Tuesday, December 31, 2019

An Audience of One

I have written and spoken in public about the fact that I do not make New Year's Resolutions.  It is something I have never done.  And I find myself on this New Year's Eve resolute to avoid doing so yet again. I feel that resolutions set people up for failure and disappointment. The reason is because most resolutions are Me Focused. Rather than a resolution that is Me Focused, consider all the ways that you can help and encourage others. And rather than doing it once or even twice, discover new ways that you can incorporate it into your life so that it becomes a habit. If a situation presents itself at any point throughout the year, act immediately to participate by giving of your time, your talents and your treasure. A heart change often takes place and then it will enable you to desire to help others, even when you feel you may have nothing to give.

My mother was a giver, a lover, an encourage-er, a pray-er.  We didn't have much when I was a child and at times, we relied heavily on the kindness of others. Food, vegetables, canned goods, sometimes even camp tuition being paid for or money for gas and insurance would be dropped off, and even left on our front porch or in our mail box without any fanfare.  When my mother knew who the kind person was that gifted us something, she would thank them and make a recycled card. She would also sit with them, hold their hands, and pray earnestly with them. For their marriage, for their children and sometimes grandchildren, for jobs, for deep heart hurts, for finances, for vehicles, and often for answers to prayer.  She accepted the gifts of kindness, the gift of friendship, and knew that what she could give in return, was her time, and her ability to pray.

When my mom prayed, it was never filled will fancy language. She was never out to impress anyone with her ability to pray or say beautiful words. She prayed for others, but prayed to an Audience of One.  She knew her gift was intercessory prayer. She had the ability to drop everything at a moment's notice and pray. Pray diligently, pray earnestly, and sometimes, until there wasn't anything left to pray for. Her prayers of Thanksgiving were often why people would even seek her out in the first place.  When ungratefulness or bitterness would settle into someone's heart, when hopelessness and despair permeated someone's life and took up residence, my mother knew it was time to kneel. She prayed with people. She cried with people. She modeled prayer for people who couldn't yet pray for themselves. She showed hurting, sorrow filled people how to be thankful, even when it hurt. She prayed through the ungratefulness and bitterness, against the hopelessness and despair. She prayed until it hurt less. Until sorrow became but a shadow and the Joy of the Lord was on full display.

My mother's gift was the gift of prayer.  And what a mighty gift that was. Today, I am so thankful for her example, her witness, and her ability as a parent to show me how important it is to give and also graciously receive.  And sometimes that gift, is the gift of prayer.

This New Year, I will be praying. For my friends, and family and neighbors. For the people who approach with tears in their eyes and are not yet able to verbalize their need.  I will hold them in an embrace, and pray for them quietly in their ear, so only they can hear.  I will share cups of coffee and share Truth and Pray.  My prayers, like my mother's, will not be eloquent or perfectly worded. But I will will continue praying, because I know those prayers are said, for an Audience of One.

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