This happens when you pray for better tomorrows

manna-house-christmas

“Better tomorrows.”

That’s what she wanted me to pray for. In her finances. In relationships. In her health and her kids’ health.

Better tomorrows.

It’s a myth that everyone here at Manna House was only looking for a handout. They’d already paid a price that I wouldn’t have. They’d stood outside in the cold for at least 3 hours to make it in. Some with arthritis. Several that were heavy with babies due before the month was over. Those who’d already worked shifts at Burger King before coming here to stand in line.

Looking from the outside, you might have seen two lines of people: one, those preparing to receive gifts; the other, those preparing to give gifts.

But on the inside, the lines were blurred.

From an outward view, I was on the giving side.

I took the next person in line (unless they only spoke Spanish), and would guide them through three steps before they entered the next room to “shop” for free gifts to give their kids on Christmas morning.

  1. I got to give them a “Mama bag,” something just for them, a gift they didn’t have to share with the kids but something to bless them for their work in being a parent.
  2. Then I gave them a bag of candy for each child—we knew how many because their name tags told us—to use as stocking stuffers on Christmas morning.
  3. Then I showed them a cart full of books. They could choose one book for each child.

But there was one more thing.
I offered to give them a prayer of blessing, if they wanted it.

No one said no.

Sometimes their requests were specific:

  • my 5-year-old daughter has a brain tumor
  • I have neuropathy in my feet
  • I need a job soon so I can pay my rent
  • we need peace among the kids in my house

But some—all?—were also universal: for better tomorrows, even if those exact words never left their lips.

That blurred the line the most between givers and receivers . . . in praying a blessing for their better tomorrows, I received the immediate blessing of a better today.

Who was giving now and who was receiving?

Because here’s the thing about our prayers: they aren’t simply words to encourage (although we hope they do).

Prayers are verbal declarations that God’s power still becomes incarnate, his Word continues to be made flesh.

His power is real. It’s active. It’s now.

“Invoking the powers of the universe or bestowing our blessing on the Earth or other beings is neither a simple benevolent wish nor an act of hubris. Rather it is an act of creative confidence.”
– Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon

When we pray with another, for another, we are joining forces with the God of the universe who has the power to change circumstances, to transform hearts, to heal our world.

In the blessing, we are confidently declaring THERE IS HOPE HERE . . . because there is God here.

Not only in tomorrow, but also in today.

In doses, it can be packed in a Mama bag and stuffed in a stocking and shared in a children’s book. But it is unleashed in fullness when we join hands to boldly claim the grace that Jesus offers us.

Even if the job doesn’t come, the pain doesn’t diminish, or the kids still argue, the hope still blesses us. Better tomorrows begin with hopeful todays.

Hope is a blessing best received when it is given.

* * *

I’m working out what it means to live more in the “now,” my OneWord365.

What are you hoping now for a better tomorrow? Please share in the comments.

One-Word-2015-now-Lisanotes

38 thoughts on “This happens when you pray for better tomorrows

  1. Mary

    I wonder if we don’t all wish for a better tomorrow…no matter our circumstance in life. You always make me think, my friend…always. And I am grateful for that!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes–I’m with you Mary. I believe we do all wish for better tomorrows. Thankfully we know that will come true for us in Christ. I pray you’re having a good today. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, this image is so real, so poignant. Those eyes are definitely longing for something better than whatever the moment is providing. I hope he got his tomorrow…. Thanks for sharing this, Andrew.

  2. Sharon

    Oh yes, amen yes, Lisa! It is so true, isn’t it, that we are so blessed in the giving? For me, I think it’s when I feel like I’m following in Jesus’ footsteps most closely. I have pondered the thought that giving is going to be an integral part of my journey of healing this year. For our hearts are truly made full when we empty them out for someone else.

    Loved your thoughts on prayer, too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good insight, Sharon, to connect your year of healing with giving. Hmm…it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. I’ve thought so often about how the Lord has given me such healing these past two years from previous church situations through new opportunities to give back to my community. It’s absolutely been the best thing for me. Blessings to you this week as you remember your dad.

  3. TC Avey

    I think many people discount the importance and power in prayer. Prayer is powerful and life changing…for all involved. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to pray for others. I think satan knows there is power in prayer and that’s why he has so many Christians weak in their prayer lives.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of God hearing those prayers and reaching out to all involved. He may not answer us how we’d like, but we can trust that He does hear and He will answer according to His gracious and loving will.
    Isaiah 41:13

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for your words of affirmation about prayer, TC. I’ve been praying especially frequently the past couple of weeks for a young family, but I don’t always see the answers I’d like. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean God isn’t hearing or answering. He’s doing both. Your words came at just the right time for me.

