Saturday, November 10, 2007

In the Bible Jesus Prayed for ME

I continue my quest this month to find how God loves me and that I am His favorite one as per Rachel Hauck's favorite one challenge. I admit to you that this makes me laugh some days, like Sarah in Genesis laughed incredulously when she found she'd have a baby of promise (Isaac which means laughter!) at age 90. I will be 50 years old and let me say right up front--this having a baby at 90 is one I would laugh (that would be hysterically) at 50, much less 90. Sheesh. But I've had four boys, so unlike Sarah, I'm not longing for my own child like she was, ok? I am sure she prayed for a child for years, before she finally gave up. I have prayed for things and people, and I have to admit that I sometimes give up. But maybe I'm laughing like Sarah did over some promise that God gave to me as a kid? What if? It does have me thinking.

Who prays for you? I don't know of anyone who regularly, consistently prays for me, but I do have a core of friends who pray on a regular basis, especially if I ask them to. I pray for you, if you are reading this blog, or if you have consented to an interview with me on this blog or my When I Was Just a Kid blog. When my mother was alive, she prayed for me. When she died, I felt a severe loss--who would pray for me now? Can those who have died continue to pray for us? I don't know. This is a mystery.

But Jesus who died and then was raised from the dead and lives on today, prayed for me way back centuries ago and it is recorded in the Bible.
John 17:20-21 tells me this after the beginning of the chapter talks about Jesus praying for his disciples. It says:
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

It goes on to talk about how Jesus wants me to be with him in glory and how he asks God to make him known to the world through me (and all you guys who are one with me in believing in Jesus as the savior of the world. Maybe not all of you believe in Jesus. That's ok, keep reading, anyway, ok? It's part of my story.)

Right after this intense praying, Jesus was arrested. He knew he was going to be arrested. He knew he was going to die a horrific death--but he knew he would be raised from the dead, get to talk to his people again before he went to stay in heaven with God--like he is today.

It was a great day to me to know that Jesus was thinking of me even back then.

I pray for several people, personally and by name, each day. Sometimes I don't even know why I am praying for them. When I was a just a kid, I used to pray for my dad, mom, brother and all my relatives in Tennessee. I'd pray for my aunt, uncle and cousins in the mission field in Africa (at that time they were in Nigeria during the war.) I didn't even know what to pray about--I just put them in front of God by name and asked to keep them in Him. Mostly I worried about dying and safety. I worry less about dying, but I still worry about living. But except for my mother, I wasn't aware of anyone who prayed for me and what I was doing. Maybe my teachers did in grades 1-5. After I left that school, I went to a public school and my teacher was a Jewish man. I don't think he prayed for me, but who knows? I figure my mother prayed for him because she was wise about these sorts of things. She cared deeply about people.

One of my favorite places in the Bible (well, ok, I always say this every time I bring up a story...ha) is in Nehemiah. He got this idea (after praying a bunch) to build up the wall again in Jerusalem. He was in the citadel at Susa and he was visited by his brothers from Judah. They talked about what a disgrace it was that back in Jerusalem everything was in shambles. Nehemiah was so upset, he sat down and wept for days, not eating and just praying to God. Now, I don't know about you, but yes, I get upset when things in Christiandom/my world get all messed up and people aren't taking care of themselves or watching things closely enough in their lives. But sit down and cry and fast and pray solidly? It isn't usually my practice. It is something to think about and maybe act upon.

Lately I have been struggling over stories I've written in the past, ones I wish to write in the future, and want to submit to publishers. It has come across my mind that I haven't been writing about the things that break my heart any more--like Nehemiah got all passionate and built his wall. It was obviously a passion for him. Do my passions show? Michelle left a message--just one person, but I do listen to such comments, especially encouraging ones--and said she liked it when I wrote about my own memories. My boys have said this to me, as well. I took that seriously, Michelle.

Maybe God gives us certain things in our lives and we're supposed to do something about them somehow? The stories that I still think about that I've written are these stories about these kids (which were mostly my own memories and stories.) Well, I put those in a drawer and didn't know what to do with them because no one wants children's stories. But maybe I'm supposed to put them into another form? I'm a book doctor and have fixed all kinds of manuscripts(sci fi, fantasy, romance, suspense, women's fiction, kids' stories...) I read manuscripts (and have one on my desk today--romantic suspense--got to get it read and back in the mail...)so why can't I fix myself? I guess God is still working on that part.

Maybe prayers for me a long time ago are being answered now. I wouldn't have thought of any of this, if I hadn't been made aware of some things in the last month, one being Rachel Hauck's challenge for me to personally explore how God thinks about me all the time. And just like Nehemiah's brothers coming to him to tell him about the shambles back home, awakening his desires to work on those things, maybe I am being awakened now. It's a thought and I try to hang on to those serious thoughts, since most of the time I'm cynical and laugh my head off like Sarah.

So, what is God laying on you today that you feel you need to do something about? Is it a story or something else that makes you worry, pray and weep? (I just heard that "weep" word in the news lately. Still relevant today.)


Christina Tarabochia said...

I, too, keep coming back to the roomful singing of being His favorite one's and each of us telling the truth!

Sorry it's taken so long for me to respond to your blog comment. I was swamped and then injured. (Gory details on my blog). I'd lve to hear mroe about your family who lived in Nigeria.

Even though I'm whiter than bleached flour, I sometimes say I'm "African-American" as my formative years were spent in Nigeria.

If you're ever bored, come by and subcribe to our infrequent, humorous newsletter!

Georgiana Daniels said...

I know what you mean about consistant prayer partners, Crystal! Praying friends/family are so important.

I loved singing The Favorite One song--it was awesome sung as a group at the conference. I'm trying to remember each day to make the declaration, but I confess to sometimes forgetting.

Rachelle said...

That part of John 17 has always been one of my favorite parts of the Bible! In fact, sometimes I read it, putting MY name in all the appropriate places, and it really makes me feel how Jesus loved me and he prayed for me. Great stuff!

First time visiting your blog, I'll be back!

Crystal Laine said...

Christina and Georgiana--I missed this year's conference, but Rachel is awesome in leading worship. I missed out on that! But I did pick this up on her blog.

Rachelle--I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm like you with that passage--and I'm always putting my name in my Bible. Certainly makes it more personal to me.

~michelle pendergrass said...


I've spent many-a-day wondering what God meant by most of my past. Sometimes we don't know--but I know that when I go to Him and ask for wisdom expecting to receive that from Him, I find out all kinds of stuff.

On my heart? Today in church I thought, "What would Pastor Doug think if he read my manuscript?" Because there are some scenes that people in the Christian community will question me about. I felt like I should go to the alter to pray and a lady knelt down and prayed over me, I listened. She did not know my heart or what I was praying about. I'm not sure I knew what I was praying about. But she said in her prayer, "There are some people only Michelle can reach, please help her accept that and act on that."

I was stunned.

We can pretend we don't know what God wants us to do because we can visualize how hard it will be, but we can't stop Him from sending the message.