Do You Have Prayer Warriors?

Two women bowed together in prayer with Matthew 18:20 overlaid.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved

It’s been a rough few weeks. I’ve thought about writing a post but couldn’t decide what to put in it and what to leave out. That’s the difficult part when writing about what’s going on in our current lives. There is a thing called privacy.

When it comes down to it, I think the most valuable part of the last few weeks has to do with prayer warriors. In Matthew 18: 20, we’re told:

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

A few weeks ago, I struggled with a concern for my daughter. Two things were going to happen that day that could change everything for her and us. One was a medical test, one was a legal issue. In my heart, I prayed to God asking him to let the medical test be negative. I couldn’t deal with any other outcome, and I told Him so. That may sound presumptuous and selfish, but we’re not supposed to be faced with more than we can handle. A positive test would impact all of us and leave several hurdles to overcome. I. Could. Not. Face. That.

I, also, asked for the right outcome with the legal issue, but I focused more on the medical test and my daughter’s attitude for the day.

I prayed that morning. And I prayed. And I prayed.

Matthew 18:20 kept surfacing in my mind. I knew I should turn this over to others to pray, but I struggled with the decision. Would I harm her more by sharing her personal life issues or by not sharing? After a long period of interceding for my daughter, I turned to several prayer warrior women. It’s important to point out that not all of these women are close friends. I chose the ones who I knew had a strong prayer life. Women I knew would intercede for my daughter. Their responses were overwhelming! I had 10 women lifting both situations before the Lord. Each approached the prayer in her own way. But, most importantly, each one prayed.

I must say thank you to these women. They know who they are. Each of you, in your own way, took the load off of my shoulders and made it possible for me to move through the day without worry.

And what happened?

The medical test did come back negative. Hallelujah!

The legal decision was postponed.

In His own way, God answered the second part of the prayer. It’s not as clear of an answer as the first one, especially by the incidents that led to the postponement, but I have faith that it’s the answer that made the most sense on that day.

Prayer warriors are more than people who will say, “I will pray for you.” They actually do. They stop and entreat God for you. They beseech Jesus to help you. They settle your troubled heart with the calm assurance that God can handle anything they lift up to Him. Over the years, I’ve come to understand the importance of this kind of relationship. We need others who will stop what they’re doing and pray.

Do you have prayer warriors who will stand in the gap with you?

Grand-parenting: When Plans Change

I’m a planner. I create schedules. I make lists. I prioritize.

This is how I’ve been for most of my adult life. I’m wired that way. Running a home and a business requires these skills.  Still, surprises happen. I learned a long time ago to readjust when necessary. It happened a lot during my twelve years as a single mother. That experience left me exhausted. One of those causes for my exhaustion reared its head yesterday–one of the grands was sick.

As a single mother, I held my breath each time one of my kids coughed, sneezed, or complained of not feeling well. I needed to work to support our family and couldn’t afford to miss a lot of work due to a child’s illness. The threat of a sick child created heavy stress for me. Their needs left me stuck between trying to keep my job and trying to nurture and care for my children. It was never easy.

One of our daughters, the one who’s in recovery now, got sick ALL. THE. TIME.

During the years I spent fighting to cancel my ex-husband’s visitation rights (trying to prove child abuse isn’t easy), I gathered data that proved she got sick primarily after visitation weekends with her dad. Unfortunately, I lost a job due to her constant illnesses even though I explained the situation to my manager before taking the job. He told me, “No problem. You can work from home on those days.”  I guess he didn’t believe the frequency or had a poor memory. Either way, I lost my job.

So it’s no surprise that I rejoiced when my children reached their high school years. Finally, they could stay home without me. Then the children grew up and left. I could work without these concerns. I could actually use a sick day for me.

And now I’m back in the first boat. It’s not as bad because my husband can, and will, step up if I have something crucial scheduled. Also, the workplace has softened in this area. People are more understanding than they were thirty years ago. Still, I have plans for each day. Items on my To Do list need to get done. With my granddaughter home yesterday, I struggled to regroup. I didn’t get as much done as I’d like, but I did get a few things done.

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1

Proverbs 27:1 spoke to me yesterday; God’s plan will always override my own. Some people don’t plan. They cite this verse, or they claim it’s useless because something always changes I don’t agree with that, and I don’t think that’s God’s plan either. He wants us to plan, but he wants us to listen for His will and be open to readjusting if needed. In fact, one item I needed to do yesterday got rescheduled anyway. The person I was to see got sick, too. Ok, yes God. I got the message. What a relief.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

I find so much wisdom in Proverbs these days. I can plan, but I need to let God correct the plan when necessary.  Exactly what I did yesterday. I rescheduled a few items for the next day and put off others until next week. And some of those that could be done from home, I tackled in between caring for my grandchild and making a trip to the doctor.

It’s not wrong to plan–thank goodness!–but we do need to be open to shifts, if not dramatic overhauls, to our plans.

Proceeding With Caution

Last week my daughter went to her court hearing and was released. I learned of it the day before, but I couldn’t be there. We had dental appointments and dance class. I stayed busy, but I wondered if she would disappear or stay on the track available to her–moving into a recovery house. I’m relieved to say, she did go to the recovery house. So far, she’s still there, but the last time she went from jail to a recovery program, she lost her cool over some minor issue and was asked to leave. I revisited this event with her the day before her hearing, stressing that she needed to listen and stay calm in dealing with rules and consequences. We will see.

After her first full day in the house, she called me to tell me she loved me and to thank me for the few clothes items I took to her. Unlike some shelters, she’s given a job with a wage, so she can pay for the program and her food and clothing. I like that, but she did need a few things to get started, so I gave her some items I no longer needed.

She called around 10 pm–the first free moment she’d had. She’d spent the majority of the day getting new copies of documents that most of us have without thinking about it. People on the street lose these documents.

Later in the day, they went to a recovery meeting. She still needed to speak with a caseworker before going to bed but grabbed a second to call me. As we were talking, she said, “Guess where our meeting was.”

Turns out she ended up at our church. Many programs use our facility, but I was surprised the recovery house took them across town instead of to a program closer to the house. Prior to the meeting, she was praying for God to give her some sign that she was doing the right thing. I have no idea why she questioned her current plan. Maybe it was a tough day. As in Proverbs 22:3, the path she was on is the safe one if she’ll take refuge in it. To walk away would be to continue on her old path. That  path is dangerous.  She said he answered her by sending her to our church. She was so excited that she bounced through the halls exclaiming, “My kids go here. My kids walk these halls.”

I’ll take any good sign I can get right now, but I’m waiting for something to go wrong, too.

I pray she’ll stick it out. I pray she’ll get on track. I pray she’ll take the time to get her act together before she asks the courts to give her custody of her children again. And there’s the conundrum. That last prayer terrifies me.

The prudent take refuge. The simple fall into danger.

The courts will look at housing, income, and her participation in a recovery program when deciding whether to reunite the grands with their mother. These decisions happen too quickly, seeking a misguided goal of reuniting children with their parents as soon as possible. Many children return to parents who aren’t prepared for the responsibilities of raising children. The world our children grow up in today contains so many dangers, and the courts exacerbate the situation by using a lack of prudence in their decisions. My daughter attempts to be a buddy to her son and daughter rather than a mother. She discounts our rules and suggests things I feel are inappropriate. Parenting is a skill she should have developed a long time ago.

She didn’t or the streets took it from her. Either way, this scares me.