Bringing my gnawing worries and wrong thoughts in line with God’s, through worship and prayer, is what Moms in Prayer has taught me.
It has sustained me through years of the kids’ mounting trials: isolation on the playground, bullying on the bus, and temptation to think and act sexually outside of God’s borders for blessing.
It saw me through my eldest’s mental health issues that the pediatrician initially called a big scary word, schizophrenia, to the most unimaginably difficult trial of my life: losing my youngest to cancer when she was 16.
I’ve felt the Lord carrying me in His everlasting arms through deep waters as I prayed weekly with my Moms in Prayer (MIP) sisters.
While we fought for Gabby’s life, I spent much of my time praising Jesus. It’s the first step of prayer in a Moms in Prayer group and it kept my thinking clear.
I needed to focus on His goodness when circumstances were telling me otherwise.
I spent hours alone with worship music playing or just singing on my own while I walked in the backyard. Of course, I also “poured out my heart like water before the Lord” for Gabby’s life (Lamentations 2:19).
The only time in my children’s lives that I was not able to be in a MIP group, was the almost two years while we battled cancer. The demands of caregiving took us to hospitals out of state and even out of the country, and made our schedule erratic.
But the ladies did not stop praying for me. It’s a big part of why my husband, kids, and I are still standing strong in the faith.
After Gabby left for heaven, I jumped right back into a MIP group to pray for my two other children because I know, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” and our whole family needed and still needs that.
Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:1,3
I also realized that Gabby no longer needed my prayers. She was immediately and perfectly healed, protected, and filled with joy in Jesus’ presence. Praying for her was such a habit that I felt sad. Then God reminded me that the hours I continued to spend worshiping, I did alongside her. It was like she shifted from being my daughter to being my sister, and in a way, my big sister because she is now complete in Christ. She is always worshiping Jesus in everything she is doing in heaven, so that’s my point of prayer connection with her now. She is in Christ, Christ is in me, and our bond stretches into eternity.
I’m so thankful that 14 years prior to hitting the trial of my lifetime, God used MIP to help me learn and solidify the habit of praise first. I was steady in “entering his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise,“ (Psalm 100:4). Now when I walk in to talk with my Dad in heaven, I bow, I dance, I sing before my Father and alongside my child. Praise and adoration is the first step of prayer. We all need to start by taking our eyes off our circumstances and putting them on Jesus.
In the gospel of Luke, we find that shortly after the angel tells Mary she is pregnant with Jesus, she races off to visit her relative Elizabeth. When Elizabeth greets Mary, congratulating her faith for believing God would fulfill the promised messiah in her pregnancy, she replies with what’s called the Magnificat, Latin for my soul magnifies the Lord. “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior’” (Luke 1:46-47).
What are our souls magnifying? When earth shattering news hits us, good or bad, we need to magnify the Lord.
We can look around at our situation, circumstances, or problems, or we can look at Jesus. We can’t do both. We need to make him big in our eyes. In reality He is bigger than we could ever imagine. If we do not take out the magnifying glass of praise first, we will not see him or life correctly. He must be big in our eyes or our trials will overwhelm us. Looking with worship through the lens of eternity continues to help me cope daily with tremendous loss. Let’s all pull out our magnifying glasses; we know where to aim them!
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Moms in Prayer
Audra spent 15 years as a stay at home mom before returning to teach high school English, among other subjects, as a substitute teacher in the Long Island public school system. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, thinking, and praying in her backyard and has found kindred spirits at her two Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators critique groups. She also teaches kids’ Sunday school regularly and enjoys speaking at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and other women’s groups. To reach Audra or find out more about her books or speaking engagements, visit audrahemsworthcava.com.