The call comes at 6 am, but I’m not startled by it. I expect it on this frosty morning, sitting by my laughing, gas-log fire, snuggled in a handmade quilt, a second cup of coffee in my hand.
She and I have been doing this thing, calling each week for prayer, for over fifteen years now, and who even does that? It is a gift we do not take for granted and for which we are entirely grateful. The Father of compassion, the One who gives daily mercies like the first rays of sunlight, the living God who supplies grace sufficient, it is He who gave us prayer.
At 6 am each week we call and talk and share our praises and our prayer concerns. The list can get long, containing the simple, the profound, the life-and-death request, the daily needs we have. Names of family and friends become familiar to us though we don’t travel in the same circles.
I marvel at the plan that brought us together in 2005. We attended a four-day retreat, unacquainted then to each other. I don’t even remember her being there. It was a follow-up Bible study where we met and were paired, for just a week, to call and pray together.
She was a young home-school momma and I was a grandmother of three littles. She was not a morning person by her own admission while I liked to rise before the sun. Yet she got up early, while her household slept, to talk to me and pray for me. Much younger than I and in a different phase of life, her words were laced with wisdom and a faith that carried across the miles of the land line telephone wires. I loved hearing her pray. I still do.
She had no idea what a mess I was as we began our weekly calls. She stuck with me through troubled waters, tearful petitions, and unsurmontable problems. When she took her turn to pray for me and mine, I felt my burdens becoming lighter as she helped me carry them to the throne of God.
We live in different cities and don’t see each other often. It’s been almost two years since we looked at each other face to face. Yet this morning, her voice is familiar and comforting, her laughter makes me smile. It is the sound of a deep, enduring friendship traveling through ear buds attached to my cell phone.
For fifteen years, we’ve heard the good, the bad, and the struggles of each other’s lives. We’ve been painfully honest in bearing our souls about our own heart’s condition and the problems in our families. I listened from a distance as her children grew into young adults, then married. They are having babies of their own, and I shared afar off her becoming a grandmother, rejoicing with her in this precious and unique relationship. She endured my tears when dear ones moved, when family members died, and surgeries just would not come to an end.
She is a safe place for my heart to rest. I don’t have to mince words with her. I know her love for me will be understanding and kind. This morning she called me her life raft, and I love the metaphore. We are together on life’s rolling seas. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it’s a raging storm.
The prayer journals where I list our concerns are filled with scribbles and notes to help me remember. As our custom is on the week before Thanksgiving, we look back through a year’s pages of prayer requests. We see the answers to simple and life-altering petitions. We accept that some remain unanswered, that others turned out diffeently than we hoped and prayed. We renew our trust in a Sovereign God who does what He plans and knows what is best. We pause this one day a year to give God praise for all of it.
One thing I’m sure to thank my Heavenly Father for is this unique relationship with my prayer partner. I wish every believer in Jesus had such a powerful blessing. It was not somethng I asked of Him; He simply gave it. I marvel at His ways, His kindness in blessing me with this good thing on my life journey.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, Most High; to declre Your goodness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night.
— Psalm 92:1, 2 NASB
The Living God gives and gives because He is a good and loving Father, causing His goodness to fall on all of us, undeserving as we are. At this time of year, our hearts are reminded to be thankful. This year, I consider the priviledge of prayer, the way God made a way for us to come to Him through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the Great High Priest who intercedes for me.
I read recently that the cure for whining is to be grateful. I’ve tested this theory and found it to be true. It turns my mind from myself to the Living God. And that is a much better view. What would it look like if thankfulness was a daily practice for the people who call themselves children of God?
He is worthy of praise and honor and glory, the offering of our lips. Today remember and give thanks. Tomorrow let’s do it again.