I've had a burden for my daughter, which I shared about here. There is nothing that brings you more to your knees than not being in control of something. Well, we are never in control of anyone's spiritual condition. That is for the Lord to be in control of. And, in fact, everything is for Him to be in control of. So the more we accept that truth, the more peace we can have.
Anyway, I digress. On Sunday evenings, a pretty small group of people of the church meets to spend an hour in prayer. It's a wonderful time to agree with one another in prayer, praising the Lord and carrying one another's burdens. Each prayer meeting is led by one of the pastors, and they guide the prayers in different ways and on different themes. We were praying through some of the prayers of Paul, and praying those things for our church in particular.
One of those prayers was focused on the gospel, and that we would not be ashamed of it and that we would proclaim it. Silently I prayed that I would have opportunity to share the gospel more, and that I would especially be able to communicate it clearly to my children in our day to day activities.
My girl had a particularly rebellious evening when it was time for bed. And she had just been given her next task from her AWANA book: a chart of obeying parents. One of the areas of obedience was bedtime. She had blown it. She was lamenting over not getting the check for going to bed when asked.
I gently directed the conversation towards what is at the heart of chart. The chart wasn't the issue. The issue was her sin. Right there, in that moment, the thing to be concerned about was not the chart or finishing the last task of her AWANA book. It was the sin that she was committing right there that put Christ on the cross.
So I explained that to her. I explained that she is in need of confessing and asking for forgiveness of that sin.
For the first time, she got it. We have talked with her about that. We have shared the gospel over and over with our child. We have instructed her in the understanding that in disobeying us, she is disobeying the Lord. We have gone over her need for a Savior, and that the only way to conquer sin in to take it to Jesus.
She's never wanted to. She's never felt sorry for violating God's holiness- at least not directly towards Him. She's felt bad for sin, but mostly because it made mom or dad sad. She has always distanced herself from accountability to her Maker.
I asked my little girl if she felt sorry for her sin. I asked her if she wanted to be forgiven by God. I asked her if she believed in Jesus and that He dies for her sin, and rose again. I asked if she wanted to pray and ask for both forgiveness and for help to live for God.
So, for the first time, my daughter showed a desire to pray, to cry out to God. She's never really wanted to. She's been very hesitant to pray, and we have always asked and given opportunities. But we haven't ever forced that.
I helped her say a prayer. She didn't really know how to say what she wanted to say, and only our sovereign God knows exactly what was in her heart. But she repeated after me confessing her sin, saying that she believed in Jesus and that she wanted Him to come into her life and help her live for Him.
I'll tell you, that there was a little bit of dust in the room, if you know what I mean.
This morning she had a bad attitude towards her dad, and she said, "I thought being good would be easier today!" There was another opportunity to remind her that she needed to depend on Jesus to give her strength and help her serve Him.
So we prayed again before school.
And she was still upset with her dad.
So we prayed again at bedtime.
In the last 24 hours, she has prayed 3 times. That is more than she has been willing to do or wanted to do in just about her whole life- each time asking for the Lord to help her live for Him and be obedient.
None of this is about me. It's about God. I have done nothing. And nothing's perfect, and only He knows what is in the heart of my oldest child. He is at work. I believe that He has softened her heart, and that she is being tempted. I believe that He has always been working on my girl, and He will continue to work in her until the day of Christ Jesus. Just as He is working on me.
He answers prayers in His time.
To Him be all the glory.