By Jami Lee Gainey
Romans 12:12 reads, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Many of you have heard Kent teach from Psalm 139 concerning God’s sovereignty. I agree with Kent that even though I don’t fully understand the sovereignty of God, He works when people are faithful in calling out to him – he works on those prayers, and they are powerful.
You iGosians know how we stress during training time that prayer is not “just something we do when there’s nothing else to do”; it’s what we should be doing first and foremost. It’s the groundbreaking work to any type of ministry we do. Before seeds can be sown, the ground needs to be plowed and broken up with prayer.
I saw this truth come to fruit in my life in a new, joyous way this past summer. This past June, my father was diagnosed with cancer and told he had less than six months to live.
Soon after learning of Daddy’s diagnosis, my husband, Nick, and I went to Silver Cliff with our youth group, where we prayed together each morning concerning Daddy. We prayed, as Jeremiah 31:12 says, that others would see us as “radiant over the goodness of the Lord” – and be drawn to God because of that. We prayed specifically for my aunt and uncle. I learned a week later that this was a prayer that Daddy and Momma were also praying.
Approximately two weeks after his diagnosis, my father spoke at his home church on a Wednesday night. Instead of talking about himself and his present suffering, Daddy challenged his church family to be intentional about praying for and witnessing to friends and family members who were not living as Christ would have them live (obviously my aunt and uncle were on our minds). He told them – “Don’t wait until you have six months left before you feel the urgency…start now. Persevere, and don’t ever give up praying.”
On the morning of August 10, 2009, Daddy went to heaven. As they carried his body out of the house, my Aunt stepped outside with my grandmother, and told her these words: “I’ve found Jesus.” Two weeks later, my Aunt and Uncle came in front of my parents’ church – my uncle to declare a new commitment he was making to Christ, and my aunt to share her new decision as Christ being the Lord of her life. God answered a prayer that some had been praying for over 35 years.
As Beth Moore taught in her last simulcast, beneath the desires of our heart, is the heart of our desires; and, only when destiny or God’s glory is at stake, will God make us patiently wait instead of answering our prayers concerning the desires of our heart. The desire of my heart was that God would heal my father, and allow him to live for much longer than he did. However, God knew that His Glory was at stake – and that His Glory was truly the heart of my desires. So he answered according to that, and now I know I will not only see my Daddy in heaven, but also my aunt and uncle, and who knows how many others because of testimonies of the Hope that God provides for us.
So as Romans 12:12 says, Rejoice in the hope we have, be patient during tribulation – when you are waiting for God to answer the desires of your heart – and be constant in prayer, knowing that God will answer understanding the heart of our desires, and in accordance with what brings Him the most glory.