Prayer in Dark Times

We start today’s blog with a story:

by Katie Kafka [artwork by Renee Kafka]

Once upon a time, in the land of a thousand cornfields, a sweetest babe, Anika was born.

baby

Her arrival into this world was meager at best for she arrived three-and-a-half months early, weighing just shy of 2 pounds, and was placed in the arms of a single mother, age 16.

But God formed her inward parts; He wove her in her mother’s womb. Give thanks to God! She is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Baby Anika took residence at the hospital, each day getting stronger, growing, making developmental strides so that she might go home one day. Yet not to her organic home, for her young mother gently began to let go and trust others to raise her sweet baby girl. This mom found the strength to consider the idea that Anika needed another family to walk her through life.

Wonderful are the works of God, and her soul knows it very well. Her frame was not hidden from God-Omniscient, when she was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; God’s eyes saw her unformed substance; And in God’s book were written the days that were ordained for her.

Meanwhile, a nearby family was on the cusp of completing the requirements necessary to obtain a foster care license. Weeks of training and due diligence turned into preparations that felt more like matters of the heart than a checklist of tasks to complete. Yet timing was nearly seamless. As Anika was ready for a home, this family was available for their first foster care placement.

family

How precious also are God’s thoughts! How vast the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When we awake, we are still with God. He is omnipresent.

Two days before Christmas marks the day that Anika first met the family that would become her own. Eight months of foster care turned into a commitment to loving this sweet babe every day thereafter. A merry adoption story indeed, for from the story of Anika’s beginnings, we catch a glimpse of God’s steady hand on her life from the moment it began.

momandbaby

This is the story of my youngest daughter, Noelle Anika. She is now 3 years old. From the moment she entered our lives, we had a renewed perspective of how God is in control of all situations. He had a plan for her life, long before we knew we were going to be a part of it. Whenever I look at her sweet face, I am constantly reminded that God is in control and His ways are Good.

We recently had another faith-growing moment with her at the beginning of this year. Last summer we noticed that Noelle had a lump in her neck. We could see it whenever she swallowed. We took her to the doctor and discovered she had a cyst by her thyroid. It wasn’t a huge issue or cancerous, but at the same time, the doctor recommended we get it removed.

The necessary surgery was described to us as very common and routine–something very manageable. We scheduled this procedure for January 5th of this year. But, contrary to expectations, this routine procedure turned out to be a bigger deal than we ever imagined. The one surgery actually snowballed into 3 surgeries, an ER visit, an ambulance ride to Omaha, and a three-week stay in the hospital complete with feeding tubes, several IVs and painful moments you never want your child to experience.

For the month of January, our situational lives were very much out of control. I cannot control another person’s health. I can walk beside them and help them get better but in reality, I am not a surgeon. I could not fix the problem. Our lives on the outside looked very much out of control. It was hard.

So how do we pray and live in intimacy with God when we are in an uncontrollable situation? How do we participate with God in these moments, and what do we when we are in the thick of uncertainty? We all experience times like these and they tend to be life-defining.

I would like to read a portion of Psalm 139:1-12 to give us an example from the Bible of what prayers look like during hard times. This is a prayer from David as he is dealing with those around him he refers to as enemies.

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.  If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

These verses were a huge encouragement to me during this rough time. David’s prayer focus during hard times turns upward. This prayer is an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty on his life. Even though he is struggling, he can identify that

      • God knows all of him.
      • God is with him all the time.
      • God will lead him through this.
Resting in and praising these qualities of God can give us strength to still live well during circumstances out of our control. I would like to give you all a moment to think about a situation in your life that goes beyond your ability to manage. Below is the newest prayer verse for you to download onto your mobile device for the month of February. Take a moment to meditate on the verse while you listen to this song. feb2016prayerverseThen, take time to remember that God knows you. He is with you, and He will lead you through it.
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