Several Sundays ago at church, part of the sermon was about ‘praying with expectation.’ That phrase has tumbled around in my head since then as I have mulled over what it means in practice, in real life. Nothing like real life application to take the thought to the next level, though.
I am finding, though, that ‘praying with expectation’ is much easier for me to say than to do. I get caught up in too many things, to many doubts. I get the principle—pray, believing that what you have requested will happen, then give thanks when it comes to pass. James chapter 1 talks about those who don’t believe when they ask; it calls them ‘double-minded,’ ‘unstable,’ and ‘like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.’ And sometimes I see myself there. Do I REALLY believe that God will do this for me? Do I REALLY believe that He is capable? I would tell you yes, but sometimes I think that in my heart of hearts I don’t trust. I struggle with the ‘Is this what I want or is it God’s will?” “If it’s not God’s will, is it something I really want? How do I know?”
Last January when Brent first told us he was going to enlist in the Marines, I cried. Buckets. Almost every day. I couldn’t see my baby in uniform or going to war. Growth is frequently painful, and this has been no exception. Waiting for him to leave, then sitting helplessly on the sidelines as he dealt with illness and injury during basic training—those were HARD. Learning at his graduation just how serious his illness had been was even worse. But you know what? God’s been faithful. I have been blessed with amazing friends who remind me (especially when it gets tough) that our prayer since December 1 has been that God would do what it takes to recapture Brent’s heart. THAT’S a hard prayer, and praying it with expectation is not easy. I know it will be painful for Brent. I don’t want to see my son hurt, to see him deal with hard things. But I also know that child and know well that he is a ‘school of hard knocks’ student. He doesn’t learn well from the experience of others. So while I hoped that the illness in December would serve as a wake-up call, I was fairly certain that it would take more. How much more? I didn’t know that. Are we there yet? I don’t know. That makes it much harder to pray with expectation. Because each injury is tougher to deal with, longer recovery, and more potential for complications.
It was refreshing to have Brent ask that we have his friend Derek contact him. It has upped the bar for me. Takes the ‘praying with expectation’ to the next level. And still I struggle. I still know what my heart wants…but is it what God would have for him? Every Many times every day I find myself like a ‘double-minded’ person, unable to muster the faith to truly pray with expectation.
I love Casting Crowns. I’ve spent a lot of time listening and trying to practice the faith they sing about in “Voice of Truth”
Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand
But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
You you'll never win
But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth
I WILL choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth. It will make it easier to pray with expectation. When it involves my children, how could I do any less?