Friday, February 8, 2013

Ninety and Counting...

    I am reading Mark Batterson's book the Circle Maker.  He alludes to the fact that practice, the sheer act of repetition, creates mastery.  To be a world class athlete or musician there seems to be one common denominator:  10, 000 hours of practice.  The pure investment of time is what separates the everyday from the elite. 
   Over the last several months, I've spent hours and hours in prayer.   The biggest change I have noticed has been my reaction to life.  When a problem arises, my first instinct is to pray.  Isn't that what it should have been all along?
   For example, this afternoon my husband gave me some alarming news.  Something we had prayed for and agreed on was about to be changed and there was seemingly nothing we could do about it.  His visceral reaction caused the muscles in his jaw to tighten and created a tension in his voice.  I could tell his blood pressure was rising by the flush in his cheeks. 
    After listening, I calmly assured him that no decision man makes is final.  We quietly prayed at the table and he left.  As the car eased away from the drive, I sent the children to their bedrooms and shut the door.  I found my kneeling spot by the couch and burst into tears and moans, crying to the Lord.  I reminded him of the early mornings I spent praying for my husband.  I pleaded with him for favor in an unfavorable circumstance.  Like Elijah, I prayed with fervor and urgency.
  "Mom, is everything ok?"  a tiny voice stammered.  My hair and makeup were surely a mess by this time.  I wiped the tears from my face and explained that I was crying out to God for mercy.  I was very upset and the only one who could help me was God.  Now my children knew what was going on.  They knew my prayer.  Surely God would respond if only for the sake of their young, tender faith.
    Concerned children quietly slipped away and I continued to pray until there were no more words, no more cries and the ache in the pit of my stomach had left.  I sent my husband and message.
  "Any word?"  I typed.   He proceeded to tell me the tides had changed and God had granted him favor.  My prayer had been answered.  I smiled.  I rejoiced.  I told the children how God heard our cry and soaked in the sweetness of the smiles that plastered their faces. 
  God always answers.  God always hears.  Sometimes, like today,  it's exactly how I hoped he would answer.  Then there are times when I am a child and do not understand the ways of my wise Father.  I stammer and question. I feel confused and discouraged.  But even then I know that He is a good Father.  His ways are not my ways.  His thoughts are not my thoughts. His gifts are good and perhaps the best gift of all is the journey we enjoy as we seek Him.  Who knows what 1,000 hours of prayer might bring.  Who can imagine what 10,000 hours of prayer would do.  Perhaps after 10,000 hours of prayer one might really understand what Paul commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ...pray without ceasing.  Can prayer become a state of mind?  Can prayer become as natural as breathing?  I hope so.

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