Growth in prayer turns lives upside down. It has mine. Recently. And not in a fun way.
This past week was one of the worst weeks of parenting I can recall. Sunday mornings, amazingly enough, are typically peaceful in our home, but the past two Sundays have been anything but peaceful. Within twenty minutes of departure time, life has exploded. The Wednesday evening in between followed the same pattern. And every other day revealed some sort of insane behavior from my children.
I pleaded with the Lord and my children, desperate to find out what was happening to our family, but the answer didn’t hit me until yesterday. Over the previous week or so I have striven to take steps to deepen my prayer life in several ways. It doesn’t take the brightest of the enemy’s minions to know that prayer means bad things for the enemies of God. Meanwhile, no amount of omniscience or mind-reading is required to know that I have long struggled with a temper, especially when my children misbehave. Seeding a little discord in my family is a sure-fire way to derail any prayer life growth!
Or is it? Could it possibly just make me a little more stubborn?
A deeper prayer life does not insure greater, more fantastic results. It does not mean that this time when I pray for my friends’ little girl, her cancer will go away. It does not mean that every lost person I am praying for will suddenly get saved. I will not automatically see broken marriages renewed or family rifts mended. True, some of those things may happen, and I definitely would not complain. But, that is not the point of a deeper prayer life. The point is that my relationship with the Lord will grow stronger. As it grows stronger, I will become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s nudging. As I grow more sensitive, He will be able to work through me with greater power because I will get out of the way more and more. His plans and purposes will be accomplished through me and people will be blessed. That is what a deeper prayer life produces. Less of me and more of Him.
The littlest flunky of the enemy’s army knows this truth, and when signs are evident of a Christian growing in prayer, the attacks will begin. So, a deeper prayer life can also mean that life gets rougher.
Last week I did not acknowledge that as the problem. I floundered through the week, flustered and frustrated. By the time I got to yesterday, I struggled to even form a coherent prayer at all. But one of those prayers was to beg that the Lord for wisdom. James 1 tells me that He will give wisdom generously when I ask, and He did just that yesterday. He gave me insight to my struggles, showed me how weak my armor had been, and reminded me to keep up the fight.
This week, though, I know better. That does not mean I will resist every attack. That does not mean my children will suddenly behave and we will have a beautiful week. What it does mean is that I will be more stubborn this week. I want this growth. I need this growth. I am useless without this growth. And thanks to the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and the armor He provides, no enemy will use family discord to derail it.