The year 2017 is only a few days old and already several things have made me realize how important it is to pray our way through the year. We have no idea what will happen in the days or weeks ahead, how our lives may change or what challenges or blessings we will face. Only God knows the plan for our lives and only we will choose how to live them.
I started praying for my husband's safety 33 years ago when he took a job that required lots of driving. I was overwhelmed by fear of losing him. I prayed because I didn't know what else to do. I'm not sure how long it took, probably several years at least, but eventually I began to feel confidence in God to protect John and the fear went away. The other day John was telling me how many miles he estimated he has driven on his job. He has driven enough miles to go around the world several times - most of them between Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids on Hwy 30. You can blame him for any worn out areas on that road.
When he came home on Tuesday I asked how his day went. He said terrible and began to explain. He was driving on Hwy 20 following an SUV with other traffic around him. He had just passed a highway patrol car and checked his speed (62 mph) when the SUV suddenly swerved to the left lane revealing a slow-moving van in front of John. In a matter of seconds John hit his brakes, realized he wasn't able to get stopped and was going to rear-end the van, traffic was on his left, so he decided he would swerve onto the right shoulder to avoid the van. The shoulder was ice-covered and he began to slide into the ditch. To avoid a roll-over he steered into the ditch, found himself driving through the ditch then steered the car back up to the road.
I can't tell you how many times he has come home with a story of a near-accident that was avoided. He would like me to think it was because of his expert driving skills - and that may be part of it, but I know God was with him each and every time. And I thank God for His mercies each and every time.
"We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:9-13 NIV).
I can't imagine handling life without prayer. I'm so thankful we have a God who listens to our cries and answers us. So whatever you're facing in 2017, handling it with prayer will make it so much better.