in these last few days before we leave for poland, it is easy to get caught up in the flurry of activity and all the things that never seem to get done. i am sure anyone who has ever been three days away from a missions trip has ever laid down at night trying to conjure up things to do the next day. if such a person exists, i would love to be mentored by them!

unfortunately, it is way too easy to neglect the truly important things during this time. things like time with God. a friend once said at the end of a mission that he realized that the prayer and spiritual preparation he did before a trip was more key to his 'success' in the mission than anything he did during the mission, and i am inclined to agree with him... which makes the propensity to skip these times for the more pressing things so much worse.

so, with prayer on my mind, i was reminded of a quote by e.m. bounds on prayer that i came across years ago that transformed the way i look at prayer. it was shortly after my grandmother's death, and i keenly missed hearing her say that she was praying for me. i missed her prayers, even though i seldom heard them for myself. then, i came across this...
prayer is no fitful, short lived thing. it is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence. it is a voice which goes into God's ear, and it lives as long as God's ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God's heart is alive to holy things. God shapes the world by prayer. prayers are deathless. the lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God's heart is set on them. prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.
even now, a decade after i first memorized this, these words still bring tears to my eyes. and of all the incredible people in my life who have volunteered to pray for me while i am away, there is a special thread of joy that the prayers of my grandmother, uttered so long ago for her materialistic, hair-obsessed, self-centered granddaughter, will join in with the others before God.


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