Recently as I prayed for my children, I was struck with a profound realization. I pray as if every day of their lives will be just an ordinary day.
What do I mean by this? Well, I pray for the spiritual growth of my girls and the salvation of my son, which can, of course, encompass so much. But, specifically I pray over their systematic growing and learning. School. Friendships. Attitudes. Future spouses. Essentially, I pray as if every day is going to be perfectly normal and nothing will come along to derail that normalcy.
Two thoughts struck me related to this realization.
First, there is nothing wrong with praying in anticipation of the ordinary. My personality likes to pray specifically. I struggle with abstract praying. I want specific requests and needs. So, I can’t really fathom praying for something unknown. Now, I do pray that my children will have strength for whatever they face, and that they will have a foundation of faith that leads them to fall on Christ in the difficult times. But, that’s about as abstract as I get.
By the same token, however, there is nothing wrong with praying over the abstract, the unknown, and the extraordinary. Some people’s brains and personalities are wired that way. Yay! Great! More power to them! It just is not me. But…
When I take a mental jog through Scripture, I am astounded by how many things happened on ordinary days.
Noah received instructions to build an ark on an ordinary day.
The people of Noah’s day "were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark." (Matthew 24:38) It was an ordinary, albeit rainy, day.
Sarah had some warning from the Lord, but I can’t help but think that she had been having an ordinary day the moment she realized that she was pregnant. (And I just can’t help but wonder how she found out…I weird like that!)
It was an ordinary day when the angel appeared to Samson’s mother and later to Mary.
It was an ordinary night when angels appeared to the shepherds.
The day of Jesus’ crucifixion began in an ordinary manner for the apostles, even with all of the warnings Jesus had given them.
Even in modern life, life-altering things happen on ordinary days. I could tell so many stories! It was an ordinary May morning when my mom sensed an urgency in her quiet time that the peaceful life we loved in Jordan would soon be disrupted. She spent the summer inventorying our home and preparing for the unexpected. Less than three months later, we heard the news that Iraq had invaded Kuwait (on another ordinary morning!). Within two weeks we had evacuated.
It was an ordinary morning, going to a routine well-child check-up, when friends of mine discovered their 9-month-old daughter had cancer.
I met Doug on an ordinary day. In fact, it was so ordinary that he and I don’t even remember meeting. Yet that meeting resulted in a foundational friendship that has turned into thirteen and a half beautiful years of marriage!
So many profound things, both good and bad, happen on ordinary days. Ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Are we ready for our ordinary to be disrupted? How will we handle it? In all honesty, we cannot anticipate every extraordinary even that could possibly occur in our lives. No matter how paranoid we get, we’ll always miss preparation for the one thing that actually does hit us. So, how do we make ourselves ready for the extraordinary?
I believe we make ready by living fully in the ordinary. By praying over the ordinary. By living close to our Savior in the ordinary. And by praying for our children to learn extraordinary faith even in the ordinary. Then when ordinary circumstances are disrupted, our ordinary response remains the same – a full faith in the God who is in control, no matter how extraordinary the events.