Sunday, July 19, 2009

Praying it Forward

My two-year-old knows his mommy demands immediate obedience. And yet he struggles daily to balance the desire to be independent and do it his way with the desire to make mommy happy by obeying her.

He and I act out the same scene several times a day: he is loving, clingy, and obedient, claiming, “I be a nice boy.” Then, suddenly, this boy who was snuggling so closely with me that you couldn’t tell where he ended and I began…this boy who very seriously whispered “I love you mommy” as he kissed me—suddenly, his own desires clash with my requests and he rebels, no longer wanting anything to do with me.

But I know it’s just a matter of time before he is back at my side saying he’s sorry, renewing those vows of mother-son love, and promising again to be a “nice boy”.

Sadly, all too often, I’ve played out the same scenario with my heavenly Father. On a spiritual high, I will become totally engrossed with in-depth Bible study and prayer, rooting myself so deeply by His life-giving river that I feel I cannot possibly be drawn away from His presence again.

And then step by wayward step, I allow the cares of this world to draw me from the water’s edge. Disobedience, apathy, children, friends, job, household chores, spouse, sheer laziness, exhaustion—they all beckon me away from His presence until His Holy Spirit convicts me, sending me humble, repentant, ashamed, parched as I crawl face-down to Him for a long drink.

In Scripture, King Solomon was on one of the biggest spiritual highs of his life—what God had not allowed his father, David, to accomplish, he had been able to complete. After seven years, the temple, the house of the Lord, was finally finished. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the holies of holies. The people of God were “sacrificing so many sheep and oxen they could not be counted or numbered” (1 Kings 8:5). The glory of the Lord Almighty had descended upon earth to fill the temple with a cloud so thick that “the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud” (1 Kings 8:11).

And yet when Solomon prayed to dedicate the temple, he did not merely rejoice over how close he and Israel were to God at that present moment. Instead, his prayer looked ahead to those times when God’s people would not be walking in obedience to Him:

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin …. And send rain on Your land” (I Kings 8:35-36).

"When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy…if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You…then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You” (I Kings 8: 46, 48-50).

There is a lesson we each must learn from Solomon’s prayer. We must realize our human frailties will eventually draw us from that mountaintop, even if for a short while. Knowing this truth, in those uplifting seasons of indescribable closeness with God, we must pray, asking Him to convict us of our sin during those future times when we will undoubtedly go astray and then forgive us when we truly repent.

This week, start praying in this manner. Pray for God to never give up on you, to never just let you have your own disobedient way, to never let your heart harden to His voice, to never stop hearing your prayers and offering forgiveness, and to never cease prompting you with the Holy Spirit towards a life of complete obedience and a closer walk with Him.

(Photo: Our '05 family trip to Hawaii, looking down from the mountain at the ocean)


  1. Your words are so, so wise! How often I have just through simple distraction neglected God! You know, it can happen so easily before you realize it!

    Yes, I agree with you in prayer, dear friend, to always be one with Him! That Christ will never leave me alone, but hound me when I stray, even for a moment.

    Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. I appreciate you! Hopefully, we will know more soon about my husband's health.

    My migraines are better, and I praise God for that!

    Do take care of yourself! I speak as one who did not do so my entire life, and it does catch up, with much accompanying regret.

    You are such a precious woman of God, wife, and mother, and I will pray for you that God will help you, too, with taking care.

    Much Love,


  2. So awesome, so true, so real, and so timely for us all. I so needed to hear those words as I redirect my life towards obedience in HIS plan... not my own!

  3. Jennifer, yes God is in our midst, and I, too, believe He removed those cells! I praise God for His healing power!

    Thank you for our kindness and prayers.

    Have a lovely weekend.