As a mom, a wife, a daughter and a sister, it's easy to become overwhelmed on occasion - almost to the point of despondency - by the mayhem of the daily chaos that continues to swirl around me. There is a tremendous river of 'neediness' that flows past the front door of my heart 24 hours a day. I can be drawn into that river by default, floundering and flopping, trying to help everyone and everything that looks like it needs helping - or I can choose to wade in the River of Grace that is always ready to refuel and refocus my attention on "those things that are above", Col 3:2, thereby giving attention where grace calls me to focus.
I was lamenting to the Lord in prayer a while back about how tempting it is on some days to just offer Him a "why bother?" instead of praying for those difficult issues that seem ever present - family feuds, discord in our local government, war throughout the world, etc.
After I was done whining, (thankfully, the Lord allows our whining to become our prayer on so many days), I sensed He wanted to bring me back to a lesson I had learned many years ago about prayer. He lovingly reminded me that I needed to return to asking Him every time - "Lord, how do You want me to pray about this? Show me what You desire in this situation. Teach me how to pray...." When we petition Him in this way, the grace is given to us to carry that particular burden and see the struggle through His eyes, loving those around us with His heart.
Immediately I found myself re-energized in prayer, finding a quiet place to close my eyes and place myself before His loving gaze. He then brought me back to the memory of a time many years ago when some local teenagers were angry with one of my older daughters, and they started a ritual of going by my house at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and laying on their horn to wake everyone in the house up as they flew by. It was pretty effective, and it certainly did the job in getting everyone in the house really angry. Besides having a young baby in the house at that time and not getting a lot of restful sleep to begin with, I was also grieving the loss of a brother who had just died from a diabetic coma. I was NOT in a good place emotionally or mentally.
As I was conjuring up ways to retaliate, (sleeping out on the front lawn with a BB gun, perching myself behind a tree down by the road with a sling shot, etc.), I found myself pretty angry with the Lord, asking Him, "Why are You letting this happen? I'm really struggling here and You're not doing anything to stop this!" To my shock, His gentle response was, "Pray for them".
As those words pierced my heart, I felt my anger subside and was deeply drawn to bring this word into prayer. It was His beautiful way of showing me that seeking His heart on all things was always and forever the best response to every battle. Through that prayer the Lord began to show me that these teens really needed someone to pray for them in a focused and unjudgmental way. There was a lot of woundedness there that He so desperately wanted to heal, but first He needed an 'intercessor'. I was it.
That night I really prayed - not for me, but for them. We had already called the police, who graciously came and sat in our driveway for some time that evening, but nothing happened that night - or ever again. The honking horn raids stopped, and I sensed that grace was able to move where He needed it to move....
It was an intimate reminder for me that His response to every struggle, every trial, every difficulty, is always driven by unconditional love. He is depending on Me to pray in union with Him for every desire He places on my heart - whether it is for a war torn nation on the other side of the world, or a battle being fought in my own neighborhood. There will never be a time that my ways are better than His - but it's an awesome thing when they are one and the same.
Is 55:9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."