Prayer: A Lesson in Faith, Trust, & God's Provision

September 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
I haven't been the best pray-er.I've known for a while that it's something I need to work on.  After seeing the War Room, a fire was lit.  By the way, what a great movie....you definitely need to see it!  But it was after my mom passed away in January that it became very apparent.  I could tell I wasn't being prayed for anymore.In March, I gathered a few folks together to start a study group on prayer.  And wow.What I learned caused a total shift in my outlook on life and prayer and all things that matter.I'm gonna be real honest here.  I don't feel like I've had a lot of prayers answered in my life.  I felt like my prayers were very vague...mundane.  I guess in a way, I kind of gave up on praying. Maybe it was the hope that I had from a prayer prayed in the last days on Mom's life on earth that was answered that spurred me on to get my prayer life on track.I watched Louie Giglio's Remix DVD on prayer and it gave me some insight on ways to pray that didn't make me feel like I was repeating the same thing over and over.So many of my "go to" prayers were "Be with ...." or "Bless this, Lord....".  "We seem to decide what we're going to do and then ask the Lord to bless it."  Guilty.  One of the very first stories in the Bible had to do with blessings.  Genesis 12:1-3 talks about Abraham being offered a blessing, but he had to leave into the unknown to get it.  So many times, we want what we can see to be the blessing, but what we can't see - what God can see - is SO MUCH better.  So in turn, I started praying and asking the Lord to show me how I could bless Him today.  It has taken the focus off of what I think I need and put it on what I can do for Him.  I also learned how much God wants to hear Praise from us.  That saying about "Choose Joy" is for real!  We have SO many things to be thankful for and God wants to hear that.  Have you ever thought about how your kids (ok...maybe just mine...lol) are always asking for things?  Isn't that a drag? But then, on the sweet, amazing occasion that they say thank you for something out of the blue?  What joy that brings to my ears!  It does the same for our Father....He wants to hear us say thank you too!What a blessing it was to talk with the others in the prayer study group, share stories, and hear about the ways God is working in and through us. And then someone mentioned something about prayers of petition.  I hadn't heard of it.  Have you?One of the gals said she wrote a very specific prayer with exact details, signed it, and prayed it everyday.  I was like, "whatttt???" So she gave me this book:Prayer of Petition by Jerry Savelle....I read through it. I borrowed another book from church called The Battle Plan of Prayer by Stephen Kendrick (from the War Room movie) and read through that.  And then I wrote a prayer.  I was specific.  I was detailed.  I included scripture. I wrote it all down.  And then I started praying it everyday.  Keep in mind, I wrote this prayer and started praying it in April.In April, I had a job.  I was planning to slowly wind down my photography business so that I could teach first grade full time.  I thought I was set.  Even though I didn't want to give up the dream of my business, I was blessed to be able to have a job that I enjoyed with insurance for the kids and I.  Good to go.  I could still do the photography thing part time.In April, I didn't not include myself or any of my situation in my prayer.  Because there was none.  My prayer was 100% about Craig.  I asked that he able able to finish his degree and find a job dealing with cows/agriculture by August that would provide for all of us, including insurance.  I was more detailed than that, but that was the gist of it.  I did not care about the location of the job as I felt he could go anywhere even if I had to stay here for my full-time job.  I shared it with the folks in our study group and I will never forget.....one lady grabbed my arm & said, "Look at my goosebumps.  It's going to happen."Fast forward to July....still praying....still knowing God has it...There were days when I felt like I needed to scream and yell and tell God that I couldn't do this.  I needed an answer now!  But some still small voice told me to be patient.So Craig had one class left to finish this degree.  One measly little hour on horse nutrition.  He rushed through it, missed some deadlines, and did not pass it.  Let me tell you something ladies....if you think helping and encouraging your children through their school and their homework is tough, you have no idea how difficult it is to do it for the husband!  Through clinched teeth, I told him that he needed to email his advisor and find out if he could take that class next semester, and then - hopefully - graduate in December.  augh!  It was more than I could handle.  He was supposed to be DONE with the schooling by August because he was supposed to be getting a JOB before September. I couldn't deal with it, so I just forgot about it.Surprisingly, he emailed his advisor right away.  When he checked his email a few days later, it was a bit of a shock.  