Praying Circles

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Early last spring Marc and I found ourselves at a crossroads, like life usually does. We were feeling challenged to step up and stretch, create big change in several areas in our lives.

I’m not gonna lie, it was stressful and felt really overwhelming and impossible. It felt like the things we sensed God leading us to in 2018-2019 were too much to accomplish.

After wrestling with dreams, goals, and spreadsheets we finally recognized that all of this was too big for our own power. Much of it was out of our control.

I came home one day and Marc was scribbling this out. He referenced the quote at the top, and he said, if God is calling us to this stuff, we are going to have to just pray for it.

We sat together and wrote out the prayers in each circle and hung it first in our bathroom and then over our bed. We spent the next several months diligently putting these prayers before God. Big, impossible, extravagant feeling asks. Requests that would only be granted because of God’s infinite love for us and his infinite ability to provide and fill in the gaps.

Steadily over last year, one door opened after another. We stepped through the first few cautiously and watched God provide again and again. By the time the last door opened (the student loan one, which honestly we preferred first) we were running through throwing more than we would have ever felt safe throwing at it a year before. It still didn’t feel totally safe to run through that last door, but our faith had grown knowing that there was a loving Father grabbing our hands to run through it with us.

Marc found this forgotten piece of paper going through the office the other day, but we will never forget the lessons this exercise in trust taught us. This paper is physical evidence of Matthew 7:7-8 in our lives.

As we stand at another crossroads, this paper has been a great reminder. It came at just the right time to remind us of the generous faithfulness of our God and his lavish love in our lives.

When I read the prayers we wrote now, I have to chuckle because God laughed in the face of our timing requests. Again and again, I’m challenged by God’s timing. It’s so frustrating and it’s what I’m currently frustrated by as well. But here on this paper are four huge prayers answered, out of our preferred order. And it doesn’t matter now.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

- Psalm 27:14

Seems simple enough when you read it like a poem in Psalms. Way harder in real life, even when you have tons of evidence that shows you that God’s timing has always been better than my own. Always. And stubbornly I dictate my timing to God. I get impatient and frustrated in the fog. I start fanning the fog to try to get it to clear more quickly, and then I just look like an idiot dancing in the clouds.

The fog always lifts. There’s always a next step where I least expect it and when I least expect it…usually because I’ve given up on it happening because I’m IMPATIENT.

You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.

- Psalm 139:5

He goes before me and he follows me. Meaning, he’s already in the future and he’s in my past. My past isn’t a screw up. Things aren’t happening too slowly. The future will come as it’s supposed to as well because he’s there. And he’s with me now in the fog, and he’s not freaked out by it.

Last week these song lyrics gut punched me while I whined about timing again:

“I know if I stepped aside and released the controls you would open my eyes…I’ll go anywhere you want me.”

- Mercury, Sleeping at Last