"A house needs a grandma in it."
Louisa May Alcott
A southern summer's day was a sweet dream when I was ten years old and in my favorite place. My grandma was blessed to live in an antique-filled Victorian home in a quaint old town, just a short hour's drive from Atlanta, where I lived. What a perfect place her home seemed! An oval beveled glass door led from an old-fashioned, roomy front porch to a living room filled with a glorious staircase, an old coal fireplace with a mahogany mantle, and stained-glass windows that reached so high, almost, it seemed to the soaring ceiling.
I wanted to call it mine, but was so happy to be there in brief. Just blessed to be with my Grandma and spend days with her. Those humid days passed so quickly, yet while there I clung to Grandma like honey on a buttermilk biscuit.
I was her shadow. And she never seemed to mind. She seemed happy to have a frolicking granddaughter beside her night and day for a "spell."
She taught me much. Quality and quantity. Partly because I fiercely questioned her about anything and everything that visited my ten year old brain. But mostly, Grandma taught me because of love. Her love was unique. It went beyond instruction and gravitated to discipleship.
I specifically remember one quiet day when, as customary, I followed her from room to room. She told me she had some "sprayin'" to do and she had to be alone. Most naturally, I assumed inquisition.
"What's sprayin', Grandma?" My ten year old mind just couldn't wrap around the idea of spraying being so important. And what in the world was she talking about anyway?
I watched the back of my little gray-haired Mom's Mom walk away from me, but she quickly turned, and with her eyes, cauterized a hole through my skinny, dangly figure, adding distress to my confusion. "Andrea, don't you know what sprayin' is?"
"No, mam." I started to feel defensive. I didn't understand the big deal. But I knew my simple curiosity had led me to trouble. I sort of felt I had come in from a sandbox and needed a bath.
Grandma turned again and walked. I followed. We stopped in her makeshift closet, which was really a large hallway in the back of her aged home. Surrounded by clothes and shoes and scarfs and coats and whatever else fancied her, we stood and stared at each other, and though she was under five feet tall, her presence seemed as mighty as a red oak.
"Grandma, what's sprayin?" My stubborn curiosity was not deterred, for I knew my grandmother's strong heart of discipline could be melted by her compelling, loving leadership. As expected, my young ignorance was too much for her to resist.
"Andrea, do you mean to tell me you don't know what sprayin' is?"
"Nooooo," I slowly answered with hope of subduing dissatisfaction.
"You've never heard of it? Don't your mama spray?"
Interest was now eating me alive. I thought I had stumbled onto a family secret. Or maybe spraying was something grown women had to do to stay clean.
"Andrea I can't believe you don't know about prayin'!"
"I thought you said sprayin', Grandma!" I was at once relieved and disappointed. Happy to be out of the woods. Sad that I was now devoid of a divulged secret.
"I know what prayin' means. And my mama does pray."
How my sweet grandma and I ever had such a misunderstanding I do not know! It looks like one of us would have sooner known the difference between a p and an s. Nonetheless, she was satisfied and relieved, and refocused, my gray-haired companion told me it was her time for prayer. Grandma remained in her closet, while I made my way into her nearby bedroom, and lingered there to listen to a melodious voice speak to God for each and every one of her children and grandchildren. It was like hearing an angel. So sincere, so pure, so heavenly, so selfless, so vibrant and alive, so true, and so unforgettable. It was spoken words showing unseen power.
As Grandma lifted her voice to the Lord, I would occasionally sneak a peek from around the bedroom corner. And with increased courage, I finally made my way into her closet to stand behind her and watch. Grandma's back was toward me, and she was on her knees, weeping, crying out, lost in a heavenly world of praising and asking and receiving. Her head even swayed in rhythm with her resounding words.
Etched in memory as a faithful portrait, those sterling moments on a sultry, summer Georgia day changed my life. If ever I had doubted what prayer was, the mystery was solved. Surely, Grandma had taught me to pray.
She had given me a foundation, a beginning point from which God could build prayer truths later in my life. And today, many years later, I am still learning truths, still searching for a deeper well, still grasping for greater power in prayer.
