It’s Friday, January 13, and I’m sitting at the park while the kids and a friend sled. We finally got our first big snow of the winter. January 12 was pretty late for it to arrive, but this Southerner has enjoyed the first warmer winter since I’ve lived here, now 10 years! We had temperatures in the 50s just two days ago! I stood in the sun outside talking to a friend and loved every minute of it.
The last few years I’ve had a theme for the year. Last year it was the Lord as my Shepherd. Every year, it’s such a blessing to ponder a theme, study more, and it seems to go with the circumstances of the year.
Last year as I was faced with a decision I didn’t know how to make, I realized I wanted to know the end answer immediately. But I had to trust that God knew that answer, and I simply needed to let Him show me one step at a time, to lead me as my Shepherd. Over the course of a few months, it became obvious and unmistakable what His plan was. He led me step by step, revealing just what I needed for each moment.
My theme this year is prayer. I had been in a bit of a rut lately, and two days ago, I finally took time to pray. I was amazed at the things that happened that very day after specifically praying about some things. I asked the Lord for wisdom about a friend, and she literally emailed me less than an hour later telling me the very answer I had prayed about!
I had asked him some things about purpose, like “am I missing anything?” I see some of my friends doing amazing things, adopting, moving around the world — and I was wondering if I was being faithful and pursuing all He wanted me to. It seemed so clear as people came to mind that the Lord was wanting me just to be faithful to the ones He has put in my path.
I needed to go out to get some books at the library, and ordinarily when I need to do that, I just go at lunch. But I decided to go out at 10:30 a.m. I debated this back and forth, this out of the ordinary timing. I was so close to turning around. But I went, and when I arrived at the library and parked, a lady was by her car beside me. When she turned around, we both looked at each other shocked. She is someone I haven’t seen in a while, who doesn’t live in the area, who I only knew through a previous work relationship. She went on to share some heavy burdens, and she said she had thought about calling me to pray for her. She felt sure God had brought us into each other’s path that day. And of course, I had no doubt about that. It was an answer to prayer.
I also was convicted by something the Lord had shown me to do in the past, children He has me outreach to, and its been awhile since I took the initiative. So today at the park, we are all together again, 3 sledding while one sits with me playing on the iPhone. I canceled dental appointments for my kids so we could invite them today after school.
Prayer. God used prayer to open my eyes to things I would have overlooked. He hasn’t asked me personally (at least yet!) to go on the mission field or adopt, though I can love and support those who do, but He has placed before me people to love and encourage, alongside my commitment to my family and my work. I am thankful that the Lord is gracious to lead me as my Shepherd, and I pray I will have ears to hear and eyes to see where He is leading. I pray I will pray with consistency and belief that those moments are powerful and effective because of Him.
A quote from Spurgeon to end: “Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer. We must be immersed in prayer as in our element, and so pray without ceasing. Lord, teach us so to pray that we may be more and more prevalent in supplication.”