I am sitting in the lobby of Heath Lodge at the beautiful and picturesque Asilomar Conference grounds in Pacific Grove, CA, reflecting on the last two years or so of my life. To say that they have been filled with change, anxiety, difficulty, amazement, life-lessons and uncertainty would be an understatement. Yet, as I reflect on those two years, I am reminded as to how many times I have come before the Lord in Prayer asking for help, crying out to God in anguish, so dependent on Him because I could literally do nothing in my own strength. Here is a sampling of life and the kind of prayers I offered to God during those times:
- Resignation – It was during that time that I stepped away from ministry in a church that I loved. That was an extremely painful and confusing experience that was bathed in prayer, long discussions with God, wrestling with my flesh and fighting a fight against unbelief that was affirming my conviction about who God is and what He was doing in my life.
- Vocation – Then there was the season of life where I had no job, or that the job I had was so physically overwhelming for me that I would go to work praying for strength to just make it through that day and then to have strength to be available for my family.
- Parents – All during that first year I and my family grieved as my parents both struggled with disease and ultimately were called home to glory. Those are the times when prayer is often silent or sobbing, trusting and pleading, hopeful and hurting, saddened and resigned.
- Fellowship – God’s goodness came in the form of His people surrounding us with words of comfort, checks in our mailbox, opportunities to fellowship with different churches and a Bible Study that became a community of hope for us. There were prayers for tough times, God’s wisdom and direction in our lives, for spiritual growth and for trusting in God.
- Family – Prayer for children to make decisions that would glorify God, for growth in Christ, for baptisms and where they should attend college as well as for growth in my marriage to the woman I love.
- Church Plant – This was a season of settling on God’s direction and much prayer that went something like this: “God, you want me to do what? You want me to do it where? How is that possible? I’ve never done that before! Oh, Lord, give me help!”
These are just snippets of the kinds of things God has taken me through over the past two years, and what I want you to see and embrace for yourself, is that these have been two years of much prayer before God.
Some of those prayers have been passionate pleas for understanding or God’s intervention. Others have been quiet prayers for God’s strength and wisdom as I meet someone for coffee or counsel someone who may be going through crisis or simply wants advice. Many have been prayers of dependency, pleading with God for a change, a job, finances or an answer. In all these prayers I ended with one word, “Amen“.
The word “Amen” is not a word to be thrown out lightly at the end of our prayers. In fact, it is a very important word that we should take some time to understand and then use purposefully to affirm our dependency on Christ. The word “Amen” means, “so be it.” You see, when you pray a prayer that is crying out for deliverance, for God’s intervention during a crisis, for understanding during the grief of loss, or a prayer that is full of thanksgiving for His goodness, provision and mercy, no matter what that prayer it usually and mostly ends with “Amen” – or “so be it.”
As I see it, that word (or those words) are a statement of resignation that are rooted in an understanding of God’s Sovereignty. In other words,
“God, here is my prayer, now I hand it over to you to do with as you see fit for you are holy, sovereign, compassionate and at work in my life and in accomplishing your purposes on this earth for Your glory. Do as you will with my requests, I trust you and want only your will to be done!”
Friends, to be able to say “Amen” is a wonderful and beautiful thing. Don’t ever forget it. No matter what you are going through the confidence that we have knowing and resting on His Sovereignty is a rock that gives us firm footing through all the mess He purposefully allows us to go through in our lives to ultimately bring Him glory.
God… “so be it”!