Big Picture Prayers

Monday, January 04, 2010

This past weekend at church, Matt Proctor, president of both Sean and I's alma mater (Ozark Christian College) preached a wonderful sermon on the power of a praying church. He reminded us that God delights in answering our prayers. God just loves it when we ask for something in His name and He fulfills it. And I truly believe that there is no prayer He loves to answer more than the prayers for lost souls to come to Him. Matt's message this weekend really challenged me... what are my prayers about? How big are my prayers? Are my prayers concerned with the 'bigger picture' or just the 'here and now'?

Lately, of course, my prayers have been centered around Whitney. For God to perform a miracle, to completely heal her... to somehow take away that complete extra set of chromosomes so that she can live a full, long, healthy and happy life on this earth with us. This would be a 'here and now' answer to prayer. I completely believe that my God is big enough, strong enough, and GOD enough to do this. And I know that many times, God does see fit to answer these 'here and now' prayers for earthly healing. But I also know that my prayer may not be answered in the way that I want it to be answered. God's answer to my prayers for Whitney may come in the form of a much 'bigger picture' answer. The tough thing about the 'bigger picture' answer to prayer is that we don't always see the answer right away, or perhaps even in this lifetime. When the heaviness of the day to day tasks sink in, it can be hard to cling to the big picture answers.

What are these 'big picture' answers to prayer? I think that more times than not, the 'big picture' answers to 'here and now' prayers are generally fulfilled in hearts being turned toward Christ. And as I am slowly (and ashamedly sometimes reluctantly) learning, there truly is no greater thing, no bigger answer to prayer than for another person to come to know the love of our Savior. I know that as we encounter the weeks and months ahead that we will meet many people-- doctors, nurses, etc-- who do not know Christ. If there could be any 'big picture' answer to our prayers for Whitney, it would be that because of her short life, and the hope that Sean and I and all of our friends and family have in Christ, that someone may come to know this same hope in Him. I don't know how heaven works, but how great would it be for that individual who comes to know Christ through the testimony of Whitney to get to see her again in heaven?

As my husband reminds me all the time, Whitney is going to be fine. And we are going to be fine. There is a greater day coming, when there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more loss and empty arms. There is a great day coming when we will all be reunited at the feet of our Father. But there are many people, so many people who have yet to discover the hope of this glorious day. So I need to be praying specifically for the people we will meet and even my some of my deareset friends who have yet to receive Christ... praying 'big picture' prayers that God will work all of this to the good of those who love Him.

So if you are wondering about a way you can pray for us, it would be that we can keep in mind the bigger picture. I'll be honest, in the day to day things we have to deal with, I often lose sight of this big picture. When I am sad and upset, the 'big picture' idea doesn't always seem to help. Colossians 4:2-6 has become a prayer of mine, and one that I would love for you to pray for us as well. Here it is:

"2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

Pray that God will open doors for us to share the reason for our hope. Pray that we will have clarity of thought and mind when those opportunities do arise. Pray that in the midst of our sadness, we may still be able to proclaim the Good News of Christ. Pray that we will be full of grace in our speech and in our actions. And pray for the hearts of those that have yet to know Christ.

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