If you were blessed and grew up in a Christian home, you have undoubtedly heard 100's if not 1,000's of times the phrase, "I'm praying for you". It is a phrase that is said easily among Christians (and oftentimes, I think non - Christians as well). Though I have always believed that God does answer prayers, I don't think I fully appreciated the power of prayer before November 5. I remember being a little (elementary school aged) girl, praying in Wednesday night children's group for my Auntie Pat who was battling breast cancer. I CLEARLY remember praying around the room, and almost every one of us praying, "It it be Your will, let Auntie Pat get better." . . . Auntie Pat DID get better, but not in the way my elementary aged mind thought, for Auntie Pat joined Jesus in Heaven - at an age most of us would say was much too young - leaving behind my grieving Uncle and her 3 children. I'm thankful though for the faith I learned through those prayers. For even though I was young and couldn't grasp the enormity of the "loss" of Auntie Pat, I, even at a young age realized that I had prayed, "if it be Your will". I had a child-like faith that even though I was praying for her healing here on earth, God's WILL overrode my wants.
Today, on the http://www.proverbs31.org/ website, the devotional for the day was about PRAYER. Since I have linked to it, I won't re-write what the devo contained, except for the prayer at the end which read: Dear Lord, thank you for friends who love us with your love. Thank you for faithfully listening to our requests and responding as You see fit. We trust You and love you and honor Your Holy Name. Amen. That was a beautiful way to start my day - a reminder of ALL THE FRIENDS/FAMILY who have been praying for us over these last weeks. I have always believed in the power of prayer, and trusted that God heard our prayers, but I'd never had to be the recipient of SO MANY prayers, so intimately sent up on my (our) behalf. It sure takes on a whole new meaning! It also reminded me to continue in my prayers. The prayers I say daily for the man that Rick was working with on November 5. For the family whose home he was working at. For the members (who are also family friends in a community this size) who were on Rescue Squad duty that day and responded to the 911 call. For those who just "don't get it" - they can't understand the PEACE that God has bestowed upon us. These prayers and many more along with the daily prayers for strength and peace for ourselves. The prayers of thanksgiving and PRAISE for the answered prayers each day, for the blessings of things we didn't even ask for, yet have received. For God's constant watch-care over us - in the BIG and the little ways! Yes, prayer is powerful - a "direct line" to God, a powerful "tool" that we can use to bless and be blessed, to express our needs before the Lord and the BEST way to THANK Him for meeting those needs . . . AS HE SEES FIT!
When we got home from work/school today, the mail contained more than the usual bills, it contained a Christmas card from "Aunt Pearl" . . . who always considered Rick "her little boy" - along with a loving note from her, a sweet note from another local church (the one that Kajsa was gone with on November 5), and some more "just plain good news". AGAIN more reminders of God working all things together for good (which seems an odd thing to say when referring to the death of a best friend, husband, daddy, son, brother, papa . . . yet, it is true - if I stop and take the time to look for the good, it is there every day in one form or another)!
This evening, we were so happy to be able to have supper with our Pastor's family and 2 other dear families from our church . . . ANOTHER blessing (at the end of a VERY LONG and trying day!). As we left, Pastor Dave handed me an envelope that contained a gift from the church and even more precious a letter that contained, in part, these words, You have had your family world turned upside down. WE can never put back together all the pieces. Yet, God in His great wisdom has temporarily rearranged the picture in such a way that it will bring Him greater glory. We also know that what God has done (and is continually doing) has been planned by Him with His perfect wisdom and deep love for all of you. This is mysterious, but it does sustain us and give purpose to our suffering. . . . PLEASE call on any and all of us at any time. Your needs are our needs, your burdens are our burdens; your joys are our joys. WE stand together with you united in Christ, and pledging to be Christ's church and faithful brothers alongside of you. . . . AGAIN, what COMFORT the Lord offers us - through the prayers, support and LOVE of those who are standing, no, not just standing, but PLEDGING to be ALONGSIDE of us. And the wonderful thing is that I know that these are NOT just words on a piece of paper, they are the reality of my life - any of those names listed on the letter ARE there for us - any time, day or night, any need - none to big or too small. Thank you GOD (we LOVE you) for such loving support and thank you Country Bible Church (we LOVE you too!)!
After the Christmas band concert at church, we are home, all settled in for the night, glad tomorrow is Friday, and again RESTING in the Lord! Reminded AGAIN through envelopes in our mailbox, supper with friends, and a beautiful letter from the leadership of our church that : ... my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19