When Praying feels like Watering Dead Roses

Only a hopeless optimist — who is also an amateur gardener — would water a rose bush for as long as I have. I believe it was dead even before I pulled it from its terracotta pot and planted it, much too late. Still, I persist in watering the wilted blooms alongside the snapdragons, in a flailing aspiration that the muted green will revive into pink blossoms again.

I don’t recommend this kind of false gardening hope, but as I stared at the faded remains of roses, I thought of the unfaded faith I desire to apply to my prayers. Sometimes my pleas to God feel too cliché to reach beyond our ceiling. They feel like tired words, as I request a glorious outcome from the same old verbiage. They feel like I’m watering a rose that can never come back to life.

But God. He is mercy. He hears our weakly worded prayers, and His spirit utters groanings too deep for words on our behalf.

When my prayers feel about as useful as watering dead roses, He is listening, inviting mustard-seed faith. Speak to Him in confidence and trust, for nothing is harder for God than something else. NOTHING. There are no levels of impossibility for Him. He can make dry bones come alive.

A few pages ago in my prayer notebook, Roe V. Wade stood at the top of my list for prayers for our country. Completely surprised at God answering like He did, now I wish I would have pushed into deeper prayer for the fight for life in the womb. Why didn’t I ask with greater expectancy, knowing God could indeed choose to work in this way against the odds? My praise and excitement would be more personal now if I had labored more in prayer with hope and trust. The prayers never felt like frontline work, but prayer is always battling where it matters most.

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

When all around appears wilted, and you have only the strength to utter a few overfamiliar sentences to God, remember WHO you’re sending them to. He moves mountains for His children. His graciousness is always on display. His Sovereignty holding all things as we:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

Wishing to be Wealthy?

Once upon a time in a faraway land. . . you know the drill. All started out beautifully, but somewhere a shift occurs. The hero or heroine meets their downfall. Orphaned. Framed. Lied about by enemies and antagonized by impossible odds. At the very least, there are loads of chores.

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Literature & Links (Lockdown Edition)

At the end of March I shared these book reviews of my recent reads, but I didn’t expect to have this many more to share so soon.

Reading this much is not normal for me. “I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things” (Austen). I set my goal for 20 books in 2020, hoping I could achieve it. According to Goodreads, I’m 9 books ahead of schedule.

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Obedient Next

Elisabeth Elliot’s famous encouragement, “Pick up the broom, and do the next thing” graced my growing-up years. Mom shared this motto with me first, and often it literally involved grasping the broom and sweeping the floor. As time passes, this phrase becomes more and more inspiring and brings hope to more than just my chores.

Lately all the extra time at home has given me an excuse to procrastinate on the little things and to be nervous about the big things. Little things like pantry organization and big things like a loved one’s lost job.

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