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Posted May 6, 2012
NATIONAL PRAYER DAY
It was an honor to speak recently at the North Hickory Valley Christian School in Chattanooga as guest author. The occasion was National Prayer Day and the speakers were asked to share how prayer had worked in their lives.
I began thinking back to the very first prayer I'd ever prayed. I was five. My prayer had to do with God stopping the rain so I could go to the lake to swim. Selfish of course. But then most five-year-old's prayers focus on themselves unless they're saying grace over food or praying for sick loved ones.
The rain did stop.
Later, I often wondered if it was just a summer shower that would have stopped soon anyway, but at five-years-old, I liked to think God answered that little selfish prayer.
Then I began to think about the first time I felt God had spoken to me. I was outside enjoying summer at the age of six or seven and was making pot holders on a metal loom. Down to the last loops that consisted of two colors -- blue and green -- I thought that was going to be the ugliest pot holder ever! However, I felt an urgency to get started. With nothing else to do, I finished making it. When I looked up, I saw the blue sky reaching down to touch the green leaves of the trees growing from my lawn. And that's when it happened. God pointed out to me that he made the blue sky and the green grass because they were colors that were easy on the eyes and I would never tire of looking at those colors. When I glanced back down at my pot holder, I realized blue and green made the best color combination ever. I'd made a masterpiece, encouraged and influenced by the Master.
So, prepared to share those stories and others with the children, I didn't realize that I was also in for a treat. All of the students were dressed in red, white, and blue, to celebrate our country which is the land of the free. The program they put on was great and what a production! I also enjoyed hearing the other speakers' stories, especially the tales told by International Missionary Kathy Schmidt. The children grew quiet and pensive when Kathy shared about her visit to deepest, darkest Africa where a group of people she ministered to collected six cents for an offering. The Africans were so proud to be offering up those few pennies to give back to God for his work.
The kids at one point knelt down before their chairs and copied prayers onto long strips of colored construction paper. They prayed for many but especially our mayor, our governor, and the leaders in Washington D.C. and for the speakers visiting that day. Once the prayers were copied and then prayed, the strips were stapled onto another link of the long prayer chain. What a great way to teach children how to pray!
When I asked the kids if they could remember their first prayer, some raised their hands. And others raised hands when I asked if any could remember how old they were when they believed they'd first heard from God. We didn't have enough time for everyone to share, but they were all bubbling over with how grateful they were to be attending a school where prayer was acceptable and part of everyday life.
And the best part of my day -- it felt so wonderful to know those children were praying for me and my writing.
We never know when the privilege of praying openly might be taken away.
So, thanks to Debbie Grimes of North Hickory Valley Christian school for scheduling my author visit. It was my privilege. I think I had more fun than the kids!
"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned..." Colossians 4:2-3