For The Woman Who Prays Alone

May 26, 2010 | 20 comments

Supper steams in tendrils on these heaping plates. And four Lee hearts — heaped with Jesus — gather ’round the table.

Nightly, we link hands and souls and voices in a chain that stretches to join the chorus in the Heavenlies. And it feels warm here. Yes, “This House Believes.”

But on this night, my heart hurts. And if it were my turn to be the prayer leader, I’d pray out loud for the source of the ache. I’d pray for God to fix it.

But it’s Monday night, and it’s Anna’s turn to lead. She’s only five. How would she really know the depth of this pain? How would she know enough to pray for this?

But she gets it. She really gets it. She squeezes my hand and puts voice to the real hunger that needs to be fed.

“Dear God,” she begins, “please help that man and those kids so they will love Jesus someday, just like their Mommy does.”

Earlier in the day, Anna saw the hurt in my eyes, that pain threatening to spill over the rims. She asked, “What’s wrong?” And I told her about Shirley, the woman who was comment number 15 over at Internet Cafe Devotions.

I had written a post for the Internet Cafe about how our family prays together. And Shirley stopped by, with her aching heart spilling over into the comment box:

“I have longed for a house or home of prayer,” she wrote. “The only prayers in my home are my silent prayers and meditations….you see, my husband is not a Christian. He is an alcoholic.”

Shirley prays in the silence. No linked hands, no chorus of voices in her home. She’s a one-woman warrior, a solo-act who intercedes in the quiet corners.

She asked, could we pray for them? For her husband, yes, but her grown children, too?

She wrote: “My heart hurts as I hope for a miracle in their lives. I ask that you and all Christian followers of your blog to please remember my family in your prayers. God bless you.”

Yes, Shirley, we can. My heart aches for you, Shirley. And it stings, too, when I think of all those times we’ve been so dismissive of prayer, offering short, clipped thanks and hurried praise.

Dear friends, our family invites you to pull up a chair at the Lee table. Will you join us in a chorus of prayer? This is the body of Christ: One + one + one, linking hands and souls and voices. We have full plates and hearts, heaping with Jesus, and — like Shirley — we know Who satisfies every hunger.

Shirley, we pray with you … You are not alone.

holy experience

Each Wednesday, I join Ann Voskamp as we Walk With Him. We explore spiritual practices that draw us nearer to the heart of God. This week, Ann asked us to consider “The Spiritual Practice of Holy Matrimony.” The timing of Ann’s topic struck me as more than coincidental. How often have I taken for granted the beauty of prayer in my home, the beauty of a shared faith with my husband? In those holy moments of drawing nearer to my husband, I draw nearer to the heart of God.

May I never take family prayer for granted again …

PHOTO: Wooden plaque above the window in my laundry room.

by | May 26, 2010 | 20 comments

20 Comments

  1. Debbie

    Oh Jennifer, I too am like Shirley. I pray alone. My prayers are that one day soon that might change. I appreciate the tenderness of your daughter to other's needs and to your heart of love for others.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    Reply
  2. Amy Danielle

    Really beautiful, the common thread of unity we have in this amazing family of our God.

    Thanks for sharing sweet sister, and for opportunities to join with our faith-siblings in prayer. <><

    Reply
  3. Andrea

    "Nightly, we link hands and souls and voices in a chain that stretches to join the chorus in the Heavenlies. And it feels warm here. Yes, "This House Believes"

    I love this!!
    andrea

    Reply
  4. papa&nanaT

    I was that woman 20 some years ago. And I did pray alone. I prayed for my husband and God gave him sobriety. An answer to my prayers. Not everyone gets that blessing, but I did. However everyone will receive a blessing if we just keep on praying. It maybe just the peace that passes understanding as we wait for God to answer our prayers. Anna is so deep and so in touch with her heavanly Father. I love it!!!!

    Reply
  5. papa&nanaT

    I was that woman 20 some years ago. And I did pray alone. I prayed for my husband and God gave him sobriety. An answer to my prayers. Not everyone gets that blessing, but I did. However everyone will receive a blessing if we just keep on praying. It maybe just the peace that passes understanding as we wait for God to answer our prayers. Anna is so deep and so in touch with her heavanly Father. I love it!!!!

