Thursday, January 19, 2012

Triumphant Prayer

This morning I was doing my devotion, and as my eyes ran over the words on the page I found myself convicted. I read Luke 18:1

Then Jesus told His disciples...that they should always pray and never give up.

On May 8th of 2011, my big brother had a brain anuerysm. There were no signs, no symptoms that could have prevented it. He was just out golfing...and BOOM! I'll never forget that day. I remember what I was wearing, the way I had my hair, the day of the week, what I ate for breakfast... I remember sitting in the waiting room that night while the surgeons tried to stop the bleeding and relieve the pressure in Brooks' brain. I've never felt the panic or terror that I felt that day. I felt as it my heart was literally in my throat. My middle brother said "You know, you're prepared when someone dies of cancer...You can understand a car accident...But you never expect that someone's brain is going to explode."

After waiting for three hours, the doctor came in and I will NEVER forget the words that came out of his mouth. Most things doctors say seem rehearsed...they roll off the tongue...but it wasn't like that. "An unfortunate thing has happened to Brooks," he said in his Turkish accent. "There was a lot of bleeding...more than I'd ever seen before. When Brooks got here he was already 95% brain dead. The science says that IF Brooks makes it through the night, he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life." My heart sank, and I thought that was end. Then he added "But I've seen miracles, so pray."

Ferverently I prayed. How can this be happening? I don't understand. He finally desired to really surrender his life to You. How can You do this? How can this be good? Why would You give him to us at all if You were only going to take him away? Please, God, please don't let this happen. Please, Gracious and Heavenly Father, please don't let the doctor's words be true. Please, Abba, heal my brother. I love him so much. I pleaded.


As many of you know, Brooks is on his way to revocery! Hallelujah, the Lord is GOOD!

"Prayer that uses previously unanswered prayers as an excuse for laziness has already ceased to be a prayer of faith. To someone who prays in faith, unanswered prayers are simply the evidence that the answer is much closer. From beginning to end, our Lord's lessons and examples teach us that prayer that is not steadfast and persistent, not revived and refreshed, and does not gather strength from previous prayers is not the prayer that will triumph." -William Arthur

God does not always answer every prayer we pray the exact way that we want Him to. The doctors think that it could be TWO YEARS of more therapy before Brooks will be perfectly back to "normal." He can't always communicate things to us that he needs. It's frustrating for him and heartbreaking for us. It's tiring.

At one of Brooks' doctor appointments, the surgeon who has worked with Brooks from day 1 said to my mom "Brooks is literally a man who has come back from the dead." God's sovereign will is always the highest good for the object loved (definition from the very wise, Mr. Glock). We define good different than God does sometimes. His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours. But He still asks us to pray.

So many times I have sat down to do my devotion, and after I pray a few simple words I quick get up and run to the next thing of my list to do. I don't open in prayer asking for God to give me wisdom and discernment to understand His precious Word. I don't close in prayer asking Him to help me LIVE what I just read. I don't always pray that God will walk with me through the day. I don't always turn first to Him in a crisis. I don't always sit at His feet and listen.

Then Jesus told His disciples...that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1

As William Arther said, "prayer that is not steadfast and persistent, nor revived and refreshed..." prayer that is not ferverently prayed in complete faith that God is listening, "is not the prayer that will triumph."

Father God, help me to pray like You are listening...because You are. Let me always ferverently and persistently pray...let me pray without ceasing and never give up. You are so good to me, Daddy. I am so in love with You.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Heart's Love Resolution

I've never been very fond of change. Actually, I've always hated change. It's uncomfortable. But, as Jillian Michaels says in my yoga dvd, it's time to "get comfortable with being uncomfortable!"

It's that time of the year. Everyone is making New Year's Resolutions. I can't remember a time that I actaully made one. I don't think that I ever will. But, a tradition that I have rather enjoyed the past two years is to make a Love Resolution to the King of my heart.

A couple of years ago, my Bible study host told me that she prayed every day that she would fall more in love with Christ. She went on to share some of the many ways her love for the Lord had grown since and how it had changed her life. So, two years ago I decided that every day for one year I would pray to fall more in love with Jesus.

Over that year I did see my life change in many ways. And, it was very uncomfortable. But, as my Beautiful Lord tugged at my heart strings, I did find myself falling in love in so many new ways. When the next year rolled around, I wanted to experience more growth. So, last year I started praying every day that the newfound love I had found in Christ would help me become more obedient to Him.

It's funny how God answers prayers. You have to be SO careful what you pray for...or at least be ready for it! I mean, God isn't a genie. But, if you ask Him for something like this...something according to His will, He WILL give it!

I look back and giggle now, but I was so shocked when God started asking me to be obedient. "Allie, I want you to leave this...I want you to let go of that. Allie, I want you to walk alone...I want you to trust me." I remember back over the past year my heart still hurts. But, just as it had before, I find my heart changed. And, I'm finally starting to grasp that the uncomfortable change doesn't have to be so uncomfortable. When my world feels like it's spinning out of control, when my lungs feel as if a thousand pounds are crushing against them, when my heart stings...all I have to do is lean back into the safe hands that hold me up. The hands of my very own Creator.

Gracious Heavenly Father,
This year I pray that You would help me to let go of MY plans...because it's not about me. Everything is all about You. Help me to keep my eyes fixed upon You, my Sweet Savior. Help me delight in You and find joy in You always. Let nothing else matter in light of You. Almighty God, I am so in love with You! You are so good!