April 26, 2017

Making Home a Haven: Praying Mom

Stand in the rain

As a mom, have you ever been desperate?  Have you ever cried out to God for mercy, for help, for strength?  For a miracle?

I know I have.  I hope this post inspires you, even if – and especially if – you feel you’ve lost hope in praying to your Heavenly Father.

So far in this Making Home a Haven series, we’ve discussed how God wants us to thrive, to live life abundantly, and last week, how we truly begin to do that by being grounded and rooted in His Word.  Coincidentally (or providentially), I’m reading the book The Circle Maker right now, by Mark Batterson, which is serving as a healthy reminder for me to pray more.  To pray harder.  To pray persistently.

Are there things that, year after year, you wish would change about your home or your family…or yourself?  Have you prayed until you feel you can’t pray another prayer regarding that same thing that just seems to go unanswered?  Has time and life circumstances worn you down and you feel like you just can’t utter one more prayer, especially if you think it’s crazy or too much to ask?

No Prayer Goes Unheard or Unanswered By God

I could have worded that differently.  I could have said, “God hears and answers every prayer.”  But I wanted to counter the myth.  I specifically wanted that to read against the lie the enemy would have us believe.  God DOES hear.  He DOES always answer.

In fact, we can know that 100 percent of the prayers we don’t pray won’t get answered. (Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker)

How We Should Pray

Pray the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t have to look too far to find Jesus’ own handbook for this.  In Matthew, chapter 6, we have our example in the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 

Pray the Psalms.  Psalm 51:10-12 is a favorite of mine.  In my youth, I learned it as a song.  I still sing it as a prayer to Him sometimes.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.  And renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence O, Lord.  And take not thy Holy Spirit from me.  Restore unto me, the joy of thy salvation and renew a right spirit within me.

Pray continually.

  • Pray daily. “When God provided the miraculous manna for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness, it says He provided “enough for that day.”  Just enough.  The manna was a daily reminder of their daily dependence on God.  God wanted to cultivate their daily dependence by providing for their needs on a daily basis.  Nothing has changed.  Isn’t that the point of the Lord’s Prayer? “Give us today our daily bread.”  We want a one-week or one-month or one-year supply of God’s provision, but He wants us to drop to our knees every day in raw dependence on Him.” (Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker)
  • We should pray continually (without ceasing), giving thanks in all things. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Pray boldly.

  • I memorized the King James version of James 5:16 as a child, and it still inspires faith in my heart to this day.  The effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
  • Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)

Pray specifically.

  • In Matthew 7, Jesus says to ask anything in His Name and we would receive.
  • And in Psalm 37:4, we read that God gives us the desires of our hearts.

But do we believe God’s Word is true?  Or do we gloss over these two passages saying, “well, maybe He gives to others, but He doesn’t to me.  He honors some people’s requests, but not mine.”  Have you ever thought that?

I spent a lot of time in years past thinking on these two scriptures.  Does God REALLY give us everything we ask for?  Does he REALLY give us the desires of our hearts?

The answer is tricky.  Yes, if we pray according to His will, he does always give.  He always comes through.  He always answers.  It just may not be the answer our human, finite minds wanted, or even on this side of Eternity.  And about the desires of our hearts?  Perhaps we’ve so twisted this verse to fit our selfish, immediate-gratification lifestyle to mean to us that we get what we want from God, when it really means that God places desires within our hearts.  Desires for the things that will accomplish His will for our lives here on earth, as it is in heaven.  Do we truly desire His will?

Little ballerinas 2

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A Prayer for Twin Girls

If you’ve only endured this post so far, because you were hoping to glean something that would help you in your noble endeavors to make your home a haven, I’d like to thank you.  God is up to something in your life, be sure of that!

And now, I am going to get more real with you than I possibly ever have.  There are secrets and hurts and wounds in my heart that I may never share here, but this one I feel is timely and appropriate.  As I tenderly reflect the short time I had with our unborn daughters, I remember the words of my prayer so many years ago, exactly.

“God, give us twin girls.  Identical twin girls, with blue eyes and curly blond hair.”

I prayed boldly.  I prayed specifically.  I asked.  I believed.

And you know what?  God gave us a beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed, bouncing baby boy!  I was so thrilled and didn’t really think about that prayer much for several months after he was born.  But then I got pregnant again when that baby was just a few months old.

I went in for my first visit with my OB and he said to me, “okay, let’s go take a look at those twins via ultrasound!”  I did a double-take.  What?  Who was this man, and was he kidding?  He had never met me before and I sure hadn’t told him my crazy prayer I’d prayed two years prior.