    Reply
  6. Chrissy

    I hope Shirley knows that we're standing in the gap for her and her family! thanks for your beautiful post, Jennifer, and for the opportunity to lift each other up in Christ!

    Reply
  7. Julie

    Jennifer
    What a beautiful post that put tears in my eyes!!

    Shirley,
    I stand with you, lifting hands in praise for what God is going to do in your life, the life of your husband and children.

    Know that you do not pray alone.

    With love,
    Julie

    Reply
  8. Billy Coffey

    Lifting prayers for Shirley and her family. What a tough and lonely place to be in. I'm hoping she'll somehow find her way over here to see all those who will stand with her.

    Reply
  9. Lisa notes...

    Thanks for the reminder that we should never taken for granted that we have believing husbands. It is an immense gift, undeserved. May I do better about praying with and for those women (and men) who pray alone…

    Reply
  10. Tabitha@ichoosebliss

    Until recently it was just my daughter and I who prayed. Today hubby has given his life to Christ.

    We stand with you in praying for Shirley and her lovely family.

    Reply
  11. Anne Lang Bundy

    Jennifer, I weep with you, and I pray with you.

    And then I weep again, because there is no end to the people like Shirley and Shirley's husband who need God and need prayers, and so few minutes in the day to lift them up.

    Reply
  12. Karen

    Your post title made my heart skip a beat…

    Like Debbie, I have a good man, but not one that leads prayer in our home…my prayers are with Shirley and her family…and all the spouses that patiently wait for their loved ones to see the Light….

    Reply
  13. Shirley

    Jennifer, you and these who have commented here, have touch my heart. I thank and praise God for showing me what a wonderful spiritual link we have here on this earth…those who share His love for one another. I have been encouraged today. May God bless everyone of you. I am so thankful that I your blog.

    Reply
  14. Red Letter Believers

    Praying with someone is the best — it's the most intimate, wonderful, heart-binding time a person can have.

    But praying alone is painful, excruciating and exhausting.

    But it is in those times alone that we are most at one with our God

    Reply
  15. RCUBEs

    That's what's eating my heart lately…"I've been saved…now what?" That led me to my post this morning. There are so many who are still wandering lost in this life's journey. And time is short. As God's hands, feet, eyes, ears and touch, how can we reach those who don't know Jesus? Because it doesn't stop with us being saved. We are commanded by the Lord to go out and share His gift of salvation. Praying for sister Shirley's family. God bless.

    Reply
  16. A Simple Country Girl

    Yes, let us link hands and lift voices for Shirley and Debbie and my personal friend, Leslie, and all the others. Adding names to my fridge list right now.

    Blessings.

    Reply
  17. Lyla Lindquist

    Debbie, Shirley, and I add to that list Julio, my "man who prays alone."

    That swelling ache, it doesn't even draw drips off the tip of that iceberg they must climb every day. But it puts us to prayer. And for that, I'll keep the ache. It brings the groaning.

    Thank you for this. Really.

    Reply
  18. Heather of Swallowing A Moose

    Precious Shirley and all the other women who pray alone wishing for more and eagerly awaiting the fruit of hearts changed. This just breaks my heart.

    But I know as a grace believing wife that just like Rahab was promised salvation for her family I can rest assured the Lord is interested in the salvation of mine and Shirley's. Praise be to God! He is in pursuit of them!

    Your post today is precious and I am thrilled to have been by and got to be a part of this.

    Praying for women who believe to see and know how much they are loved by the Lord. Even to the point He is in hot pursuit of those of our families who are not believing and recieving of Him.

    Reply
  19. Jennifer

    I know too many women who are just like Shirley. I know women who have prayed for years for their husbands to come to know Jesus. That is an unimaginably hard path to walk. Makes me just that much more thankful for my husband, my linked hands around the table.

    Reply
  20. Rosario

    Praying for Shirley, may the Lord touch her husband and may he one day join her in prayer. I am a woman that prays alone too. Often in secret, while everyone else is asleep. Sometimes I am joined by son and daughter. I know my husband prays too, in his own way. But I hope that one day we will all hold hands in prayer.

    Reply

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