Yesterday I met a friend for coffee before heading into work. It had been a long time since she and I had had the opportunity to catch up, I mean really catch up. Over several cups of coffee we shared about life, family, work, but more importantly we shared what God has been doing in our life. Across the kitchen table (the best conversations occur at the kitchen table) she slides a book for me to read titled The Waiting Place by Eileen Button. My friend and I both have a desire to write a book, but we both find ourselves “in the waiting.” Both of us are waiting for God to make the next move. It is in the waiting that I often get discouraged. Yes, even the girl who writes to encourage others gets discouraged. This morning, I had another coffee date, this time with God. Unlike yesterday’s coffee date with my friend, I was in no rush, I had nowhere to be until 4:30 this evening. With coffee in hand and my grandmother’s hand stitched quilt on my lap, I sat in my red chair and prayed, anxious to hear from the Lord. But no word came. I kept praying, journaling my prayers to keep my mind and hands occupied. My type-A personality wanting to make a list of everything I need to do today, so I kept my hands busy writing my prayers. Still no word from the Lord. I read from my Jesus Calling devotion by Sarah Young and read the subsequent scripture verses. Still nothing. I rise and refill my coffee cup thinking surly, God wouldn’t stand me up on this morning coffee date. I continue by picking up where I left off reading in the book of Malachi and answer the questions in the bible study work book. As a side note: Malachi 3:6 contains my favorite verse in the entire bible; “I, the Lord, do not change!” While I was reminded of great biblical truths, I still hadn’t heard from the Lord. I decide to call in for back up. I message my accountability partner* and ask her to pray for me in this area. I lace up my shoes and decide to go for a run, maybe God will speak to me on the road. The aroma of coffee and the sight of freshly baked pumpkin bread catches my attention. With another cup of coffee (don’t judge) and a slice of chocolate chip pumpkin bread I grab my bible and eat on the porch. I sense a nudge to read the story of Elijah in 1 Kings. Again? I think. I’ve read this passage numerous times over the past several weeks. Really Lord? You want me to read it again? Usually when I read the story of Elijah I begin in 1 Kings 19 (after the victory of Mount Carmel) but this time I back up a chapter and begin at 1 Kings 18. And there it was…the word of the Lord!
“After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah.”
-1 Kings 18:1
Currently, I am listening to a pod cast sermon series on Nehemiah by Phillip De Courcy. The series is titled Rebuilding Your Future. In this series I learned that Nehemiah spent more time in prayer than in work. In fact chapter one of Nehemiah begins in the Hebrew month of Kislev and chapter two begins in the Hebrew month of Nisan. According to Pastor De Courcy, this would be between our months of October/November-March/April, approximately 100+/- a few days. Nehemiah spent over 100 days in prayer over the work before the work began. Once he set out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, it only took 52 days. (Below is a link to this sermon series.)
“Prayer is the work.”-Phillip De Courcy
In the Disney movie Finding Nemo, Dori is a fish that accompanies Marlin on his journey to find his lost son, Nemo. All through out the movie Dori sings to and annoys Marlin by singing “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Friend, I’m here to remind you “Just keep praying, just keep praying…”
After a long time…God reminded me to keep praying! Today, God answered my prayer rather quickly. But, I want to be sensitive to those (myself included) who have long term prayers yet to be answered. Friend, no matter what circumstance or obstacle that you’re facing, keep praying through! The work is in the prayer. Just keep praying!
A great book I read earlier this year on the topic of praying through is titled “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson. I highly recommend reading it.
*My accountability partner and I send each other a message by 9:00 am daily, via email, text, Voxer, or Facebook indicating that we have spend time in prayer and reading God’s word. When our schedules align, we talk on the phone or better yet, in person over coffee!
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12