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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shut Up and Pray!

I'm about to celebrate my 33rd year of marriage to my beloved.
We're doing great. We've weathered many things that could possibly tear a marriage apart:
These all tested the strength of our love and commitment.
Not to say that there aren't more challenges coming around the corner.

In the early years of our marriage, my beloved and I spent many hours in conflict over a certain philosophical difference. He wouldn't budge.
But he was wrong, I knew it. So very, very wrong.
So I pleaded, cajoled, argued, reasoned, nagged, came close to threatening.

One day the Lord simply impressed this on my mind: Dena, stop talking, and just pray for the man.

Now that was a novel thought.
It wasn't like I hadn't been praying about my conflict, or for a hundred other concerns in my busy life as a wife, mother, server at church, community volunteer, teacher, friend.
But there's a difference.
When you turn something completely over to God and covenant with Him that you'll "cease striving" and wait for His powerful working-out, you're taking a giant step forward in your walk of faith.
Not too long after that agreement with God to stop talking and simply pray, I began to see encouraging things happen. I don't know if my beloved changed, or I changed.

Wow! This shutting up and letting God do the heavy lifting is a cool thing, I thought.
Why not try this out on my kids, too? And the situation at my school, and the misunderstanding with my friend, and. . .
I learned a valuable lesson.
All that talking and nagging and reasoning and pleading and trying to control things my way:
these all revealed a deep lack of faith.
It wasn't as if the thing I was praying for wasn't a good thing.

But when you step back and commit to pray unceasingly for God's best, you're saying,"
Lord, I give up. I've tried. I've talked. I've done everything that I can do. I, I, I.
Please do whatever it is that You're going to do, in Your time, in Your way.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions." (Eph. 6:18)
"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding." (Prov. 3:5 NIV BIBLE)



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