It had been a long, painful season. Years of disappointment, of dashed dreams, of failed hope and unanswered prayer had taken its toll and I felt numb, my faith a barely flickering flame. We had wanted another child so badly that the process consumed my waking hours and tormented my sleep.
Why am I writing about this now, on November 21, 2019? Because today is our second son, Jonathan Samuel Rhodes’ 33rd birthday and I am reflecting with deep gratitude, and pondering wisdom gleaned from decades of hindsight. More than anything I am in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. There have been many seasons of waiting on God since, and to be honest, I’m experiencing one now. But the time-tested truth I am reveling in today is that God is always in the waiting, doing things we couldn’t imagine, changing us in ways we could never have hoped.
So, in honor of Jonathan and gratitude to God, I’ve copied the article I wrote telling our story in 1993, back in the days of real magazines! Click here to read it!
And since it's almost Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post my best Turkey recipe ever again. You can find it here!
Prayer has always been a bit of a mixed bag for me, which is ironic, given that I’ve written seven books on the topic. But truth be told, I’ve experienced glorious highs when God seemed to be waiting in the wings to pour out whatever I asked for, and I’ve known laborious lows when the heavens were not only silent but felt like a foreign land I couldn’t get to.
Some decades ago, in the throes of one of those glorious times, I began to pray fervently for revival, leading our church in multiple prayer events and initiatives. We established two prayer rooms, one of which was filled with prayer 24/7 for months. Years later, revival hadn’t come and in fact, the church at large seemed to be losing steam. My hope for revival diminished, and my prayers ground to a halt. Without realizing it, I had prayed myself into unbelief. Every now and then I’d hear of an event or someone passionate about the things I once longed for, but all I could offer were dry words and fickle faith.
My hope for revival diminished, and my prayers ground to a halt. Without realizing it, I had prayed myself into unbelief.
Have you ever done that? Prayed for something or someone for so long that at some point you simply lost heart? Are you in that place today? Has your fervor diminished until asking, seeking or knocking for that desire has become a distant memory? If so, I want to encourage you with a few thoughts—but first, the latest chapter in my story.
A few months ago, for no explicable reason, my heart began to be stirred for a move of God’s Spirit that would transform the landscape of faith in our nation. Tentatively I began to pray, then helped lead in a series of Sunday night prayer gatherings as faith bubbled up from somewhere deep within. It felt good, like I’d come home to a familiar friend.
Are you in that place today? Has your fervor diminished until asking, seeking or knocking for that desire has become a distant memory?
Not long after I heard a speaker who encouraged us to ask God what facet of his face he wanted to show us this year. I heard the word promise keeper, and thought of all the promises I had held onto those many years ago related to revival—could it be? When I asked God to confirm this, I heard: James 5:19. Not knowing what the verse said, I turned and was astonished to read: Then he prayed again and God gave rain and the earth produced her fruit. Clearly it was time for me to pray again, to look to the God whose promises are yes and amen, even if they take a lot longer to fulfill than we ever expect.
Faith for revival has now come full circle for me and desires that were once dormant are bubbling up daily. I can’t explain why, but I believe we are going to see a great move of God in 2020 that will be abundantly beyond all any of us have ever asked for.
Clearly it was time for me to pray again, to look to the God whose promises are yes and amen, even if they take a lot longer to fulfill than we ever expect.
Maybe you’re struggling with a season of unbelief for something that matters much to you—a lost child or disinterested spouse, physical healing, a career move or financial provision. If so, take heart and remember:
I think I’d rather have prayed myself into unbelief than to not have prayed at all.
Recently I shared my heart for revival on our last Sunday at the church we planted and ministered in for 38 years. Perhaps it will encourage you. You can watch below.
I am intrigued by the question of why most of us struggle to find balance in a life of prayer and intimacy with Jesus. I could list a dozen reasons--too busy, too many distractions, no discipline, disappointment with God, don't know how, and on and on. But what if I told you that from where I stand, the number one reason we struggle is simply that we're trying too hard? That was the theme of my message--We are the Journey--last week. You can listen to it below. At the end I offer a self-assessment that helps you determine if indeed you are trying too hard. Click here to print it out for yourself, and listen to the message for the explanation and some grace-filled encouragement.
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Tricia McCary Rhodes
Author of 7 books and a professor for Fuller Theological Seminary, Tricia specializes in helping others experience God’s presence through practicing soul-care.