Monday, May 1, 2017

Boomerang Prayers





Years ago, when my husband pastored a church, we held a spring break Vacation Bible School.   My husband and I along with the education committee felt it would be a unique opportunity to hold VBS during spring break when children and their families are not usually away on vacation, which can be an issue with the typical summer VBS.  This was the first VBS ever held by our small country church.

I volunteered to head up VBS which was a challenge since our congregation had more than a few vocal doubters regarding funding and whether children would even show up at all.  In their defense, we did not have younger families who attended our church, and I could see the leap of faith it would take for some who were wondering where these children would come from!

Using the organizational gifts the Lord graciously gave me, I came up with a schedule for the VBS planning meetings as well as a list of tasks.  The meetings were well-attended and some joked about the abundance of hand-outs I had which outlined jobs to be completed and timelines to be met.

Someone had commented on what a good delegator I was, and I realized, gee, I guess I am!  lol.  I wasn't sure if that was a compliment though.  I was afraid I was coming across more like a dictator because I was working with a "tough" crowd...

During the meetings, the doubters kept doubting.  My mantra became, "Just wait to see what the Lord will do!"  I even came up with a drawing of a thermometer with hash marks enumerating funds to be raised up to the amount we needed, and placed it at the back of the church.  As the funds came in, I would color in the thermometer.

I prayed and committed VBS to the Lord, and trusted Him to act and glorify Himself.   I believed that He would show the congregation all that He would do.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in Him, and He will act.
Psalm 37:5


And boy did He act!!  

First of all, our little congregation, and even the naysayers, came up big, with wonderful artistic and creative talent, to make one of the prettiest VBS backdrops I had ever seen!!  Complete with a pond scene and actual row boat to go along with the theme.

Secondly, the thermometer burst through the top!!  We raised more money than was needed!

And most importantly, the Lord drew to our little congregation's VBS, 20 children!!  Twenty children who heard the Gospel proclaimed every day!  

I still get chills thinking about what I was up against as far as negativity and how the Lord redeemed it all.  He indeed glorified Himself by showing a doubting congregation what He will do when something is committed to Him!

But here's the thing, I've realized recently, that I had put the above verse in a box.  For some reason, I had decided that this promise was only for an activity or a work that I was about to do or be involved in.   Now maybe I'm the ONLY one who had restricted this verse, and my recent AHH HAA moment will be to you a "you didn't know all that this verse applies to already Karen??" moment.  lol.

I have since taken Psalm 37:5 out of the box and embraced the fullness of all this verse promises.

Actually, when you read the verse in its fuller context, even my first idea about the promise,  although I believe still applies, is not the full rendering of what the intent of "committing your way" implies.

...He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
   and your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:6

These verses together promise the victory we can have over our struggle against sin.  It doesn't mean we won't ever sin again, but if we start our day, every day, committing our way to the Lord, we can trust that HE WILL ACT and bring forth our righteousness as the light.

What does it mean to commit...

Merriam Webster's definition of commit

 :  to put into charge or trust :  entrust

By committing our way to Christ every day, we are putting Him in charge of our thoughts and our steps; recommitting daily that He is indeed the Lord of our lives, and as a result, our words and actions will show that the mind of Christ is working through us.

The opposite of putting God in charge of our lives is when we try to control our lives...

English Oxford Living Dictionary's definition of control

:  The power to influence or direct people's behaviour or the course of events.

When I  described my role leading VBS, the Lord used my influence to help direct people's behaviour toward trusting Him with the outcome of VBS.  A healthy form of control.

Unfortunately, that may be the only time I enacted a healthy form of control.  I confess that most of the time I am looking to control people's behavior or the course of events for selfish reasons or more so, because I am not trusting God!  I think we all have experienced this at one time or another.

And when we choose to control people or situations, we are essentially dethroning Christ as Lord and instead have placed ourselves in the position of God, rather than committing those people and situations to Him.

Enter in the second insight I received as I unboxed Psalm 37:5...  An insight I received from the following portion of the April 24th Streams in the Desert Devotional...

"Dr. Payson, when a young man, wrote as follows, to an aged mother, burdened with intense anxiety on account of the condition of her son: “You give yourself too much trouble about him. After you have prayed for him, as you have done, and committed him to God, should you not cease to feel anxious respecting him? The command, ’Be careful for nothing,’ is unlimited; and so is the expression, ’Casting all your care on him.’ If we cast our burdens upon another, can they continue to press upon us? If we bring them away with us from the Throne of Grace, it is evident we do not leave them there. With respect to myself, I have made this one test of my prayers: if after committing anything to God, I can, like Hannah, come away and have my mind no more sad, my heart no more pained or anxious, I look upon it as one proof that I have prayed in faith; but, if I bring away my burden, I conclude that faith was not in exercise.”

I can commit people to the Lord!

The second definition offered by Merriam Webster provides a beautiful word picture for doing just that...

:  to put into a place for safekeeping  

When we commit loved ones or anyone to the Lord, we are entrusting them to the safekeeping of the Lord; the safest place they can be!!

This insight gave me such a thrill last night!

And right then I set out to pray, committing those on my heart to the Lord, sharing my concerns with my Heavenly Father and trusting Him to act.

Normally, I have the tendency to pray boomerang prayers, where I send a prayer off to God, only to take the burden right back up again.  That was not the case today concerning those I had committed to the Lord, as I remain at peace about their situations, leaving them in God's safekeeping,  proof that I  had prayed in faith.

