I skipped last week because I was getting ready to go on the women’s retreat for my church. I snapped the above pictures while I was there. Any guesses where that is? It’s actually at a state park in Guntersville, Alabama. It’s the second time I’ve been there and both times I’ve thought that Alabama is kind of the Rodney Dangerfield of states. It gets no respect. I mean it gets a lot of respect for its college football teams, but people don’t much go around talking about how beautiful it is. Anyway it was a lovely time!
Today my mom would be seventy-eight years old. I was thinking about her not just because it’s her birthday but because I read these words this morning: “a prophet speaks words of comfort and encouragement as prompted by the Holy Spirit.” Using words of comfort and encouragement was one of my mom’s many gifts. Sometimes I’d tell her about some situation in my life, or even some decision Will was facing at work. Hours, or sometimes days later she’d call back: “You know I’ve been thinking about it,” she’d say. Then she’d offer thoughtful and wise words of encouragement and comfort.
The devotional I was reading this morning also said that insight is the byproduct of intercessory prayer; “the more we pray, the more prophetic we will become.” (Mark Batterson)
Do you believe that? I do. In fact, for me 2019 has been a year of answered prayer. I am humbled and awed by the ways my prayers have been answered this year, but I am also convicted. When my prayers for others have been answered so definitively, so incredibly specifically, how can I not devote more time to praying? What exactly would be a better use of my time?
I hope you too know the joy of answered prayer.
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66:16-20