Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Every now and then (and more often as I get older), I have one of those weeks when my heart is burdened and heavy for all of the pain, hurt, sickness, loss, broken relationships, and heartache around me.  Although I have certainly been on the side of the one needing intercessory prayer (and still am!), it seems that more and more I am called on to pray for others.

I consider it a privilege.  And a responsibility.

And you know what?  It's changing me.  

Having desperate need pushes us to the throne of grace and KEEP US THERE.

Right where I need to be.

We aren't in that season of life, anymore, when everyone is a happy newlywed or welcoming sweet babies all of the time (well, WE welcomed them all of the time, anyway!).  Not that those seasons aren't FULL of prayer and desperate need.  They are.  But now those around me are dealing with much harder things.  Aging parents, wayward children, marriages that have become unbearable.

It could easily fill me with heaviness and discouragement.

And sometimes it does.

But the difference between seeing all of the need around me and letting it steal my joy - and being able to live with joy IN the midst of it?


And Thankfulness.

I have almost forgotten how to pray for long periods of time in QUIET.  Because life isn't quiet (at the troops) and prayer can't wait.  

I pray in the car, at meals, in the living room after a phone call, in bed at night, in the shower, while talking on the phone, while washing the dishes or folding the laundry.  Because I've learned at least one thing about prayer - or maybe about myself - when the Holy Spirit says THIS IS IMPORTANT, I stop right then and give it to Jesus.

Some needs might be forgotten, otherwise.  Some needs would be worried over if not given to the Lord right away.  And some needs. . . are lifted up over and over again all day long every day for. . . as long as it takes.

Prayer has been a hard thing for me in the past.  Not the praying, itself, but the resolution of why I should pray to a Sovereign God who is in control, anyway.  He doesn't need ME.  Or my prayers.

But He uses them.  

He uses them to change ME.  To smack me upside the head (so-to-speak) and remind me to BE THANKFUL.  He uses them to show me HOW to love others and serve others and intercede FOR others.  Prayer moves me beyond myself and helps me focus on my Sovereign Loving GOD.

I Thessalonians 5:17.  "Pray without ceasing."

I've never really thought about how that verse comes right after, "Rejoice evermore," and right before, "In everything give thanks."

Turns out, it's MUCH easier to "give thanks" when we are "praying without ceasing."  

And speaking of giving thanks. . . 

A short list since I've already been much too wordy this morning.

1.  RAIN (not so much the hail, but it's been tiny so far at our house) - an answer to many many prayers for our dry state.

2.  Fellowship with sweet friends over tacos on a Wednesday night.

3.  A repaired microwave that is scheduled to return this morning.  

4.  Clothes to wash and iron, today.  And children to wear them.

5.  Food to cook and bake.  It's a chocolate chip cookie kind of day, don't you think?

6.  Little Man to keep me company at home while it's cold and rainy outside.

7.  The treadmill.  I need to spend some time on it, today.

8.  The blessing of being a stay at home mom.  No more whining!

And now, it's time to get this day started.  Praying without ceasing, giving thanks in everything.

Oh.  And the rejoicing?  Answered prayer makes it easy to rejoice!  But even when He doesn't answer?  Or doesn't answer in the way we would have chosen?  We can rejoice in our salvation.  The best is yet to come!

And THAT is something to be thankful for!

Happy Thursday!

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