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 David's Prayer

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apilgrim2
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PostSubject: David's Prayer   Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:08 pm

The following is a work of fiction. Neither the characters nor the events exist as they are described, though the issues discussed are surely universal in the lives of many Christian people.

The Scripture references are taken from the Authorized King James translation of 1611.
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David Prayer
By apilgrim2

There came a day in the life of one energetic young husband and father, whose spare time was almost always spent doing something for his family, for their friends, and for those in their church community. These things he did with joyful enthusiasm until the day David found himself bed-bound, a most unwilling passenger on a fever-fueled roller coaster. He was disoriented and shivering one minute; and dripping sweat the next. How frustrating it was for him to lay in bed doing nothing but "getting better". Even so, in one of his more lucid moments it occurred to him that his ordeal might be made fruitful through dedicated prayer.

Despite his present illness and it's characteristic muscle aches and nausea, his thoughts shifted erratically between relatives near and far, family friends, and a world of people for whom he had often been compelled to offer special prayer. While it is true that even the best of intentions can fail, David wondered if his helpless inactivity might somehow be charged with purpose if Holy Spirit power was engaged for the cause. In his fevered mind it all made perfect sense.

When his wife Marie floated quietly into their guest room to check on him, David lay on his back in his pajamas and terry-cloth robe, with the blankets and bed sheet cast to one side.

“My darling you must stay under the blankets if you want to get well.” she scolded him lovingly. Even in his present illness he could see her dark brown eyes were filled with the love and compassion that drew him to her when they met.

“But I am too hot already! Can’t you see I am sweating like crazy?” To Marie, David sounded just like their five-year-old son Benjie who slept in his room at the end of the hall.

As soon as he finished his complaint David fell asleep. And a second later he was wide awake and began to explain to her his plan. He opened the Bible that lay face down on his chest, and struggled to read aloud to her in the fading light, the following verse of Scripture:

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." - James 2:18,

and he continued with his explanation of his idea for dedicated prayer as best he could.

Marie listened attentively to David's words as she gently brushed his black hair away from his sticky face with the fresh, cool washcloth she always seemed to have with her. She smiled and nodded as he spoke, and he was confident that she understood. But by the time he finished explaining his plan, every ounce of energy he had was gone, and again he fell asleep. Marie folded the washcloth in her lap as she reflected on her exhausted husband's words.

As quickly as he seemed to have fallen asleep, he was awake again, and without missing a beat, he began to ask his wife what she thought of his plan.

"Your motivation is admirable," she began. "...but your timing needs help." She produced yet another cool, damp wash cloth from out of nowhere and began ever so gently to wipe away the perspiration from David's forehead. She looked intently into his bleary eyes, and when she saw that he was looking at her, she lowered her voice to a near-whisper and drew close to him: "Precious, If you are going to get well you must rest. Do you really believe that, in your present condition, you have the energy you need for such dedicated prayer?"

"Energy?", his voice crackled and cut out like a dropped cell-phone call.  "How much energy does prayer taaa...?" 
In a single movement Marie produced a digital thermometer from her sleeve, pressed the button, and inserted it under David’s tongue. He was a bit offended at having his ability to mumble interrupted by the presence of a foreign instrument, and cast his eyes in a wild orbit to express his dismay. Instantly he knew that rolling his eyes was much too ambitious a gesture for him in his present state.

He decided to undertake a smaller but equally as effective protest, since Marie was still in the room waiting for the thermometer to beep. For her benefit he comforted himself by uttering a softly whimpering moan each time he exhaled. As she tidied up around the bed, Marie giggled and clicked her tongue “tisk-tisk“. She decided to ignore her husband's childish display, for the moment, blaming it on his illness.

Within thirty seconds the thermometer signaled with a single beep that David failed to hear over the ringing in his ears.

When Marie saw the number, she nearly inhaled the curtains down from the window above the bed.

"Oh my!", she gasped.  "One hundred and one degrees! If this temperature doesn't come down by the morning you must see the doctor."  She insisted that he needed water to hydrate more than just his dry throat, and disappeared in a purposeful stride down the hall to the kitchen. David remembered what his wife had said to him. He thought about it for a moment, and just as he had decided to prove to her that she was wrong, she returned carrying a tray laden with the tools of care and concern, balanced atop an emptied wastebasket.

Marie returned the wastebasket to its usual location, and placed the tray on the bedside table. She switched on the small reading lamp and David raised his hand to shield his aching eyes as they adjusted to the sixty-watt assault. When the discomfort subsided he looked up to see a brilliant yellow slice of lemon floating in the crystal pitcher of fresh water. He saw beside it a large box of two-ply tissues, all thanks to his beloved Marie, who smiled, rolled her eyes, and instructed him to "take those aspirin, please" as she closed the bedroom door.

David took the two aspirin tablets that she had set out for him and he settled in to begin the first of a series of conversations with God. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and with every ounce of will at his command he tried to focus his attention.  Just as the static and chatter began to penetrate the ringing in his mind's ear, he tried to push it back by beginning a prayer as quickly as possible, starting with his usual "Gracious Heavenly Father". His concentration evaporated instantly, and prayer was terminated.  The degree of his debilitation was made abundantly clear as his effort to focus his attention on a simple prayer left his fevered mind distracted and exhausted.  He tried again several times, only to experience the same result.

