Seasons of Prayer

Seasons of Prayer

Matt and I moved to Santa Margarita in December of 1986 from San Luis Obispo. At that time we had two children, Ben and Michelle. We were attending Grace church in SLO. We felt well connected there and the children were comfortable in their Sunday school nursery.

In the spring of 1990, we welcomed Sophia into our family and it became very clear, very quickly, that getting three little ones up on Sunday morning and over the grade to church was going to be quite the challenge. I can’t remember how many times we attempted to get to church in SLO but I don’t think it was many.

We needed a church closer to home. In usual Andros fashion, we simply walked around the corner to check out “that church on “I” Street”.  We didn’t do any research, just walked around the corner. We heard a pastoral candidate, Paul Schliep, preach and enjoyed the sermon.  We were greeted and welcomed by people whom we still know and love today; Dave and Leslie Bryson, Steve and Janine Wagner, Steve and Jean Collins and Dave and Debbie Redel.  No, it was not missed on us that all the men were either Dave or Steve!

Paul was hired as preacher and we began to make SMCC our new church home. As I got to know the other ladies in the congregation, four women stood out to me.  They were older saints (actually they were my current age but seemed old at the time) and were, to me, the church matriarchs.  They were Hazel Hunter, Edie Culbreath, Katharina Bybee and Evie Brown.

These were the kind of ladies who always made a point of checking up on you.  They would ask about Matt, ask about the children, ask how I was doing. They weren’t just “church ladies”.  They were seasoned believers who each had a life of substance. Individually, they had each lived a life of faith and had met many challenges along the way.  All of them but Edie were widows. In other words, they knew what they were about.

Turns out, one of the biggest things “they were about” was praying for their church family.  I’ll never forget when the light finally clicked on in my brain. These women weren’t just making small talk when they asked how our family was, they were learning about us and finding out what our needs were.

What really blew me away was when they’d check back in with me a few weeks later and ask very specific questions about a child who had been sick or how Matt’s job was going.  Could it be that they were ACTUALLY praying for us?  Well, turns out they were.  Shoot, Edie, and her husband Charles, were praying through our church directory!

All I remember thinking was “how in the world do they find the time to actually pray for all of us”? Through the years I watched those lovely woman pray for us and love us. They have all passed on to glory now but they left me a big gift…I wanted to be just like them when it came to prayer.  It wouldn’t happen right away.  I needed to be a bit more seasoned.

Well, now I’m one of those older saints and considerably more “seasoned”.  I now have a set time for my prayers and a list of all the people I’ve promised to pray for. It’s hard to describe but my morning prayer time is all about praying for others but I am the one who is fed. Finally reaching a time in my life when this kind of commitment to prayer is possible has grown my faith like never before.

When I look back over the years, I ask myself why I couldn’t get my act together enough to be this kind of prayer warrior years ago? Why did this kind of mature prayer life just now become a part of my life? I wish I could say I don’t know why, but I do. My life has had “seasons” and most of those “seasons” did not lend themselves to quiet mornings with my bible and prayer journal by a sunny window.

When we gather together at our women’s conference, we are going to be talking about prayer.  We are going to explore the idea that there are “seasons” in life and our prayer life might reflect that. I do know some friends who have been champion prayer partners, no matter what was going on in their lives, and they have always inspired me.

I hope, as we talk and share, that we can encourage each other to a fuller and more meaningful life of prayer. I also hope we can give ourselves some grace as we learn that there might be times when prayers are said on the go and squeezed in just before falling exhausted into bed. There are even times when we are so sad or discouraged that our dear faithful friends say our prayers for us.

I’m looking forward to our time together. My sincere desire is that what we learn together will inspire and not overwhelm. I hope we will be encouraged but not overcome with guilt. We want to lead each other to a closer walk with Jesus no matter what season we find ourselves in.