  4. Donna

    There is power in our prayers and hope abides in us when we bring our petitions to lay at His feet. Hope for today and tomorrow! Thanks for sharing.

    Donna
    visiting you from #SDGGatherings link up

  5. melody

    I love that nobody said “No” – sometimes I think fear keeps us from offering to pray with someone because they would say No. And then how awkward. But here’s what I’m learning in the few cases they do say No – it’s worth the awkward moment in order to get to the Yes’s.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, Melody. I fear those “no’s” too and the awkwardness that comes along with it. I have had people decline prayer–and that’s fine–but yes, it’s worth a few rejections to get to a lot of yes’s.

  6. Loren Pinilis

    “Prayers are verbal declarations that God’s power still becomes incarnate, his Word continues to be made flesh.” That’s pretty heavy stuff right there. I’m amazed at how often we may outwardly profess our faith in God’s power, but yet our prayer lives don’t reflect it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yep, I think it’s a common problem to many (most?) of us. If we really, really believed more in prayer, wouldn’t we be praying more? I’m preaching it to myself. 🙁 Thanks, Loren.

  7. Sheila Kimball

    When we pray with another, for another, we are joining forces with the God of the universe who has the power to change circumstances, to transform hearts, to heal our world. In the blessing, we are confidently declaring THERE IS HOPE HERE . . . because there is God here.

    LOVE this, Lisa! thanks…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wonder why we forget so often how powerful a force our prayer can be when we team up with God…. Thanks for stopping by, Sheila. I know you are a prayer warrior yourself.

  8. Joe Pote

    “Prayers are verbal declarations that God’s power still becomes incarnate, his Word continues to be made flesh.”

    Yes!

    God still works through the prayers of His people. It is an encouraging well-wish, but it is SO, SO MUCH more! It is an invitation to our Creator God to release His power into specific situatiosn in our lives.

    Thank you, Lisa, for such a beautiful thought-provoking post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “but it is SO, SO MUCH more!”

      You’ve said it well, Joe! I’m in total agreement with you. I’m praying this morning for his power to be released into specific situations and lives today.

  9. June

    Powerful truths, Lisa, about hurting people and the power of prayer. I love coming here, you always inspire me to live out my faith in tangible ways. Thank you, friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate you stopping by, June. I love our interchanging of ideas and encouragements and prayers through our blogs. So thankful God has opened this medium for us!

  10. Kortney

    You are so right. We are truly blessed when we pray. And when we give to those that are in need, who can give nothing to us in return. Thank you for the reminder to always be hopeful, because God is the one who we can hope in! Your neighbor over at #tellhisstory.

  11. David Rupert

    Pretty powerful stuff. I think people die along with their dreams. If there is no hope for tomorrow, they just quit. the ministry you are doing gives them hope.

    And then..the prayer. I do that alot. I offer to pray with people who are hurting, who are stuck, who don’t know what do. And every single time…they say yes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’ve hit on an important point, David: when people lose hope, they’re done. Hope is such an important ingredient to going forward. Thanks for making this even more clear. I may need to draw on this today with a friend….

  12. floyd

    “There is hope because there is God here…” Wonderful Truth. Bless you and your prayers, Lisa. You didn’t mention it, but thanks for reminding me of what truly matters in this life. So easy to get sidetracked…

  13. Jennifer Frisbie

    These were beautiful words, Lisa. I especially loved this reminder: “Prayers are verbal declarations that God’s power still becomes incarnate, his Word continues to be made flesh.” Sometimes I think it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in the words of the prayer. To make sure encouragement is in my voice so that the other party will feel a sense of peace. But it’s easy to forget that I’m approaching Someone so magnificent and unleashing a power so big… I, too, am praying for a better tomorrow. And not just to feel the encouragement of that prayer.

    Thank you for the reminder. This was a beautiful post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You are saying what many of us feel, Jennifer. We can get so wrapped up in how we’re sounding or if we’re getting the words right, etc, when instead we should revel in the freedom and miracle that God takes the best of our intention and works his power through it. We all can pray for better tomorrows!

  14. Jen Ferguson

    I love this because it’s such a great reminder that God’s power has power in the moment…it’s not stored for later use. It brings light and sustenance in the now AND it covers the future. What a great connection, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love that too, Jen–God’s power is always in the NOW moment, this very one that we’re sitting in. He’ll give us tomorrow’s supply when tomorrow gets here, but for today, he wants us to stay right here with him.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re welcome, Laura. Deep down, we all basically want the same things yes? Joy, peace, love–better tomorrows. Thankfully with Jesus we can have better tomorrows AND better todays because of his presence.

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