Monday, August 22, 2011

A lesson on prayer from an old friend...

There was a lady at my church in Tyler named Nancy Terry. Nancy was such a sweet old lady, very talented, and one of the funniest people ever. She could come back with a witty remark quicker than anyone I know! I had the privilege of working for her the summer after my senior year in high school. She was a real estate agent and was having trouble seeing so I became her personal assistant to help her out! It was a really neat experience for me. I learned a lot and loved working closely with Nancy. Unfortunately, not long after I began working for her, it was discovered that the reason she was having trouble seeing was because she had brain cancer. She began her second battle with cancer and didn't win this time, but her sweet legacy is one that will live on in the hearts of everyone she came in contact with.

There is one particular story I remember about Nancy Terry. Most of the other people there probably don't remember this at all but it has always stuck with me...

It was the morning of the Whitehouse YesterYear Parade. Those not from Whitehouse might not understand, but the parade is a pretty big deal in Whitehouse. The whole city comes out to see the clowns, the princess and the ladies in waiting, the dance teams, the fire trucks, and everything else that comes along with a parade. Here are a few pictures from the year I had the privilege of being a lady in waiting. These pictures aren't from the year this story takes place in but hopefully they'll give you a bit of an idea of the extravagance of the YesterYear Parade.

Now, back to the story. On this particular day, the fate of the parade was questionable. As all of the floats lined up in the high school parking lot, dark clouds gathered overhead and dropped a few threatening rain drops.

My church always provided a water wagon for the parade. We were positioned in the middle of the parade with trailers and wagons carrying ice chests filled with ice cold bottles of water. We passed them out to every single onlooker along the parade route and it was always fun to see the joy that a cold bottle of water could bring to a person sitting and baking in the hot Texas sun. It was a neat outreach to the community that my church loved doing and we did not want to miss out on this opportunity.

So, we all huddle under umbrellas and prayed for the rain to stop, just long enough for the parade to go on. And this is where Nancy Terry comes in. Nancy had some important role in YesterYear and was riding around in a golf cart, making sure everything was going smoothly. As she approached us, she said, "I've never seen so many Baptists huddled under umbrellas! Put down those umbrellas and pray like you mean it!" I'm pretty sure we all just laughed, and stayed huddled under our umbrellas but her words really struck a chord with me.

When I pray, do I really pray believing God will provide? Or do I pray, but remain clinging to my worldly safety net? Maybe God is just waiting for us to take that leap of faith. [There's that faith again. Seems to be a trend in my blogs. God must be trying to teach me something...]

We pray for God to take care of our finances. We say we are trusting Him. So, why do we still worry about money?

We pray for God to mend a broken relationship. So, why are we still trying to fix that relationship on our own? (Which, by the way, I have discovered it always seems to make things worse when I try to fix them on my own.)

We pray for God to bring rain to our dry land. So, why aren't we leaving the house carrying our umbrellas and wearing our leopard print rain boots? [Oh... You don't have leopard print rain boots?? Sorry, that's just me.]

I think my prayer life needs a makeover. So many times, I'll utter a prayer, just to say I did. Then I just hope that MAYBE something will happen. I think instead I need to pray a little more boldly, believing, and KNOWING that God is gonna answer my prayer. It may not be the answer I want and it may not arrive when I want, but He will provide. And I must trust in that.

And in case you are wondering, the rain held off and the YesterYear Parade went on as planned. Probably because Nancy Terry prayed.

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