But sure enough, as baffling as it is, there were two, beautiful, blinking lights that day on the sonogram screen.  Tears of joy ran down my face.  We were blown away at God’s goodness, thrilled, excited, and wasted no time calling every family  member and friend to tell them we were having twins.

But there was this one small glitch.

The babies were mono-amniotic, meaning they shared an amniotic sac.  On the same day that I learned I was having twins, I learned that my time could very well be short with them, as any number of factors could take one or both of their lives at any  moment from the moment I learned I was pregnant until the time of delivery.  We could tell that they were identical from the sonogram (same bag of fluid), and so I sort of sensed that they were the twin girls I prayed for.  I knew they were already His.  That day, I went home and, almost ceremoniously, prayed one of the saddest, boldest prayers I’ve ever prayed.

“God, You know that I want these babies to live and grow and thrive, but IF You’re going to take the babies home before they’re born into our arms, please just receive them into Your Eternal care quickly.  Please don’t make me endure carrying them until they’re almost ready to be born, and then lose them.”

I know.  What a horrible thing to pray.  And while I do see the value and beauty of time spent with babies when they’re unborn, I don’t regret praying that prayer.  My heart couldn’t bear all the possibilities, the thought of having to birth them and then bury them.  And God was merciful.

Just like God answered my prayer for us to conceive twin girls, He answered my prayer to take them home mercifully.

Exactly seven days after that prayer, we learned our baby girls’ hearts had stopped beating, and the next day I underwent surgery.  I remember waking up feeling dreadfully empty, sickeningly sad, and oh-so-confused.

Lab results a few days later showed completely healthy, identical, twin girls were the babies that had been delivered.  I didn’t understand.  I wept bitterly.  Why God?  Why would you grant a request, only to take it away before I even had a chance to grasp it?

And in later years, I came to sing the verse to the song, “You give and take away”, with resentment at first, and then curiosity.  Why, Lord?

And yet, HE IS THE LORD.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.  (Job 1:21)

What I’ve learned over a decade later, is that God always answers our prayers.  But we have these human, finite minds that get in the way.  We can’t see like He can.  Our radar is not as broad as His.  We have our human perception of the here and now, but He doesn’t answer our prayers according to our understanding in this time and space continuum;  He always answers with an Eternal purpose in mind.

You see, God granted me those beautiful, blue-eyed, curly blond haired twin baby girls.  And I get to have them.  Some day I will embrace them and worship in Eternity with them.  I will get to spend more time with them than I ever could have here.

And I’ve accepted that.  What this tragic human loss has taught me is a deep sense of the temporal life here on earth.  My home is not here, after all.  I’m just passing through, on a journey alongside so many others toward my Heavenly Home.  I will never be able to fully understand His ways, and I accept that, too.  After all, His ways aren’t our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).  It doesn’t mean I don’t struggle;  I’m still human. But I’m not offended by His will for our baby girls.

Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.  Luke 7:23

But when God answers a prayer, either on THIS side of heaven or not, it instills a deep level of faith in you.

God.  Answers.  Prayers.

What is that you’re praying for in your home and for your family?  I want to encourage you to step out in faith, and courageously, and boldly pray for the things of God for your life.  Maybe you’ll pray crazy, specific prayers like I did, and see answers you don’t expect, and frankly don’t want.  But I guarantee one thing, He will answer your prayers.  Maybe not in your idea of the perfect timing.  Maybe not your way.  But His will is always better than ours, anyway.

7 Day Prayer Challenge

Will you participate in a seven-day prayer challenge with me?

For seven days, we’re going to pray continually, boldly, and specifically for God to move in our hearts and lives.

  • Will you ask Him to write on the tablet of your heart?
  • Will you ask Him to make His desires your desires?
  • Will you pray for the miracles you need in your life, and for faith to believe in Him to provide?
  • Will you pray that God will give you a vision, a God-sized dream?
  • Will you pray that He will give you a vision for your home, for your marriage, and for your children?
  • Will you ask Him to show you how to make your home the Life Center He desires it to be to your family?

God honors every prayer. Prayer is a no-lose proposition.  And remember, 100 percent of the prayers we don’t pray won’t get answered.

So, what do you have to lose?  Will you pray for one week with me? Who’s in?

I will be praying for you, either way.  I’m praying that God floods your heart with joy, and a renewed sense of purpose for your high calling in your homes.  Whether you work outside the home, or stay home with your children, God wants to use you to shape those sweet little hearts.  He wants you to see that even though you sometimes feel that the work of motherhood is too heavy, too monotonous, and you just aren’t enough, He Is.   And He wants you to remember that you are growing oaks of righteousness who will impact the world for generations to come.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your personal story, it gave me tears. I really needed to read this post today, so thank you for letting God use you to reach others. I will be joining you in a much needed prayer week. God bless!

