When we are spending time with God, we have to take time to listen to Him.
He wants to spend time with us. Imagine being in a relationship with someone who was never distracted by the television and a smart phone. God is always attentive to us. All we have to do is seek Him and He will join us. He desires to be with us and for us to spend time with Him.
When my husband and I first got married and moved into our little apartment in Oxford, Mississippi, I would have done anything to get a job as a staff accountant. I prayed constantly for a well-paying job that would have supported us as he worked on his PhD. Needless to say, that job didn’t come easily but a job scooping poop for the local animal shelter did.
My mind wandered this morning to how much simpler our life would be if I had that $45,000 a year job I had prayed for. Maybe we wouldn’t have the piles of student loans and I would have my C.P.A. license and an M.B.A.
Many times over the past several years I have asked why God did not answer my prayers.
Most likely, we would not be any better off if my prayers had been answered. My husband would not have had any of the experiences that led him to pursue a law degree. I would have never realized my calling for teaching. Our son would have spent his first two years of life in daycare. And, we probably would still have piles of student loans because expenses have a way of keeping up with income.
James 4:3 says “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
God has a perfect plan for each of us and with time he reveals that plan. Sometimes even our best intentioned prayers are asked wrongly. We ask for healing for the sick, when it is their time to pass. We ask for well-paying jobs, when God wants us to learn to rely on Him. We ask for passing grades, when God desires we choose another course of study.
If I have learned anything through my unanswered prayers, it is this: Unanswered prayers are God’s means of revealing His plan for us. We need only listen.