"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is it possible, Lord?

Did He really bring me all this way, around the world, just to pray?!

This distinct thought came wandering into my mind as I entered the little, red, prayer shed in my yard. As this thought came rushing in... "just so I could pray, Lord?!", in that moment, that very instance, I knew I have had that VERY same thought before. It was a serious case of "deja vu". These very words have been spoken in my mind before... I remember them. But, the memory was faint, far off.

As I asked the Lord about it... when have I had that very thought before, Lord?... the memory came back like a flood. Today in the quietness of my prayer shed, I could picture the scene like it was yesterday.

The year is 2000... not so very long ago, but it feels like worlds away! In this memory, I am sitting in a little beat up chair in my small, dank, beat-up apartment in Kazakhstan. I am sitting slumped in sadness, reading my newly found book, "Prayer" by O. Hallesby, (the first book on prayer I had ever read). In that Central Asian apartment, that day I sat with much emotion swirling around and within. I sat knowing that at the week's end we needed to leave this make-shift and beloved "home" (this sweet home where I witnessed my daughter's first smile, her first words, and first steps). We needed to head back into the unknown ... back to the States. The leaving was necessary and it was a big surprise. My husband and I were reeling.

We were going to live in Kazakhstan for 30 years, Lord! ...Why, Lord!? What in the world are you doing, Lord? ...Why now? Father God... all this language I have learned... all these relationships that we have worked so hard to get, to maintain? What in the world, Lord!? In that moment I was half-reading my book, half questioning the Lord. In that hard place, now over 10 years ago, is when I thought the thought, "Could He have brought me all the way to Kazakhstan... all the way here... only so that I could know how to pray?" "Is that possible, Lord?!!"

In that moment... in that small apartment in the middle of Asia, I knew the answer. Deep within I knew Father was whispering something very simple... "yes". Yes, Stephanie.

That day, in that tiny, dingy chair (in that home I loved) I began the long, life-journey of learning to pray. Now, only a few short steps further down the road and sitting in a prayer shed (and a much prettier chair), I am still learning this lesson. Is it possible, Lord, that You brought me all this way to pray?! Yes, Stephanie, it is.

What value does the Lord Almighty place on prayer? To what lengths will He go to get His people to pray, to teach them to pray, to lead them forward in prayer? What methods will He use to show us that prayer is real work and that when we labor in prayer we do not labor in vain? We read the books, we hear the sermons... but do we ever really believe that prayer--- our conversations with Him, our asking of Him, our faith in His power alone--- is one of His highest priorities? What value does God place on prayer?

Could it be? Is it possible that He would do all this... bring us this far... just so we would pray?
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