  2. I pray God blesses you for being such an example to women like me who need these gentle reminders. Thank you for being in tune enough and brave enough to share this.

  3. Christy says:

    O my goodness. Your story is so touching. I too have experienced a lost child. Her name was Chelsea and she died at birth. She was beautiful and I wanted her more than I could ever explain, but God saw fit for her to be with Him and who can argue with that. I am so thankful that the Lord knows what is best for our lives. I also cant wait to spend eternity with my precious Chelsea! I was so glad I found this post as right now I am going through another struggle. We now have four living children for which I am very greatful, but we have been praying for another. I found out a few weeks ago that I was expecting, but am now going through a miscarriage. My heart is so sad. I will take the prayer challenge with you and I know God knows best. Thank you for sharing your story. May God bless you!

    • Brianna Bell says:

      Hi Christy, I just read this post and wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you.

    • Christy, how are you doing?

      • Brandy, Thank you for your concern. I am doing well. My heart is still so sad, but God is so merciful to me. The prayer challenge was such a help to me and I can’t wait to try for another little one. The Lord knows just what we need and He can truly give you a peace that passes all understanding.

  4. This post was spot on for me. Confirmations of sorts. ~ Some of the same scriptures have been included in my prayer journal. Thank you for such a personal and endearing testimony you shared. I will be joining in a week of prayer as well.

  5. Thank you for these words! I feel like I’ve given up on praying, but I know how wrong that is. I will be praying for one week! I’ll be praying for my husband who lost his career five years ago due to the housing market crash. He has been without a career for so long we feel like there is no hope, and honestly, I wonder if God is sick of me asking for a permanent job for him. So, why wouldn’t God answer our prayers and give a job to a man who wants to work? Maybe we’ll never know, but I’ll be praying for a God-sized dream… and a job!

  6. Sarah Bass says:

    I have been away from heartfelt, deliberate, and persistent prayer for too long. It’s time – I hear the Father calling me back to the Throne of Grace. Thank you for writing this post! I’ll be joining you all in prayer this week for my family and home. For myself. For His glory! Thanks again, Brandy!

  7. Thank you for this sweet reminder.

  8. I’ve loved your site for a long time…but you’ve taken a bit of my heart with this post. Praying with you!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing Brandy! I read Mark’s book last year and have been able to take some steps forward and closer in my walk with Christ! Sounds like you have too! Praying over you as you journey through this book and what God reveals to you, how exciting!

  10. Amen

  11. Thank you for confirming that our stories are meant to be shared for His glory. You so beautifully shared yours today!

  12. Tamra Krohn says:

    This post convicted me. I have been avoiding sitting down, journaling, and adding your prayer challenge to my daily devotion time (which isn’t always daily).

    Thank you.

  13. Oh, thank you so much for this post. I needed to read this. God’s timing is perfect.

  14. Wow!!! I was just browsing through your website to get some ideas for my upcoming blog when I happened to read this post. I can’t believe that I just read every word. This is supposed to be my nap time with my children. I really need rest; but through your post, I’ve realized that I really need to pray more.

    Thank you

  15. Thank you so much for this post. I just happened upon it while looking for something, anything to give me some hope. I have six beautiful living children, but have experienced two miscarriages in the past 7 months. I so badly want another baby and fear that I am too old and won’t have another. I have struggled with why God would give us those two beautiful blessings and then take them away – I have just been empty and numb. Brandy, this gives me hope! I may not understand why, but I do know that I will see my babies in heaven and can’t wait for that day. Thank you for sharing something that I know is so painful, but has been a balm for my soul. Blessings!

  16. Thank you for this! It brought tears to my eyes, my heart breaks for you! I don’t know how I missed this post, but thank you for sharing. It is nice to be reminded that God hears all of our prayers, and He does answer them in His time, and His way.

  17. elizabeth says:

    Amen. Thank you for the inspiration.

  18. Lynn

    Thank you for sharing this with us.l am in hospital right now experiencing a stillborn baby girl at 32wks.l am asking GOD to bless me with twins the next time l try.

  19. Reading this as we lay in our hotel room. Tommorow we go to the Melbourne hospital praying for good tests results for our identical twin girls in my wifes womb. One is not growing enough while the other has excessive fluid on the brain. Hoping for a miracle.

  20. thank you for this! I am in a season of laying it all down again and trusting God. I am in for the week of prayer, and will lift up everyone on here needing a touch from God.

  21. Amen,
    Thank you for sharing this with us Brandy

  22. Pray for safe delivery and a healthy pregnancy

  23. Thank you for this beautiful story. I know it is a few years later but it was certainly written for me to find on this day. My week of prayer starts today. Thank you and God Bless.

  24. Thanks for your story.

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