Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lifted up in prayer

Today my friend at church commented multiple times on how happy I seemed. I was a bit perplexed at first -- am I usually a downer? But then I realized she was right! I didn't just seem happy; I felt genuinely joyful inside. What was the difference, I wondered? I immediately began spinning through the different things that could have caused this change.

First, no doubt about it, the extra hour of sleep last night had to have helped. I mean, who doesn't benefit from some extra snoozes? Second, I have taken steps to remove extra burdens from my life. These burdens were good things - a great ministry (Kid's Praise) and a fulfilling part-time job (piano teacher). But I had felt for some time that I was having to squish everything to make it all fit, and that was getting exhausting. I knew that no matter what happens in our pursuit of a family, some roles and commitments were going to have to change. So, as hard as it was to let these things go, I did, and I know it was right. Finally, our labs are over and there is a "plan" in place. That feels good.

But even these things don't equal joy, at least not for me. I've had extra sleep before, and I've removed extra activities from my life. And I know that in this struggle--as in life--no plan is full-proof.  These things have been good and have been gifts from God, but I have no doubt about the reason for my joy these days. It's quite simple:

Dozens and dozens of people are praying for me and Robby.

As we have become more and more open about our struggle and our needs, more and more people are pleading on our behalf before our God. There already were many people praying for us fervently and diligently, and now more have been added. It's humbling. Hundreds of prayers have been offered for us.

The phrase "lifted up in prayer" is a common one among Christians. Although I don't think it's necessarily a phrase taken directly from Scripture, the idea certainly is present in God's word. When we pray for someone, we bring them and their needs before God.  We hold them before the Lord and ask his blessing and comfort upon them. This is the picture of the Church, is it not? In Romans 12, one of the key chapters and books about the Church as the body of Christ, we read the following:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. [. . .] Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. [. . .] Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
I know we have been lifted up in prayer, and physically, spiritually, and emotionally, I do indeed feel lifted up. I am full and overflowing with hope and joy. I am no longer weighed down but instead am raised.

A few people have written out prayers for us and given them to us to read. This is new for me, but I have been so encouraged to get to hear what another has asked of God concerning us.  It's like eavesdropping! Here is a recent prayer, given to Robby by a friend last week. I love how this prayer reflects the person who prayed it.

“Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth with your offspring.” 
Father,They would love to do that. There’s no command they would rather walk in obedience to than this one.. To multiply. To fill your earth with new life. 
But what’s the deal? Who gives children but you? Whose capable of creating life where there was none before but YOU? 
Do you not see the pain this causes them? Do you not see how hard it is for them at every announcement, “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl.” How many more baby showers must they go to before their own? 
What keeps you from speaking the words that bring life? “What Father doesn’t want to give their children good gifts?” 
There’s no doubt in my mind that you love Rob and Candace, that they are your beloved son and daughter, and that you SEE them. So please YHWH, live up to your name, and ACT! 
BRING YOUR KINGDOM! Touch your resurrection power on their bodies. 
Bring that beautiful bump on her belly. 
Jesus, its you who taught us to pray so boldly, and it’s in your NAME that I pray amen.
These are sweet words to us. I smile every time I read that line about the bump. Prayers are sweet and powerful, and I'm reminded that God's people, just as II Corinthians 2 says, are the fragrance of Christ.

Thank you for praying. Thank you for lifting us and our needs before God. Your prayers have not gone unanswered! Although we wait to see if God will grant us a baby, we know He has answered. He's with us. He's guiding us. And His Spirit and His people are bringing us more comfort that we knew we could receive! Thank you.

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