Thursday, August 9, 2012

Putting Love Into Action: The Call to Pray

Oops! I missed a day, things got crazy here yesterday. Well you know how it goes sometimes. It was grocery day and there was a good bit of child wrangling (parenting) to be done. I want to point out that I did not miss my devotion time though so, Yay me! =)

I love how the Lord works sometimes in our lives, and especially how everyday the things that He puts on my heart correspond with what others are learning and feeling. Spiritually speaking, yesterday was eventful for me. In addition to daily time in the Word, I've been trying to put prayer at the top of my to do list. When you grow up in church it's easy to know that we are instructed to pray continually.....

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:18

....but how do we put that into action? First of all, staying in the Word daily has helped me to keep God at the forefront in my mind. It's much easier to continually pray when I'm focused on it, and hopefully in time, it will be a habit as well. I'm not saying I didn't pray before, but I find that it's easier now.

The wonderful thing about prayer is that it doesn't have to be complicated. I don't have to be educated in all the Thees and Thous to pray....I just have to acknowledge Him. (remember Proverbs 3:6) He knows the needs and the cries of my heart before I ever voice them. I can trust that any and all conversation with my Heavenly Father is heard, and why wouldn't I want to talk to him?  Conversation builds a relationship, and I'm definitely seeking to build my relationship with God. I'm also feeling the call to prayer.

One of my main focuses in prayer has been to learn how to pray for my husband. Reading A Woman After God's Own Heart has prompted me to be more vigilant in this. Another great book that has been extremely helpful is The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. A dear friend loaned it to me and I've got to say it's been so helpful in guiding my prayer for Andy especially on days when trials are present. (I love this book so much, that I'm probably going to need to replace my friends copy, this one is looking a bit raggedy and I'd hate to return it that way.)

Yesterday, was one of those days for Andy and I. Normally, he calls me on his break just to chat for a minute, say I love you, and we hang up. I don't hear from him most of the day. Yesterday though, he called me 4-5 times. It's been a rough week for him, physically he's been in pain. It's also been a stressful week for all the guys at work because they've been getting ready for a visit from a district supervisor. Like most jobs, when the "Big Boss" is expected, co-workers tend to get a little pushy and a little cranky with each other. That was kind of the case this week and Andy was working overtime yesterday on what was supposed to be his day off.

I knew when the first call came early, that something wasn't going right. He was so worn down and discouraged and physically hurting. My husband is a strong man, he's endured more than some people could ever imagine. When I hear pain in his voice no matter the cause, I feel the urge to protect him (I'm not saying he needs me to). Andy calls it my "Mama Bear Instinct." I count it as a blessing and a testament to our relationship that he feels that no matter what he can call me for encouragement or to vent. Yesterday though, I felt helpless. I wanted so badly to help him, to protect him from hurt, and to make it better. I couldn't though. Sometimes, it's hard to be Mama Bear. I can't keep the world away from my family and I can't protect them from every situation. The only resource I had to use.....was prayer.

I can't even begin to describe how I cried out to God yesterday. All of my Mama Bear concern, anger, and pain came pouring out. I curled up on the couch with the copy of The Power of a Praying Wife. I prayed for my husband and every aspect of his life. I prayed for his co-workers as well. I didn't stop praying and crying until I felt peace. Even then, the rest of the day I continued to pray. I let him know that I was praying too. My final call from him yesterday, he was happier. He was still tired, his back was still hurting, but he sounded like his burden was a little lighter. He was also allowed to clock out a half hour earlier than normal to go home.

We aren't quite through this week yet, and Andy is still physically so worn out he could probably sleep for a week, but he left for work this morning with a smile. I'm still praying for him (I ask that you will as well). The peace is there this morning though, that's the power of prayer.

Last night I was talking to a friend about all of the ways that I know Andy loves me and the kids. I don't mean how many times he says the words (which is a lot). I mean how I see his love in his actions. I've never known love so present in action. I feel it in our home. I see it in the slump of his shoulders when he's worked tirelessly all day to provide for us. I see it in the way he holds my children when they need a hug. I see it in the way he tries so hard to help my parents. I see when I wake up to find that the laundry is done. I see it when he faithfully attends church every week even though sometimes Sunday is his only day off. I see it when he's home, every evening on time and not out hanging out or getting into trouble. I see so many ways that my husband puts his love in action, how can I not want to do the same for him?

The most important way I can do that is prayer. There is no greater way I can love my husband than by lifting him up to the One who made him!  I have to pray and do it daily, continually. I can't be there every minute of the day with him, but God is, and will be. I have to trust the plans that he has for Andy and for us. I'm going to do the same for my children. So I'm starting now....will you pray with me?

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