My family got some great news this past week – we found a new place to live! For many who have in some way been journeying with us these past few years, this is a huge answer to our collective prayers. It’s been a long road, travelled with an increasingly large caravan of kids, searching for a new home more suitable for a family of six.
Frances and I have been patient, but that’s not to say it’s been easy – it hasn’t. But one crucial element to this local pilgrimage has been prayer. We have prayed, and we have been prayed for. Often times these prayers have been simple petition: asking God to help us find a new home. Asking God to provide us a new home. Other prayers have been prayers of relinquishment (as Richard Foster has dubbed them): prayers in which we take our struggles, hand them over to God and say, “not my will but yours be done.”
Still others have been intercessory in nature. We’ve prayed for others to find housing, and we’ve been prayed for by so many friends and family who continually intercede for us, not petitioning for themselves, but for others. One such example came at The Dale’s Breakfast & Arts time a couple of weeks ago. I was sitting down enjoying some light conversation when a teammate approached me with a message: “Pete, there are two people here who want to pray for you.” I turned to see two people well-known to The Dale, whom I have found to be a great encouragement on many occasions in my first several months at The Dale. They had me sit in between them and they proceeded to lay their hands on me and pray that God would find my family a place to live. If there’s one hesitation to sharing this incredible moment, it’s knowing that God answered this prayer just hours after. I hesitate because this is not the norm in matters of prayer. God is not a genie in a bottle that we rub in order to be granted our every wish, when and how we want it. I know of many people looking for housing for a myriad of reasons, and continue to pray for them. But beyond the affirmative answer we received after our long search for a new place to live, it was a great comfort to know that others cared so much as to pray for me and my family in this way.
I was excited to share this news with our church family the next time we would meet. I came to our Sunday time of worship ready to share the good news but before I had the opportunity, another from among us came up to our team and shared that after several months living on the street, she founds a place to live and had already moved in. This has led to many prayers of thanksgiving! We thank God not only for answering our prayers, but for being present with us through the journey, and for those who lift us up to the Lord!