As I grow older, I find there are a lot of things I can’t do anymore. I can’t run a mile under seven minutes, I can’t eat a hot dog without getting indigestion, I can’t see very well without my glasses, I can’t look in the mirror without seeing wrinkles, and I can’t beat my grandson at Speed (card game) - at least very often. And that’s just the beginning of the list. However, no matter how old you get, there is one thing you can always do - and that is learn! You’re never too old to be learning, and I have found that out first hand since becoming director of Disciplers Bible Studies. I think I have learned a lot, and I have discovered that there are still many things I don’t know - things I probably should know. But I’m still learning.
I’m learning about websites, blogs, mobile banking, designer software, the time differences in various cities of the country, download managers, online print and ship, and the blessings of an iPhone (That last one really surprised me!). I’m learning about the various Disciplers classes across our great country and the amazing men and women who lead them. Of course, I’m still learning about the Bible. That is an inexhaustible subject. But most of all, I’m learning about prayer.
I am embarrassed to say that I have never been a great prayer warrior. Pearl Hamilton used to tell our Disciplers class how the Lord would wake her up at four in the morning to pray for someone in need. I would slink down in my seat, ashamed that even when I set my alarm to get up to pray at six o’clock, I would often turn over, pull the covers over my head, and go back to sleep.
However, when I took the reins of Disciplers, God began to impress upon me the importance of prayer. A ministry that is centered on the Word of God must be a praying ministry. And the prayer must begin with me. So I decided that I would begin praying for every class that ordered lessons, and I would pray faithfully! I have not been perfect, but God has encouraged me in being persistent in my prayers as He has consistently answered specific requests for Disciplers classes and individuals - people I have never met, some of whom live almost ten thousand miles away from me, people who are very different from me in age and ethnic, social, economic, and family background. But as I have been praying for our "Disciplers family", I have begun to know them better and feel a commitment to them through our common love of the Lord and His Word. I have begun to feel an attachment, which is that scarlet thread, the blood of Christ, that binds us together.
I love praying for two young moms: one is in Alabama and a homeschooling mom of seven, the other a Disciplers class leader and mother of three in Montana. Then there is another young mom in North Carolina who began doing Disciplers studies on her own - hard to get out to a study with small children at home. Now she leads a Disciplers group of young single women. I love praying for several groups of older women - in California, Michigan, Ohio, and two in North Carolina who have been doing Disciplers lessons for many years. Sometimes they talk about “retiring” but then the Holy Spirit urges them on by showing them in very specific ways that He is not finished with them yet! I love praying for several men's groups. There are two in North Carolina particularly. One is a group of bankers who meet early in the morning before work. The other meets early on Sunday morning before church and Sunday school. Their pastor meets with them also and they pray for him before he preaches. I love praying for the ladies’ group in Michigan whose pastor meets with them each week. Wouldn’t it be great if more pastors would be involved in Bible studies? Then there is the group of Air Force wives in Northern California whose husbands are deployed or work long hours and they meet to encourage one another in the Word. There is a group in Ohio with members from nine different denominations. A long time Disciplers leader in North Carolina teaches two classes with a total of five hundred women. There are leaders who fight depression but persist in ministry to their Disciplers groups. How can you not help interceding for them and feeling blessed to do so? I also love praying for all those using the new Disciplers youth lessons.
And then there are the prison classes - four of them in North Carolina. They are God’s Beloveds behind high fences with barbed wire. Some of these women spend hours doing their lessons and wrestling with their answers. Some have children at home who do not know the Lord. Some are persecuted for their faith in Christ. Most spend holidays alone and lonely. I want to pray for them always! And I want to pray for those women who go into the prisons armed with their Bibles, Disciplers lessons, and hearts spilling over with courage, determination, love, and compassion for needy women. Sometimes praying for Shepherd’s Heart and Changed Hearts prison ministries leaders just leaves me with a heart overflowing with joy and thankfulness for what they do and what God does through them.
Actually, it is my honor and privilege to pray for all of you who are committed to studying God's Word. I wish I had space to mention you all! God has used all of you to encourage me to pray. I have learned what it means to “pray without ceasing,” to always have that humble spirit and mind that is open to whatever or whoever the Lord pops into my head and heart - to be receptive to the nudging from the Spirit to pray for people and their needs, their hurts, and their aspirations, anytime and anywhere and all the time and everywhere.
But the biggest lesson I have learned since beginning to serve in this capacity in Disciplers and beginning to learn to be a prayer warrior is that the more you pray for someone, the more you come to love them. Its true! Stop and think about that for a moment. I think there is a lesson in that. Don’t you need to take up the privilege of prayer more often? It will encourage and bless your soul. I promise! Plus, it will encourage love to grow in this fallen world of ours.
If you have a prayer need, you are welcome to share it through the Contact Us page on our website. We have a whole team of loving, caring prayer warriors who will hold you up to the throne of grace.
Loving you in prayer ~
I want to share with you a very special story I found on the blog of a dear friend's daughter. It is a true story about cathedral builders and a mom. So if you are a cathedral builder or a mom, the story will be especially meaningful for you! I hope you will all read this story, take it to heart, and be inspired to be a great invisible builder for the Lord.
"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.
I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become, for me, life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work. No one can say who built the great cathedrals. We have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit a cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make everyday, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree."
I hope you liked the story. Has it made you stop and think? So, what are you building in your life? Whatever it is, people around you may not notice, but as a Christian, you are building for the glory of God and for eternity. And the important thing today is that God sees!
May God richly bless you as you build........
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.