Almost a dozen years since my trip to Uganda, and that young man I met is still messaging me on Facebook, asking how my husband and children are, asking how our church is doing, asking how can he pray for me today. We go back and forth. I have prayed for his daughter who has struggled with an illness. He has prayed for us in some of our struggles. If you wonder of the efficacy of short-term mission trips, I’ll argue with you that my 10 days in Africa were worth it, for me to know the face and name of this fellow believer. Me in the mountains of Montana and him on the equator.
I just heard from him today, asking for prayer about needing finances for a vehicle. It’s hard for him and his family to function without a car, and I feel for them. In my heart I wish I were rich and could just write him a check, but I’m not rich.
Driving home from work, I started praying for my African friend, but it felt more like a motherly worry. How in the world were they going to come up with the money for such an expense? It felt impossible.
But then I started in with praises, and that’s what I want to talk to you about. I’ve learned to halt myself when I’m breathing anxious prayers and do some “you are” exercises.
- You are the owner of a cattle on a thousand hills. You own everything.
- You are the one who can create matter out of nothing. I mean, if there were no car and you wanted there to be one, you could just say, “Let there be a car!” and it would happen. Maybe even 12 cars leftover.
- You are the good Father, good Shepherd, good Master. You take care of your people.
- You are the one who says, “Ask!”
- You are omnipresent, seeing my brother in Kampala and hearing my prayer way up here in the Rockies.
After those exercises, I was laughing, really laughing to myself in the car on my way home from work. Because I thought, “Wow, God can make a car happen where it’s needed. I serve a God who can do stuff like that.” Where did my motherly anxiety go? It melted away in the exercise of praise.
That’s when I asked, “Lord, would you take care of my brother’s transportation need? Thank you.”
So I’m suggesting to you that you’re going to enjoy praying a whole lot more if you get better at forcing yourself to stop and exalt the Lord’s character five times before doing any asking. Or 7 or 10 times. Maybe praising the Lord so much for who he is that you plum forget why you even approached the throne.