Keep On Keeping On

Lunches packed for the last time. Desks cleared, backpacks cleaned out and stowed away. Field day over.  Class parties celebrated.  Awards ceremony concluded and certificates photographed.  End-of-the-year pictures taken of each daughter and compared to the photos from the first day of the school year.

And now we collapse.  We did it.  Somehow it feels like a joint accomplishment, not just theirs.  Sure, my kids worked hard. So did I.  And somehow, by God’s grace, we made it here to this first day of 006summer vacation.

It’s only taken 15 months of prayer.  I started praying for this school year last March, praying for this teacher, this classroom, these friends, this school, these character issues, and these lessons.

On Monday, a friend and I bowed heads for the last time this school year and we gave thanks.

Thank You, Lord, for answering our pleas for our children.  Thank You for helping them learn, being with them in all of the struggles that have sent these loving (and worried) mamas to their knees.  Thank You for helping them with difficult concepts and friendship drama, bullies and mistakes on tests, report cards and forgetfulness. Thank You for these teachers You chose specially for our kids.

And we began again, just that quickly, one sentence to another, thank God for this year and then praying for next year: for classroom placements and teacher assignments, for the responsibilities of a new grade and for the friendships they’d make.

So it continues.

“Pray without ceasing….” that’s what Paul wrote (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

He meant that living prayer, that breathing in and breathing out of living life alongside God, taking in crises and handing them right on over to the Lord, receiving blessing and offering up spontaneous praise.

It means no more arbitrary separations between the sacred and the secular, between the holy parts of my life where God is welcome and invited and the dusty living rooms of our hearts where we try to hide away the clutter in corners.

Having kids, though, reminds me of this, too:

Prayer is perpetual; it’s insistent and consistent.

And sometimes I’m not.  I’m driven to the throne by need and I’m pouring out pleas of desperation until the need eases a bit.  Or perhaps I just grow weary or fall back into the coziness of complacency and apathy.

I’m not praying so fervently any more. It’s more like unemotional have-to prayers, perhaps performed out of duty, perhaps totally forgotten and not prayed at all.

We pray for that intervention, that salvation, that redemption, that rescue…for us or for another….and then slowly we cease the praying.   We need the reminder to keep on keeping on, to not give up asking God for that healing and to refuse to stop praying for a loved one’s salvation.

With kids, you can’t really forget, not for long.  Time just pushes you right through from prayer need to prayer need.  I’m not even done praying over one school year before I’m on my knees for the next.

I read the Psalms and here is the reminder anew:

“But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor.  In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation” (Psalm 69:13 NLT).

“But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more” (Psalm 71:14 NLT).

“We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal” (Psalm 123:2 NLT).

Keep praying….keep hoping….keep looking.005

Keep at it and when He answers, press on in more prayer.

With this fresh resolve, I flip through the pages of the neglected prayer journal.  What did I pray then….and what do I still need to pray now?

What have you neglected in prayer?  What have you given up on and long since stopped asking God for?  Who used to be on your prayer list but somehow slipped off?

It’s discipline to begin again.  And when we cease praying, which feels like the inevitable failing of us forgetful ones, we return again and resolve again to be insistent and consistent in seeking God and hoping in His deliverance.

What have you stopped praying about that you need to pray for again?  What prayers are you already praying for your children’s next school year?

Do you have a prayer journal?  How does it look and how do you use it?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Online Prayer Meeting: We’ve Got To Pray

“You know what we need to do, girls?  We need to pray.”

I find myself saying that more and more to my kids.  I never expected that the problems of a preschooler, a first grader and a second grader would be beyond my ability to fix so much of the time.  I never imagined how much of motherhood is spent on your knees. 

We’ve prayed for stolen glue sticks, mean girls, renegade classmates who won’t behave in art class, forgotten homework, lost lunch boxes, friends whose parents are divorcing and other friends being teased on the playground.

