Snow, keep falling…

It snowed all day today, but I’m not complaining. We’re supposed to get snow in Northern Indiana, especially in February, so in my mind we’re right on course. Yesterday, though, I was complaining. It was not about the 17 inches that fell Saturday night and Sunday but the condition of US 6 on Tuesday.

My daughter had warned me on Monday that the streets were pretty bad, but it was now 24 hours later, and SR 13 through town was mostly clear. However, that was not true of US 6, which was an integral part of what I considered to be the only sane route to Goshen yesterday, that is, unless you had 4-wheel drive, which I do not.

If you know me well, you know that somewhere in my DNA is the Emergency Preparedness gene, which is my explanation for being quite near if not over the top when it comes to preparing for virtually any life-threatening scenario, including snowstorms/blizzards, floods, tornadoes, electromagnetic pulses, and other catastrophes.

However, my son, as he will attest, has not one smidgen of the EP gene. Case in point, he informed me yesterday that he had just taken the last of his daily prescriptions that morning. So… I sucked it in and headed out to Goshen, sure that 6 from SR 13 over to 15 would be a breeze. I could not have been more wrong.

As I gingerly descended the slight hill to the intersection where I would turn left onto 6, my 69-year-old heart sank and my hands whitened as I instinctively gripped the wheel at 10 and 2. Stretching in both directions were lines of cars and trucks slowly rumbling over a washboard of snow as far as the eye could see.

The road for lack of a better term consisted of a frozen, inches-thick crust of ice and snow, eerily reminiscent of an Ice Road Truckers episode. Thinking that surely it had to get better, I turned anyway; and after what seemed like an interminable length of time during which it did not get better, we reached the blessed black top of SR 15, which was clear all the way to Goshen.

Did I complain? Did I ever! I went over every excuse under the sun that the highway department could possibly offer for US 6 being in such bad shape–wind out of the north, frigid temps, snow 1-2 inches/hour, not enough plows, not enough salt, drivers calling in sick, unnecessary stops at coffee/donut shops. As my litany progressed, my son had the good sense to intermittently agree, probably because my focus was on the highway department’s shortcomings and not his.

When I turned north onto 15, I was thanking God, Jesus, and my angels for getting us there without incident. Of course, at 20 mph, it would have been pretty difficult to have any kind of incident other than a healthy skid. The return trip was much easier, because at least we had a track that reached the pavement. I have to admit that the greatest improvement, though, was in me, as evidenced by unhindered praise all the way home.

All day today, as I’ve gone about my normal tasks, I’ve been glancing outside at gently falling snow, and more than once praising Him for engineering my circumstances yesterday to remind me today of just how blessed I am, especially to not have to go anywhere the rest of the week.

Snow, keep falling just outside my window
where birds flit and squirrels sit,
the red and blue of feathers and reddish-brown fur
the only splashes of color in this gentle landscape.
Snow, keep falling, taking me back perhaps
to forefathers’ memories of hearth and home
left behind to travel west to this fair land of lakes
where homesteads were carved from hardwood forests.
Snow, keep falling, we are still a hardy lot
who love this land that feeds the world,
yet no more than our souls, freshly inspired
by the sacrifices of those who’ve gone before.

The Prayer Posse…

A note from a friend who I and eight other women across the country have been praying for came the other day on the heels of my asking God for ‘blind’ faith, which is the kind of faith that doesn’t look at circumstances but is totally focused on what God already has said.

It’s blinders on a horse that I see in my mind’s eye when I think of blind faith, probably because we share the road with a lot of horse and buggies in our part of Northern Indiana. Blinders serve a purpose. They keep the horse focused on the road ahead and prevent him from being spooked by what’s happening on each side of him. Blinders also make it easier for the horse to get to the destination, because all he has to do is (1) focus on the road ahead and (2) respond correctly to the driver’s voice and reins.

Blind faith is like that. It looks neither to the left or right and is not sidetracked by negative reports or feelings. Neither is it diminished by preconceived notions or perceived danger, but is a faith based wholly upon God’s Word. In fact, blind faith takes God at His word about asking and receiving.

  • “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19
  • “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”  Matthew 18:19-20
  • “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-12

For quite a few years now, I’ve been a part of a small group of women in various states with whom I share prayer concerns and who share their prayer concerns with me. We know that until there is an answer, we will be faithful to intercede on behalf of that person. Awhile ago I was about to send a prayer request out to the group, and the Lord brought to my mind that we are like a posse–a prayer posse, if you will, who joins together to rescue the good guys from the bad guy with our intercession.

When a prayer need is made known, I email or private message the others; and just as it was in the Wild West when people came together to respond to a crisis, we agree together to pray for that person’s need. Like the sheriff of old who oversaw the efforts of the posse, the Holy Spirit provides us with the guidance we need as we pray.

I know that sounds pretty simplistic, but isn’t that what we do when we intercede for people? Incidentally, I shared that with the posse, and one of them has already formed another prayer posse. Isn’t it just like God to plant an idea and then duplicate it to bring healing and encouragement to people?

Just think for a moment what would happen if everyone who reads this were to reach out to fellow sisters and brothers in Christ for the express purpose of praying in agreement. It could be for one another or for people they’ve never met–people who, just like them, know they need something… but may not know the Someone who’s in the prayer-answering business.

Christ-followers get their prayer instructions from Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 6:6. The New King James Version puts it like this: “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

I really like that passage in The Message: “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” That says a lot, doesn’t it?

I have found that for me the most powerful intercession occurs when I am in agreement with women who are committed to praying individually and separately for a particular person or situation. That kind of prayer does not have the distractions that comes when others are present; and it is no less powerful either, because everyone is in agreement.

Perhaps the greatest blessing of praying in secret is that you come “to sense His grace”–God’s unmerited favor–in your life. There is no other way to explain what happens when we go to Him alone in prayer, other than we know we have been in His Presence, the wonder of which often lingers throughout our day.

The coolest tool in the toolbox to assemble a prayer posse is the Internet, because you can email/private message prayer needs/answers with no delay to wherever in the world members of your posse live. It’s not even necessary that everyone knows each other, since one person is the message relay person.

I think the reason Jesus tells us to pray in secret is because, first, He knows how prideful we can be, and second, He knows how insecure we can be. Think about it. Usually in any group, large or small, there will be one or two dominant people, who just naturally talk the most; and there will be those who are there but never say a word. It’s no different in prayer groups.

Have you ever been in a small group situation with a person who is first out of the gate 95 percent of the time when a prayer need is mentioned? The well-meaning person generally prays at length, as in really long prayers, leaving everyone literally prayer-less as he/she finally hits the homestretch and finishes up. It may seem humorous afterwards but it’s irritating as it happens. I’m pretty sure that if God only needed one person to do all the praying, no one else would have shown up.

Now, back to my friend. I received a private message from her that the prayers that we had stood together with her in faith, believing, were answered! As I read her words of praise to God and ‘heard’ her joy, I felt like dancing!!!

I’d like to encourage you to ask God for blind faith, built on these words, “Hath God not said?”! You have no idea the difference it will make in your prayer life. And, if you feel the tug of God on your heart about forming your own prayer posse, there’s no telling the difference it will make in a whole lot of lives!

Happy prayers to you!  (Remind you of anyone?)