This particular blog post has been a long time coming. I've probably thought about writing this for the last 4 months or so, but one might understand that an idea, as good as it is, takes time to really formulate into something worth producing.
Another reason I'd like to write is because no one really talks about this stuff very much and I for one would be encouraged by someone's willingness to share their heart IN THE PROCESS, not necessarily just at its completion.
In fact, I was just complaining about how there aren't really any books out there about praying and waiting in this arena that aren't written either for a. teenage girls or written by b. a married person/married people.
What about my story?
Books written by married couples about waiting while single can indicate that marriage is the reward of being a "good girl" or a "good boy" for God. Does that mean I haven't been as faithful or whatever?
Now! I've been immensely blessed by these books and they have their place! But what about folks like me?
This post is certainly not a book, but its meant to encourage those who wait.
For this particular post, I have a scripture to share out of the book of James.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. - James 5:13-18 ESV
Some people would only apply the idea of "prayer of a righteous person" to healing the sick etc. but
this scripture actually encompasses the idea of what part prayer should play within our daily Christian lives as a whole. Prayer should accompany everything.
I like how it says that Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. It means that what he had, I have too.
If HE can pray that it not rain and it doesn't and then pray that it DOES rain and it does, what can I pray fervently about and for what purpose?
This is where a lot of us might miss the jackpot of pure gold in our faith walk.
Let me share a little. (And this is crazy since I think I'm about to be more honest about this subject than I've ever been in my life - to the world of course. Go big or go home, right?)
I'm 23. As a little girl I'd always incorporated marriage into my dreaming and planning of my future. I didn't want a big house or nice dresses. I imagined living in an apartment with a good husband and a vision bigger than what I could imagine as a child. A mystery vision for our lives. But it was big. And it was about God.
I was taught at an early age the idea of keeping this guy in mind and have gone through different seasons of praying for him, whoever he was.
People used to say that I had my head in the clouds and needed to get back to reality. You know? That hurt, but I didn't care. .... well.... okay. I did. Because I began to create sarcastic stories opposite of what I really longed for in my heart. It became a game. When people brought stuff up, I'd spout out my ironic sarcastic stories with slight amusement. That's what they wanted right? They wanted "reality" and I knew the truth. The truth was, I wanted a fairytale. And everyone shot me down.
Fast forward a few years and add in a few broken hearts - there you have it: the "real life" people said I had to experience. It feels like people were waiting for it.
Sarah had entered the world of reality. There should be an applause or something right?
No one knew what to say to me.
No one knew how to encourage me.
It hurt, guys. But I just kept telling my sarcastic stories, joking about how self-inflicted misery was the best kind because at least then I was in control of my pain.
So! I took a year off of dating. That went well so I took 2 more years off. And the Lord began to heal my heart. BEGAN, mind you. I'm a work in progress. But it was over these years that God ushered me into a new season of prayer that I believe God invites us all to come into if we're looking for more.
See, what I learned and continue to learn from the Holy Spirit is that when you fail or fall down in the midst of pursuing what you believe God has for you, instead of running away and hiding, He invites you to feel the pain of disappointment and hope in the God who promised in the first place instead.
The world says, "Harden your heart, you silly dreamer! Welcome to reality!"
And how easy it is! But if a road is too easy, I would be skeptical of its righteousness.
In the difficult situations, its never easy to do whats right.
restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for His name sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me. - Psalm 23:3-4
But God; God calls us to come up higher. His invitation is, "Tell Me how you feel. Open your heart to me! I'm with You on this - that dream is Mine. Keep your heart open."
If God has ever convicted you to pray for the people who hurt you, I don't need to tell you how hard it is to pray for someone you don't even want to hope is out there anymore.
But its in this place God did something of a miracle: He gave me His heart for my future spouse.
What about you?
Are you in denial?
Do you have an issue with the Holy Spirit speaking to you about this area of your life?
Are you angry deep down at the idea of a "dream come true"?
I was. Something in me cringed when the word romance got spoken out loud. I actually secretly loathed when people talked about hope.
I didn't realize it until God used a relationship to kick up some of that though.
It stayed deep down in my heart but the fruit of it will always come up and out.
I told guys how it would be if they even dared try to pursue me.
Out of fear, I would tell them not to waste my time if they didn't know that they were serious about me.
I freaked out when guys I didn't like DID like me.
If I liked a guy, I'd make sure to give him every opportunity to pursue me and made myself available.
Meaning, I absolutely didn't believe that God could show the RIGHT guy where I'd be if I didn't.
I myself became my own obstacle - and every other guy's obstacle to my heart.
I was willing to settle.
And you know what? I had a dream for more than settling, but I didn't know what that was because I refused to admit how angry I really was about hope and "fairytales".
Instead I told God how it was going to be.
I assumed that because I wanted certain things, God's way would be to give me the opposite.
Because people told me that what I WAS praying for in my future husband might be completely disregarded by God.
I feel righteously angry today about it. I stopped praying for what my heart longs for in the guy God has for me because people told me God might not care and would probably give me someone who was lacking in the areas most important to me.
But God had other plans.
I began to get involved at a House of Prayer where I live and had ample amounts of time just sitting before God and purposing within myself to just BE in His presence. God began to break me down and in a way, crack me up. ;)
The crazy part was - I'd be at the house of prayer for hours and I'd hear NOTHING. It was those 30 minute drives to and from where God and I had some of the most defining conversations. I often wonder and have begun to believe that God only really had me at the house of prayer so I'd have to make all those 30 minute drives. :) Sneaky....
But in those 30 minute drives, much like if I were laying hands on someone and praying for them from the scriptures and prophetically, God would swell my heart so that I couldn't NOT pray for my dearest unknown friend.
But something huge DID happen at the house of prayer before this happened:
I finally caved. I broke down. I finally told God I hated my dream and didn't understand why God kept it around.
That's it right there.
I was honest with God.
But He was with me. He IS with me.
Crazy part of all of this is that God, even in all of this is teaching me how to communicate what I'm really feeling instead of making snarkish remarks and throw up walls to block people from judging my little-girlish thoughts from time to time.
The result? A person completely vulnerable with nothing to hide. Gentle and soft-hearted. Anything but weak.
Do you know what God says about that?
Let your gentle spirit be made known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:5-6 NASBHis peace guard's our hearts when we allow Him to soften us and change us.
So where am I right now?
I'm waiting on the Lord. He is my Strength and my Defense.
I'm praying for my future husband and anyone else God puts on my heart. If rain falls and doesn't fall because of Elijah's prayers, then I'm praying the scriptures fervently for the dearest people in my life.
And most importantly, I learning not to walk in fear. Who cares what people think?
I have nothing to hide.
"Make your gentle spirit known before men." Okay. I will, God! Good call!
Are you praying fervently for your spouse or future spouse?
The scriptures call men to guard their wives, their purity and holiness just as Jesus does for His church.
Proverbs 31 woman does her husband good all the days of her life.
Since when did this just mean when we DO know who that is?
Jesus prayed for us before we were born, so what's stopping us from praying for someone who a. hasn't been revealed to us yet or b. we haven't met yet?
Do they NOT need prayer just because we don't see them?