One of the reasons I was drawn to Heidi, my wife, is that I realized early on in our relationship that she was a woman of prayer. I must confess that when we first started calling one another, I broke it off for less than stellar reasons. What hit me a couple of days afterwards was the realization that she had been praying for me and my ministry all that time. My thought upon this realization went something like this: “Timothy, you’re an idiot if you pass up on this woman. She’s praying for you!” (And she was even praying for me during this break up).
I need a woman who is praying for me, and with me. Christ is the center of our relationship, and prayer has been the glue I’m not sure I’m wording that correctly, but we have had a lot of prayer time together, especially because of the number of trials we faced leading up to our nuptials, and the trials afterwards. Heidi has truly been a blessing to me, and given her words, I have been a blessing to her as well.
What I did not expect was that she would leave me her written prayers every day. It is like a sweet gift every morning. She left a note that told me she loved me, opened to the page where she has written out her morning prayers. Writing out her prayers has not only enhanced her own prayer time, but mine as well. Each one is a sweet gift and a sweet aroma not only to our Father, but to me as well. Her prayers have been an unexpected blessing.
We both feel strongly about written prayers. So often our prayers become stuck in the same random thoughts and requests. But when you write a prayer down, it truly forces you to think about what it is that you want to say to the Almighty God of the universe.
I’ve made the case before for written prayers because of this reason. I know there are many who are utterly opposed to the thought of writing down their prayers because they want to be spontaneous and led by the Spirit. What I have discovered is that spontaneity is quite often just a guise for not really wanting to think about prayer because all of our prayers risk becoming rote when we are not giving them some forethought.
And we should give our prayers forethought before uttering them. We do this all the time in the real world. Whenever we want to address our boss, or some dignitary or person of importance, we think about what it is that we want to say. In fact, most people I know would probably sit down and write something out if they had the opportunity to speak to a governor or a senator.
Why is it that we enter into the presence of the Governor of governors without much forethought as to what we are going to say? Well, you get the idea.
Writing down prayers is truly beneficial to our prayer life because it helps us frame what we are going to say to our Most Holy and Gracious God. As Heidi told me a few days ago, it helps her remember where she was in her prayer when her mind wanders. And all our minds wander. (I think there is a great hymn that mentions our proneness to wandering.) The point is that writing down our thoughts for prayer, or our prayers can be truly helpful. The idea really is not my own, I know Jesus had His disciples write down the LORD’s prayer for us, and a bunch of prayers in the Psalms. So it is not without precedent.
And Heidi loves to write down her prayers. I did ask her and she said it was okay that I share one with you, so you get the idea. The following is what she wrote on Monday. She usually starts by quoting something from J.C. Ryle, or a Psalm. The Psalms are always helpful in shaping our thoughts for prayer. Heidi’s prayer for March 23, 2015:
“Father in heaven, whom have I in heaven but Thee; and there are none on earth I desire besides Thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Lord, forgive our transgressions and disobedience to Your perfect Law. By Your Spirit, help us to walk in the newness of life that Christ made ours by His death and resurrection.
Thank you, LORD, for the blessings of the LORD’s Day just passed — the word, sacrament, and the fellowship with Your people. Thank You also, for the sweetness of the time spent with my husband, for the grace that You have given him, for his desire to preach Your word and to lead Your people in corporate worship. Father, may it please You to be preparing a pulpit for him, and a people for us to minister to. As You lead us, prepare us — strengthen us in faith, sanctify us, teach us Your wisdom, give us the mind of Christ.
Lord, we are in complete dependence on You for the future and all that it holds for our family. Please provide all that we need to meet our financial obligations. We thank You for all that You have blessed us with — all that we have is by Your grace and kindness alone.
Lord, finally, I ask for health and strength for Timothy and I for the work You have given us to do today. Guide Timothy in his studies and grant focus and clarity — give me what I need for the challenges I will face. Let us both remember where our Treasure is, and lead us safely there — In Jesus Christ alone. Amen!