Prayer: With Open Hands

open_hands.jpgI am a part of a wonderful church.  Flaws?  Shortcomings?  Things that can drive me batty?  Oh yes.  But, I am a part of a wonderful church.  I love the church — flaws and all.  I am sure they love me — flaws and all.

Several weeks ago, I told our church about an opportunity I had to teach in a graduate school at a Christian college (basically a seminary).  I would be teaching ministry courses.  I asked our church to pray about it.  Several weeks later (today), I thanked the church for their prayers and told them that I was declining the offer.  Things had just not come together.  I believe this is the right decision.  I also believe it is an answer to prayer.

Meanwhile, the past few days I have been praying for my daughter who is in Ghana working at the Village of Hope.  She is with twenty-five college students.  When I first began praying for her, I primarily prayed for her safety, her comfort, her peace at times when she was lonely and discouraged, etc.  All of that is understandable for a father who is praying for his daughter.  The problem was that prayers never really dealt with what was most important in her life or in the kingdom of God.

Several days ago, I began to also pray that her ministry, with the other college students, would make a significant difference in someone’s life.  I prayed that the gospel would be spread in Ghana.  I prayed for Village of Hope and their ministry with those children.  

A few minutes ago, we received the first e-mail from her since arriving in Ghana a week ago.  She said that she was writing from the only "non-mud hut building in the whole town."  This town or village was 17 hours from the Village of Hope.  She described northern Ghana as a place where "everyone is Muslim."  Hmmmm.  She is thinking about much more than her comfort or peace.  Maybe her dad should as well.

Finally, I am thinking and praying about the future.  I am free to think about the present and future because right now, I have everything I need.  (I don’t mean this in a glibe way.)  Rather, I mean that God really does give us everything we need for a completely satisfying relationship with him. 

You have probably heard more than you have interest in knowing.  Yet, I would be very interested in knowing what you are praying for.  What is the prayer of your heart that is repeated again and again?

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19 thoughts on “Prayer: With Open Hands

  1. Jim, Thanks for sharing that. Without getting into specifics I’m praying that in all the brokenness we see around us as well as in oiurselves at times, that in specific instances of this God’s grace and blessing will be poured out and overflow for the blessing of many. Something like that. So that there’s not only solutions to problems but blessing from God in their place. Something like that at least on my heart now today.

  2. I went to the nursing home today feeling pretty battered and on edge. But God answered prayer; we had a good time in singing, the Word and "taking communion". And problems all around that, but God’s blessing there as well. Maybe that’s what spurred my thought in the direction it is in.

  3. Now that I read what you wrote I am certainly praying again for your daughter and her safety but also for the spiritual safety of the souls of those she is in contact with. There is certainly a spiritual battle going on there that I am glad someone is willing to fight. I am spending time with a friend who has a pentecostal background. While we don’t see eye to eye on several things I cannot help but respect his trust in God. I pray that I could grow in some areas that I need to grow in spiritually to be an instrument used for God and not just sitting on the shelf.

  4. God has so given us more than we need.  I pray coninually to be delivered from temptation.  I pray continually for His blessing to be on my children.  Thanks for the post and we all pray that your daughter remains strong in the Lord and through His power takes Jesus to her world.

  5. Two recurring prayers.  First is a mixture of being overwhelmed with my children moving into adulthood (one entering the Navy and one finishing college) and thankfulness at the prospect of God giving me this great priviledge of parenting three great kids.  Second, my thoughts are constantly on a desire for a radical career change when I retire.  I pray about these thoughts and how God can use me. 

  6. I’m praying about thoughts.  For myself, the staff of my church and others, I’m pryaing that I we figure out how to take every thought captive, to the obedience of Christ.  And that we recognize thinking that needs to change, and have the courage to change it. 

  7. Jim, Like you, I pray for my children –  that each of them will grow into strong servants of God.  I pray for my husband, that he will continue to grow in the Lord.  I pray that I will be the kind of person God intends me to be and that I will influence others to come to know Him.  Of course, there are many other things as well, but these are the most constant, long-term prayers of my heart.

  8. L.L.,Thanks for your comment regarding the church.  This is something I’ve had to work on.  For a long time, all I saw were the flaws, the warts, the shortcomings, etc. —of any church I worked with.  Of course, I am still aware of these things.  Yet, I have really tried to love the church–like God has loved me.  My love is imperfect but at least it is not longer centered around the flaws of others. 

  9. Connie,It is interesting how these constant, long term prayers sum up what is really important to us.    Thanks very much.  

  10. Julie,Thanks for what you said regarding "thoughts."  It is so easy to focus on behavior while we allow our thought world to run free (or better said "remain captive.")Thanks 

  11. George,You really are going through some life change with one child going into the Navy and the other one graduating from college.  Wow….  

  12. Ted,Thanks.  I’m always amazed at how God works and the places he chooses to provide encouragement (such as the nursing home you mentioned) 

  13. jim, i pray over and over that i am in the best health possible so i can enjoy my young children now and watch them grow into teenagers, adulthood, professionals, parents, etc. I have terrible habits (or lack of) — exercise, eating properly, and on and on. Why can I not change for myself and for my children?

  14. Liz,Glad to get your comment.  You have already taken one of the most difficult steps.  You have admitted that things are not right.  (That is the tough one for most if not all of us to admit.)Breaking out of ruts (bad habits) can be difficult.  I think it is important to really work on reasons for changing.  Are there reasons for changing that you find really compelling?What small step could you take today?  Be praying about that small step. (I will be glad to discuss this further)

  15. I am praying for my 6-year-old daughter.  She is having problems – lying, stealing, etc.  and she refuses to really talk about anything.  I pray that she discovers the freedom of honesty.  It has been so hard for me to make the point to her that lying is not just wrong, it’s hurting her.  I know it’s a little thing in the scheme of all that goes on in the world, but if anyone who is reading would like to add a prayer for the heart of my daughter, this mom would be grateful. 

  16. rchampan,Thanks for leaving this prayer request.  I prayed for her a few minutes ago.  I also prayed for you.  I am sure others will pray for the situation as they read this comment.Rearing children is so difficult and calls for wisdom.  Nothing caused me to pray like trying to rear my children and not knowing what to do.May God bless.