When you open the floor to prayer requests from kids, they’re willing to be downright honest, maybe even uncomfortably truthful at times.

If their parents fought, they’ll tell you.  If their grades are bad, if their teacher is tough, if their friend is sad, if a bully is mean, you’ll hear about it.  Children will spill it all out there.

We seem to learn privacy and shame over time, learning to keep things quiet, afraid to ask for prayer for our real problems because others might know the truth: We don’t have it all together.  People might judge.  The gossip chain will be initiated. It’s teenagers who start sharing “unspoken” prayer requests and adults that simply  remain silent when the Bible study leader says, “How can we pray?”

Until maybe the crisis is undeniable and so great we finally confess that we need prayer, desperate intercession on our behalf because the truth is—we’re broken and there’s just no hiding it anymore.

I’m saying this now to you as you sit here reading this blog, maybe munching away at your lunch or settling down to read your email messages at the end of the day, or grabbing a few minutes in between phone calls or during your toddler’s nap time….

“You know what we need to do?  We’ve got to pray.”

I left church yesterday overcome with sorrow at deep hurts that I can’t fix, far beyond the stolen glue sticks and renegade classmates of my children.

And me, all by my lonesome self, can sit here at my kitchen table with my Bible and prayer journal and pray for these friends.

And I will.

Scripture, however, reminds us of the power of praying together.

When Esther prepared to enter King Xerxes’s presence uninvited, placing her life in jeopardy in order to save her people from mass genocide, she didn’t just pray on her own.

She organized a nationwide prayer meeting, instructing all the Jews of Susa to “fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will do the same…” (Esther 4:16 NLT).

Jesus didn’t just fall to the ground in the Garden of Gethsemane alone as he waited for his betrayer to arrive with an army of soldiers and an unwelcome kiss.  He took along “Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.  He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:37-38).

Paul, who seemed so confident and capable in ministry and who always seemed content and able to rejoice despite circumstances, wasn’t afraid to ask the church in Ephesus to “pray for me, too.  Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan…” (Ephesians 6:19 NLT).

So rather than bowing my head alone, I’m asking for you to do something totally different with me.

Let’s pray together.  Would you join with me in prayer today?  I have some folks on my mind and heart.  You probably do, too.

Just leave a comment on the blog or Facebook this week saying, “I’m praying, too” or something simple like that and then spend some time this week in focused prayer for others.  It’ll take just a second of time to post that comment so we know you’re praying.

And if you have a prayer request, don’t be afraid or ashamed, please share that with us, too.  You can leave a comment here on the blog—even anonymously if you wish—and you can keep it simple, “My marriage.  My job.  My kids.”  We’ll join with you on our knees today and ask God for help.

Or, you can email a prayer request to me here: heatherking@cox.net

We’ve got to pray, friends, and not just individually, but together.  Please take just a few minutes and join in our “online prayer meeting” today.
***************************************
Here are some prayer prompts.  Please share if you have any other ideas of how we can pray…
  • For marriages: For husbands and wives to pursue marriages based on Ephesians 5:22-33.  For faithfulness, love, affection, honor, making marriage a priority, friendship, spiritual unity, and for freedom from abuse.
  • For depression and spiritual stagnation: For revival and a return of joy, for friendship and God’s Word to come alive for them again.  For hope.
  • For finances: For freedom from debt, steady work and well-rewarded labor.  For wisdom and abundant blessing. For those looking for work.
  • For children: For salvation, for the wayward child, for restoration of broken relationships, for wisdom to make wise choices for our kids, for help guiding them spiritually.
  • For churches/ministries and pastors/ministry leaders: For God’s vision for 2013, for strength, energy, refreshing, wisdom, and clear direction from God—for their families and their finances and health.  For God to fill them up as they pour themselves out.
  • For caregivers: That God would bring peace and freedom from pain to their loved ones, for salvation for those suffering, for strength for each new day for the caregivers themselves.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King