Twenty-nine months. That's how long I've been praying about a particular burden on my heart. Not just me but our whole family. Including Daniel.
With the exception of my mother's health when she was battling cancer and Daniel's adoption, I haven't prayed this long or this passionately about anything else in my life.
Last summer, I felt conviction that I wasn't praying fervently--about Daniel, about this request, about my family. But we had been running a marathon that seemed to never end. My legs weren't just tired--they were cramping.
I noticed that in my prayer life I had lost my passion, my fire, in going to God. Part of it was perhaps because I knew God would answer my prayers in His way in His time. What would my little prayers truly do to change the outcome? I think I also began to wonder God's will in it all. Daniel's adoption was so hard--one ridiculous mountain after another. I began to wonder if it was even God's plan that we adopt him at all. But now that Daniel is home, I see that we were in a spiritual tug-of-war for his life.
We saw firsthand the power of prayer as we brought him home. It brought us even closer to God and into a sweet dependency on Him that we have not had since we lost my mom and our first son. So as the prayer for Daniel's adoption was answered, we have focused much of our prayer efforts on this other burden. (Forgive me for not being able to share what that prayer is right now. For many reasons I need to keep it private.)
One of my favorite scripture passages--one that makes me laugh every time I read it--is the parable of the persistent widow found in Luke 18:1-8. It's the one where the widow kept going to an unmerciful judge with a plea for justice. For a long time he refused, but finally gave in because he was so sick of hearing from her. Jesus goes on to say, "Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him night and day?"
So a few weeks ago, we stepped up the prayers regarding a situation that has been hopeless for 29 months. We even have a chart on our fridge that reads, "Fervent Prayer for . . . " and every time we pray about that situation I record it. Even if God's answer to this prayer is no, I can't tell you how beautiful it is to have the boys stop me at breakfast and ask to pray, or have my girls ask in the car or at bedtime to say one more prayer about it, or to gather as a family on our knees just for this burden.
Often in our prayers, we've asked God to "move this mountain." Daniel asked about the phrasing--I think he thought we were literally praying for God to move a mountain. We explained that this was not a real mountain but represented a big obstacle. That sometimes the mountain seems too big to climb or walk around--so tall that it seems impossible to reach the other side. And we need God to remove the obstacles so our request can be answered, but also to show that He was the only One who could have done such a miracle.
Well, for 29 months the mountain has grown . . . and our strength to climb has diminished. March 11, I wrote on our chart: "2 a.m.--Mom prayed with tears." I was the widow before a judge, pleading for mercy. But I was also Abraham laying Isaac on the altar and asked God to take this desire from me and make something beautiful from the situation if it was not His will to answer yes.
And late that afternoon, we got some news. Not big news, but it was a definitely the size of a small rock rolling down that giant mountain. You had better believe our prayer chart is filling up quickly now. God is good.
So today's Sunday Dinner of scripture is:
" . . . I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20, NIV)
My challenge to any of you who have a burden on your heart, is to not give up praying for it. You might even want to keep a chart or journal recording your prayers about that situation. (If you want to read about one of the greatest prayer warriors in my life, her story is here.)
The dessert of song is "Mighty to Save" by Laura Story. We have known and loved this song for a long time because Laura Story is part of the worship team at a local church and our daughters attend that church's school. Anyway, we have heard and sung that song so much that it was like a piece of gum that had been chewed a lot--it had lost it's flavor. But this morning, we sang it at our church. And I had Daniel next to me. He hopped up on his chair so we were shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm. I heard him belting out "My Saviour, you can move the mountains, You are mighty to save, You are mighty to save."
The tears began to flow because I had in my arms living proof that God can move any mountain. And that will be our theme song in the coming weeks as we pray, and wait, and watch what God will do in that situation.
In the coming week, may you go to the God who can move mountains and experience firsthand His saving grace.