In our omnipotent God can I only find power in prayer. God is infinite. Limitless. And I am human and fully aware of my many limitations. And yet, those limitations should not bring me a dab of discouragement. FOR, Christ has given a promise! "[W]hatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you. Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:23-24).
ASK! GIVE! RECEIVE! Action verbs! And some of Jesus' final words to His disciples before His passion began. And the message in that scripture from John is greater still, as it reveals His and the Father's heart. THEY WANT US TO PRAY! THEY WANT OUR JOY TO BE FULL!!! Christ has shown us the key to prayer and joy! It begins with a gift of contract left to us from God the Father and God the Son. We can use the name of Jesus to implore our Father to respond to our needs!
And our needs, all of them, God knows all about and fully understands. "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:8).
Before. Not just when. Before. God knows. He Sees.
El Roi is one of my favorite names of God. Its Hebrew meaning is The-God-Who-Sees and is described in The Woman's Study Bible as The Responder to needs!
Hallelujah! Oh, how the Lord loves us!!! He looks! He sees! He knows! That prayer truth fills my soul with unspeakable, bubbling joy!
God is so amazing! He loves us so! He longs for us to pray!
He watches us! Examines our needs with His divine eyes. Looks for us to look to Him! Wants to share life with us! All of life! To have communion with us!
And God wants us all to recognize our need for Him! To see our needs in light of Who He is! God wants to fill a void in us that cannot be filled any other way but by prayer. God wants us to see Him as our Father. And from our parental relationship with Him, God wants to meet our needs, to answer our prayers. And our answers will come as you and I see God as El Roi, as our very own Father in heaven, Who loves and cares for us, Who sees, and Who wants us to connect with Him through the name of His only Son, Jesus Christ.
Let's take a quick but closer look at John 16:24. Notice again the reason for answered prayer is "that your joy may be full." The Greek word John used for joy is chara, which means calm delight, the cause or occasion for joy, or exceeding gladness. It emphasizes the abiding permanence of joy.
Pleroo, the Greek word for full, means to fill to the full; to make complete in every way; to bring to realization; to cause God's will and promises to receive fulfillment. Pleroo is also found in John 15:11 and I John 1:4.
Consider also that the Greek word for ask implies a continuous state of asking! And remember that Jesus, in John 15, had just revealed our necessary state of abiding in Him, a living, constant, unbroken relationship where we remain fixed in Christ. Through union with Him, we take our needs to God, those needs that our Father already sees and understands, and we ask for divine intervention in the name of Jesus.
And the God Who sees us and the God Who hears us is the God Who answers us. He answers that we remain in a constant condition of calm contentment. He answers that in the middle of a mess, in the context of need, we can have delight, contentment, peace, joy. Our imperfect, fleshly life can have perfected joy through the Holy Spirit.
Joy is ours to realize. It is ours to ask. Christ is ours for abiding. Yes, simply asking, just pouring out our hearts to our Savior, to our God, will bring us joy complete. For our asking is our faith in action when Jesus is our vine and we one with Him.
As I close this post, I am asking myself, "Andrea, why in this world would you ever doubt The-God-Who-Sees? Why should you ever use God as a spare tire(please see quote at post's end)? Why do you sometimes delay asking when God desires you have delight?"
My friend, God longs for the melodious sound of your voice. Yes, your cry to Him is like my grandma's were to me. Sweet harmony. Yours is the voice of His beloved. And your rejoicing is the overflowing completeness of His kingdom revealed in you. Right now, God's hands are extended to you. In them he holds your joy.
JUST FOR US TO PONDER. . .
All of us have a measure of faith given to us by God. How much faith does it take to receive not only salvation, but the fulfillment of joy?
How do you, in your walk with God, reach a level of prayer that leads to completion of joy?
What specific times in your life do you remember abiding joy?
Hagar said that the Lord was to her ""the God Who sees me" (Genesis 16:13). Have you ever experienced such helplessness as Hagar did and in your despair, been blessed by the presence and intervention of El Roi?
"Is God your steering wheel or your spare tire?"
Corrie Ten Boom
Research is from e-sword.
Research is from e-sword.