Today I came across a short journal entry I’d written one morning years ago:
“I slept well last night, which I so needed, as my body has been fighting an illness. I thought I would feel refreshed this morning but instead, I feel discouraged and depressed. Not because of the illness, I’m sure – although one thing does add to another- but because of a different, ongoing situation very close to me that doesn’t seem to be getting better in spite of days, weeks, and months of prayer.”
Although written quite some time ago, this could just as easily be my story – or your story – today. Especially today. Ongoing problems, seemingly yet unanswered prayers, weighted and worsened by isolation, COVID fears and lockdowns, loneliness, mandates, and divisions.
Has this happened to you? Is it happening now?
A voice speaks. It’s malevolent, but in your weakness, you might not recognize it so. It might sound welcoming. It might sound sweet. It might be spoken through another person – or a movie – or through a group message. It says,
“God doesn’t hear your prayers. He isn’t answering your prayers. You might as well give up.”
I’ve heard that voice – often. It brings fear – fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear that God doesn’t care. No matter the accent or intonation, the inflection or volume, I’m learning to recognize that source of that sinister voice, knowing it is not from God because God doesn’t give me fear. His Word tells me He gives me a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) So, I simply pray,
Thank you Father for the spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.
In my weakness, however, it may be difficult to pray. Very difficult! I sometimes forget the words of Scripture, or I’m too exhausted. It is then I simply speak to my Abba Father, pouring out my heart:
Lord, I know you love me and you love my family. We need you.
When I speak, a single tear fills each eye.
Abba Father speaks to me through His Word: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
Yes, I perceive it Lord! Thank you!
Then I go to His Word to read more about the new thing He is doing. I read that He is making a way through this desert and wasteland we are in. He is providing Living water in this barren place so that we might praise Him. We do and we will continue to praise Him! He reminds me that He has chosen me, made me, formed me, and helps me. He pours that Living Water and His Spirit out on me and on my children and grandchildren. And they will spring up! (Isaiah 43, 44)
I keep opening and reading His Word because I know that faith comes from hearing the message of Christ. And it is faith I need. (Romans 10:17) And the message adds to my continuing prayer today:
Lord, let me remember who I am, whose I am, and the territory that belongs to me. For the loss I and mine have suffered, take back that ground for us. Release the boldness of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah in my prayers – that my prayers will be fierce – that they will rise from a whisper to a roar.
And as my day progresses, my prayers become more fierce. They intensify from whispers to roars, exhibiting the spirit of power He promises and provides. I boldly approach God’s throne of grace, knowing that He is making the way for me and for my loved ones through the desert and the wasteland.
2 Timothy 1:7
Isaiah 43, 44el