How appropriate that our final look at fulness in 2022 is Prayer-FULL. I have been blessed, protected, and covered by an uncounted cadre of prayer warriors this last week. Only hours before I planned to write my post for Thursday, I had a small stroke. I am well and almost completely recovered but, oh, how precious was the knowledge that friends, known and unknown, were pleading with God on my behalf.
My best prayer teacher has been our son David. He is basically nonverbal and functions at, maybe, the level of a 6-year old, but his 42-year old heart is attuned to the Lord and he knows from where his help comes.
We have never passed a siren without praying for the stranger in the ambulance, the destination of a fire truck, or those in a roadside accident—every siren is a call to prayer. We pray for the salvation of every waitress who takes our order and for every nurse or caregiver who touches David. Every upsetting situation is covered with prayer—the Ukraine? Covered. Police movies? Covered, it matters not that they’re fictional, they’re people who need prayer. I can’t tell you how many times we prayed about the Super Bowl halftime.
There are no needs too small or too large for David’s God. There is no limit to the mercy David expects from Him. There is no trial or challenge he doesn’t carry to God. And David is no respecter of persons—he prays for the stranger as fervently as for his loved ones. We can’t cut his prayers short, David prays until he’s emptied his heart. And then… he walks away! Heartfelt burdens are brought with tears and then left at Jesus’ feet. David knows God’s got it covered.
Over the years, David’s limitations have been marked by inabilities. But his faith doesn’t know limitations, he is trusting and confident of God’s listening ear.
This just may be the most beautiful asset we can add to our lives in 2022. It is not to be mistaken with graceful—which is lovely, but I gave up on that a long time ago! Grace-FULL, being full of grace, looks something like this:
Giving the benefit of the doubt
Forgiving when it’s n
Accepting uncomfortable quirks
Offering your time
Speaking to a stranger
Extending a hand though tired
Refusing to take offense
I’ve adopted a perspective that helps me be grace-filled—everyone is a package, filled with experiences, hurts, and fears we know nothing about. The package they walk, talk, and live in is a reflection of experiences accumulated over years. Maybe they can do better, act nicer, be kinder—but so can I. I love it when someone shows me grace. I love it when God shows me grace which, actually, is all the time.
Let’s mirror His grace as we walk through 2022, leaving glimmers of God’s light along the way.
Where are you in the cup half-full/half-empty spectrum? True confession, when left to my natural bent, I revert to half-empty, so when I determine to be joy-FULL in 2022 it’s a bit of a stretch.
What’s in the cup varies but, let’s face it, it’s never 100% full—which means it comes down to choice, doesn’t it? Which portion of the cup will I focus on, and how can I pull my attention away from the empty part? The beginning of Romans 15:13 gives me a clue:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.
Joy—a half-full attitude—comes from what I believe. When I believe God is…
Has a plan for me
Only acts in love and faithfulness
Works all things out to bless me
Supplies my needs
Cares about me, my days, my losses, my half-emptiness
…I see the fulness in my glass—and the potential for a cup that runs over.
When choosing to view our life as half-empty or half-full let’s elevate our belief in God. When we esteem Him higher than our needs or disappointments, we’ll find that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives (Psalm 23:6).
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Today’s “filling” is a little harder because it’s more than an attitude—it’s an attitude with feet. When I considered my desire to grow in mercy, I sensed some tension. I realized this was more than an honorable thought, to be mercy-FULL I will need to step out and act. I will have to do something.
When I wrote about being mindful two weeks ago, I said I didn’t want to live my life on autopilot. Being mindful includes an increased awareness of the needs around me… and responding to them. I love to be busy in my head, not so much with my hands and feet.
Yes, we can pray for people with needs, but we know what James says about that,
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:15-17
Becoming mercy-FULL will stretch us. Will you join me in moving from the safety of the sofa to step out and support those who are hurting? Let’s touch, feed, give, host, listen, pray better in 2022.