As she wrote in the email, she had checked with whomever she needed to check with and it turns out he didn't need that class anyway. "Congratulations graduate!"   . . . . wait....what?I'll give you a minute to go back and read that again.Yeah...that was probably the first time throughout this praying with petition that I realized, this is the real deal.It was a total and absolute miracle. He flunked the last class and yet, only by the grace of God, he still graduated.  Now, please, don't get me wrong.  He worked very hard for five semesters.  Schooling is not his thing, so I have been beyond proud of him.  But when I found out the score of that last class, I just deflated a little. But, God's got this.  And my husband's got a degree.  :-)  He's the proud owner of a Bachelor's of Science in Animal Science from Kansas State University.Whew.  Big relief.  Thank you Jesus!But July wasn't over yet and neither were the fireworks.After spending all summer and any extra money we had on the first grade classroom, I was informed that I was being moved to 6th grade.  Keep in mind, I'm still pretty hesitant about taking on a full time position.  Because of a late season resignation and low enrollment in first grade, administration felt like I would be better utilized at the middle school.  I didn't agree.  There was a LOT of praying in a short amount of time and this was absolutely no where on the radar.  We would be giving up a big chunk of income and insurance for the kids and I, but it just felt like God was telling me not to go to 6th grade.  So I didn't.  I resigned my public school teaching position.Remember, that prayer I was praying?  It had nothing to do with me or my situations.  But I kept on praying it.I looked into a couple different online teaching positions, but it just started to feel more and more like the Lord wanted me to run my photography business.  Like, he wanted me to live my dream?  Ok...wait Lord, does this mean I'm broke and happy?  lol....Oh, He wasn't done with us yet....I had two more paychecks coming and two more months of insurance before something needed to be done.I prayed that prayer over the tick-tock sounds in my head.  But I prayed it!August rolled around and my business was doing well, totally and completely by the hand of God.  Craig was putting resumes out here and there, and I was still praying the prayer I wrote. Along about late August, I started feeling more and more like the Lord wanted me to be right where I am...running my business, hanging out with my kids, spending time in His Word and in prayer, all in the house I helped design...and I'm starting to feel more and more like I am one hundred percent totally protected.  There are a few more resumes and a job offer showed up.Soon after, Craig found out that he would soon be laid off of his job. Yeah.  I freaked out for about 2 minutes and then realized it was all going to be fine.  I didn't know how, but I saw how God got him his degree and I knew He would take care of us through this as well.  Granted, I may not have appeared that calm and collected, but I really was.  And I kept praying that prayer.So here we are in early September.  I have no job. Craig has no job. Sounds like a good time to freak out.  Read on.... Within 2 days of the previous job offer and finding out he'd been laid off, another opportunity began to take shape.  He turned down the original offer because he just didn't feel like it was the best fit for him. And within a day, he had a phone interview and second interview was set up a few days later.And I'm still praying the prayer.  Mind you, I had to modify it a bit to include my praise and thanksgiving when that degree became a reality. ;-)Fast forward to today.  This week, Craig was offered a position selling feed for a brand new, innovative company in Nebraska that will provide plenty of salary and benefits for the whole family.  The company believes in putting faith first, family next, and job third. Amen!  He will get to use the knowledge he has working with cattlemen and ranchers and loving every minute. I get to continue living the dream of running my own photography business and raising these three amazing kiddos. Giving God the glory! And so thankful that we trusted in Him!We are honestly still a little overwhelmed at all God has done in the last few days...weeks....months.  At times, it seemed like it couldn't get any worse.  And then it did.  But through it all, our faith kept us going, knowing He had something SO MUCH better than what we could figure out.  Craig is not much of a leap taker ;-), but I'm so proud of him for trusting in the Lord and following through with His leading. I know that there were many of you praying with me.  Some of you didn't know what to pray for or the extent of the circumstances, but you were still praying.  And I am SO appreciative of that.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.We are excited for this next chapter...excited to share this story and God's love for us....excited to see where He is taking us next.I know we will still have trials.  But I feel so much more equipped to deal with them than ever before.  And don't you think I don't have a new prayer I'm praying.  But you'll have to wait a little longer to hear how that all turns out. ;-)

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