Posted by: myroadtoemmaus | December 13, 2010

“big prayers”

Thanks to our sweet friends, Russell and I were able to go on a much-desired date last night, the first since Hannah has arrived.  As we talked over dinner, we started to think back over the last two months and share what we felt like were the “big lessons” we have been learning.  I have been thinking about this a lot recently and I have realized something.  It has to do with my prayer life.

You see, most of my prayer life consists of what I would call “big prayers”.  Prayers for revival.  Prayers for salvation.  Prayers for my marriage and my daughter.  Prayers for my own sanctification.  Prayers to know God more intimately and prayers to make Him known in my life.  What I realized, however, is that these are prayers that I can pray for 10, for20, even for 50 years.  They are offered up to God like an envelope of money given to the bank teller to be added to your savings account.  You don’t expect to see it for a while.  You know that it’s making a difference, or at least you hope it is, but it just isn’t something of which you expect to see an immediate return.  These last two months, however, have been filled with prayers that, up to this point in my life, have been rather unfamiliar to me.  They have been filled with prayers that necessitated an immediate answer.  They were prayers that if they went “unanswered”, I would know.

I remember crying out to God countless times during these last two months asking Him to take away Hannah’s pain.  And yet she continued to scream… sometimes for hours on end.  Each of these times felt like salt being poured on an open wound.  That wound came about a year ago, in the middle of the night, when my body was miscarrying.  I vividly remember the physical pain of the contractions, not knowing when they would end, and asking again and again “Let this be the last one, God.  Please.”  Emotionally distraught, physically exhausted, and scared, I went out on a limb each time and continued to ask.   And each time, another contraction would come.. that is, until the last one, some hours later.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, that experience left a wound that was reopened when Hannah was in the hospital fighting her own battle.  I realized that I just didn’t have a paradigm for what to do when you ask for something and God doesn’t respond in the way that you asked and in the time frame that you asked for.  My normal prayers are safe.  An answer of “not yet” is far easier to swallow than a silent answer.  These recent prayers, however, have been risky.  They have been desperate.  They have required faith and hope and as the verse says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”.

I so desire to be someone who prays with expectation and yet deep down, I know that there is a part of me that would rather play it safe than risk getting hurt.  That fear keeps me silent when I ought to be contending.  That fear leaves me numb.

I don’t have a great end to this post.  I am still in the midst of it and I am still working through it.  But I do know that I am so grateful, as I mentioned here, that God doesn’t leave any chapter unfinished in my book.  He is bringing this issue to the surface again because He wants me to encounter Him.  It’s not merely so that I can have “right” theology about prayer.  It’s because He wants me to trust Him.  He wants me to trust Him with the big prayers but He also wants me to trust Him with the “right now, right here” prayers.




  1. I love your sweet honesty…It shows the closeness of your heart to God and your confidence in your relationship with Him. You may not feel that, but it comes out loud and clear in your writing about your life circumstances. I love you and am encouraged by your walk friend. Love u.

  2. thank you for sharing. i loved this post. it is helping me sort through the adoration when it maybe feels like a risk- praying and asking for things with a definite time/need – is scary. his character is so good though i have to remind myself of that.

  3. He’s doing a beautiful work in you and your marriage and your family! He’s creating a legacy of prayer and trust and faith and it is beautiful! =)

    I’m glad you got to go on a date, too! Troy and I are realizing how important it is for us to get away together and trying to make room for that, too!

  4. Thanks for telling us your story. I know what you mean – it was not until our daughter at 18 years old was in the ICU struggling to survive tht my prayers were desperate.

    Dawn challenged me yestereday at the healing prayer rooms to pray with desperation. It is so easy in our western culture to lean on societal structures instead of leaning into God.

    Blessing to you, Russell and Hannah

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