Encouragement for Today - Apr. 16, 2009
April 16, 2009
A Surprising Answer
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’" declares the Lord. ’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
I hate you!” she said as the door slammed behind her.
For ten long years I had been praying for the Lord to bring my stepdaughter a Christian friend to speak truth and life to her. Since she was living in another state, my husband and I had little direct contact or influence on her. We longed to raise her in our home.
Now, however, she was sixteen and attending high school. I doubted we would ever have the opportunity for her to live with us. So what could I do? I prayed for a Christian friend to move into her life to introduce her to Jesus Christ.
I prayed. I wrote in my prayer journal of the desires and concerns regarding my stepdaughter. Yet, I saw few positive results. Although familiar with Psalm 139:4, “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord” (NIV), I began to question if God heard my prayers.
Through some unusual events, my stepdaughter came to live with our family! Only she arrived angry and full of rebellion. Little did I know I had just begun one of the most difficult seasons of my adult life. As a blended family adjusting to a new member, we felt we were being pureed in a family-dysfunctional blender. We fought, we cried, and we prayed. I did not believe we would survive. My faith ran low in believing any change could occur. Although my faith faltered, my prayers prevailed.
One night I curled up in bed discouraged and exhausted. Again, the question surfaced, “Lord, do you hear me at all?” I picked up my prayer journal from the nightstand, and thumbed through the pages of the past year. The written record of my prayers pleaded, “Lord, bring her a Christian friend!”
Suddenly, I saw the answer to my prayers. God could use me to be the friend who would point her to God. From that moment on, I worked diligently to win her confidence and trust. Was it easy? No. Did we still struggle with life issues and rebellion? Absolutely! Do I still pray for her? Yes, indeed! I know God hears and answers my prayers, but not always in ways I expect.
The Lord affirms our key verse in my life time and again, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” He surprises and challenges me with His answers.
What surprise answers lay within your prayers?
Dear Lord, remind me how You always hear my prayers. Open my eyes to the answers You give in response to my requests. Help me to understand when You answer my prayers in completely different ways than how I expect. Let me accept that Your thoughts and ways are higher than mine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Listen to Today’s Radio Show for more about prayers that move the heart of God.
Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents by Susanne Scheppmann
God’s Purpose for Every Woman, Lysa TerKeurst and Rachel Olsen, General Editors
Visit Susanne’s blog
If you record your prayers in a journal, take 15 minutes to review past prayer requests. Ask yourself, Has God answered any of these prayers, and have I overlooked His obvious answer?
Or begin today to record your prayer requests in a notebook or prayer journal such as Intimacy with God: Prayer Journal. Jot down the date and the request and allow room for notes on how God answers your prayers in the future.
Do I believe God hears my prayers?
Do I dictate to God how He should answer my prayers?
How has God surprised me with an answer different than the one I expected?
Do I acknowledge that His ways are higher than my ways when I pray?
Psalm 91:15, “He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (NIV)
Isaiah 58:9a, “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” (NIV)
Psalm 34:17, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (NIV)
Excerpted from God’s Purpose for Every Woman
© 2009 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105