Be encouraged!  All that matters to you can be committed to the Lord!   Your finances, your marriage, your parents, your children, your husbands, your wives, your unsaved friends, your work, your studies, your health, the health of loved ones, your emotional state, your trials, your present, your future, and I'm sure you could insert many more here.

What an incredibly, personal God we have!  One who desires to act specifically in response to our committal to Him in Faith.  But we need to exercise that faith by asking...

I think sometimes because He is God, we think, "well, He knows what I want or need", and although Scripture will tell us exactly that, it is important for our own Faith walk, and most especially for our relationship with Jesus, to be in constant communication and dependence on Him, by seeking Him daily to act in and through our lives for His Glory and our good.

This hymn came to my mind last night as I pondered Psalm 37:5.  I thought it would be a wonderful encouragement to us all as we set out daily to commit our way, our people and our situations to the Lord.


I Know Whom I Have Believed
Daniel W.Whittle

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

Refrain:
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.


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26 comments:

  1. EVERY day!! That is the key and am so grateful to be your neighbor at Soul Survival. Truly, for my soul to survive, I need to commit my ways unto the Lord daily and know that He is there taking the reins when I allow Him to do so. Thank You, Lord.

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    1. Linda, Thank you so much for your kind words. They truly blessed me. And thank you for sharing in the conversation.

      Blessings,

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  2. Just what I needed to read this moment. Boomerang praying has been a bad habit of mine and I thank you for that reminder and demonstration. Blessings!

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    1. Angela, Praise God that this blog post came along just when you needed it.

      I know what you mean. I was speaking to myself as I wrote this blog post.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. :-)

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  3. Much truth here, Karen. Also, I love that hymn. It's been awhile since I've heard it. Thanks for sharing.

    Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #InspireMeMonday

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    1. Gayl, I always appreciate your encouraging comments. Thank you so much!

      I'm glad you were my neighbor! Blessings to you too. :-)

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  4. Oh, thank you for this encouragement today, sweet friend! I am so thankful for you and the way God uses you here. You are a precious blessing to me and to so many others!

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    1. Hi Cheryl! You are very welcome!

      Your words always bless and humble me. Thank you sweet friend.

      May the Lord shine His face upon you and be gracious to you.

      Sending you much love.

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  5. I needed this reminder! I'm all too apt to want to be in charge and I forget to entrust the big stuff to God.

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    1. The Israelite in the desert definitely comes out in me all too often and I too need this reminder, sometimes hourly. :-/

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  6. This is so, so good! So glad to be your neighbor at Tune in Thursday!

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    1. Elizabeth, Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate them!

      Blessings,

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  7. Love this, Karen. Will be sharing with my online prayer group. Blessings :)

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    1. Thank you Lyli for your kind words. I am humbled and blessed that you will be sharing this post with your prayer group.

      Blessings,

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  8. Karen, I love this post! You have shared so many of my favorites..."casting all your cares upon Him because He cares for you"...I picture Jesus standing in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm...I take the person or care that I am praying about by the hand and walk out to that beautiful, peaceful green pasture...I place the hand of the person for whom I am praying or my care in Jesus' hand, and I walk away...knowing that He loves that person and He loves me more than I will ever know...and He will take care of us..."God Will Take Care of You" as the old hymn states...for "I Know Whom I Have Believed"...thank you so much for stopping by my blog today and leaving such an encouraging comment. You are always so kind and specific in your affirmations...many blessings to you!

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    1. Beth, Thank you for your kind words. :-)

      I LOVE the imagery you think upon of as you lift up your cares and the people you care about up to the Lord. Absolutely beautiful!!

      You are very welcome. I always enjoy my visits. :-)

      Blessings,

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  9. Way to go, Karen! What a fun, yet powerful testimony of God's faithfulness to our obedience to Him!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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  10. this was convicting. I'm too guilty of boomerang prayers; but He says to be anxious for nothing, to wait on Him, and to remember that He is a BIG INFINITE powerful mighty God. Thank you sister for this.

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    1. Emily, Thank you so much for sharing your own struggles with Boomerang Prayers.

      And most especially to remember He is a gracious God. :-)

      Your visit was such a blessing.

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  11. And ouch. I need to stop bringing away my cares from the throne of grace. <3 God is gracious; and He hears and cares for every single one.

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    1. Emily, We certainly are fickle aren't we. lol.

      When I commented on your first comment, I now see here we were on the same track. :-)

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  12. Loved seeing your sharing at Sunday Scripture Blessings so I could come visit and read your blog. Years ago, I volunteered to be a VBS teacher and I had never, ever done anything like that before. I was so nervous. It just wasn't me, but I felt led to step out of my comfort zone. God is good that way. Doing that led me to also become a Sunday School teacher with the young children when an opening came available later on. Never know where he is guiding. A VBS during Spring break sounds interesting.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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    1. Pea Bea, Awe, well thank you. :-)

      Thank you so much for sharing your testimony of how the Lord used you in VBS and the doors He opened as a result.

      I had a similar experience when I was asked to be a group leader for the lady's Bible study at our church.

      Certainly a lesson in the blessings that come when we obey His call. :-)

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  13. What a wonderful perspective on putting a verse - or even God - in a box! It was God's timing for me to read this verse! Just this Sunday our Pastor preached about taking God out of the box and believing for big things - much as you did! Thank you for this wonderful post! Talk about confirmation! :)

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    1. Miaismine, Praising God that this post came to you at just the right time. :-)

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me. It humbles me to know that the Lord has used me to tie in His lessons with a similar lesson that your Pastor shared.

      You are very welcome, and thank you so much for your very kind words.

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