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.
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.