Before ten seconds had elapsed he had fallen asleep, only to awaken an hour later shaking uncontrollably and soaked with perspiration. Except for his chattering teeth, the house was middle-of-the-night quiet and dark as a power failure.  He urgently needed get to the bathroom, but when he tried to move to get out of bed he found he was unable to free himself from the tangle of bedclothes, robe, and pajamas.

"Mh-Muh-Marie . . ." He called out into the silence, just loud enough that she would hear him, but not so loud that the rest of the family might think he was being murdered down the hall. But no sooner had his voice fallen away than Marie stood in the doorway, straightening her robe and tucking her hair behind her ears as she came. Had she been asleep in the hallway? he wondered...

"I am here, my love.", she answered as she sat gently on the bedside and reached out to comfort him. "Mercy!", she exclaimed quietly, "you are soaking wet!" She began to try to free him from the tangle of bedclothes and pajamas in which he had become practically mummified. Only true love would manifest the patience needed to free a sick man from the soggy bondage that had resulted from his broken fever.

David yawned. "…so c-c-COLD." He was shivering convulsively.

"Yes, yes . . . you had a high fever, remember?", she mumbled through a protracted yawn.

Marie mumbled aloud as she struggled to untie the magician's knot in the sweat-soaked straight-jacket that David's robe had become, but at 3:00 a.m. she was no magician.  David joined in with his own mumbling about what could have kept him from completing even one prayer. She finally managed to loosen the knot.  "Mercy!", (suddenly it had become her favorite expression)  "Who tied this knot?",  she exhaled and the knot gave way. She exhaled again with a whistle and brushed her hair back from her face.

"I'll take it from here, sweetie." He said, yawning and shivering as he stood much too quickly and began to fall toward the bathroom.

"And I will gladly let you take it, but you must be careful. I think you had better sit down please."  Marie steadied him to the bathroom and turned him around slowly to face her. When David was safely seated she removed a fluffy towel from the bar and wrapped it around his shoulders. She instructed him to dry himself thoroughly, and his hair when he was finished. He looked up at her and yawned in her face.

"I love you too.", Marie yawned reflexively in response.

As she moved to leave she couldn‘t resist a final, loving instruction: “You’ll have to change those wet pajamas or you will surely relapse into fever again.", she informed him rather forcefully (though he understood her motivation), "I will lay them out on your bed."

Marie shuffled somnambulistically across the hall back to their bedroom where she had taken refuge from her otherwise charming husband.

He decided that In the morning he would start at the very beginning to determine if something he was doing had undermined his efforts to pray.  Now, as he lay awake trying to fall back into the sleep he could not avoid the night before, he began to examine his approach to the prayers.  He wondered if his distraction could have had something to do with his objective, but decided he was quite sure (thank you very much) that this simply could not be so.  After all, his motive was entirely honorable, was it not?  His spirit was more than willing but the fever had weakened his ability to concentrate, and this was a weakness he was unwilling to acknowledge.

"The LORD [is] far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous."  -  Proverbs 15:29

Then, silently, surreptitiously, the new heart of flesh that he had been getting to know ever since he had given his life to the Lord, quietly presented for his consideration a series of questions he had never thought to ask himself:  for whom was he praying?  Was it for his friends; for his family; for himself?  When he prayed, what was he expecting?  What did he want from God?  Was he trying to make sure the Lord knew what a considerate and selfless man he had become?

Barely able to process these questions, a series of memories next began to surface.  He remembered that in Scripture God speaks of Himself as 'I AM THAT I AM'; the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end.  He remembered the Apostle Paul's description of the events that took place on the road to Damascus, and how Paul's life was changed in an instant when he recognized the power of the One Who had appeared before him in a (literally) blinding light.  He remembered how the Lord asked questions that Paul might soon have been asking himself.  Of course the Lord knew Paul's mind in ways Paul himself could not.

Whether these thoughts were a side effect of his fever, or glimpses of truth arriving through a doorway that was not usually open, it seemed that something profound was 'taking form'; thoughts were coming to him and they seemed to be forming an answer to the questions he was asking:

What, he asked himself, did he really KNOW?
  
He KNEW that the believer's ability to come before God in prayer was a privilege almost beyond comprehension, especially as he recalled what was required under the law for the Jews to be heard of God.  Then he remembered that while God has expressed in Scripture the value of the prayers of a righteous man, he remembered also that The Lord's absolute omnipotence is clearly illustrated in the Scriptures.  He began to realize that his inability to gather his thoughts into a coherent prayer need not be a matter for concern, because the Holy Spirit was conducting the thoughts of his heart, expressing much more of his prayer than he could ever fully communicate himself, whether his mind was clear or not.

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." - Romans 8:26

Despite the haze that hung like a smoggy curtain before his mind's eye, he considered that even the daily prayers of a busy man locked in a maze of habit, even the repetition of nightly prayers at bedtime, or the giving of thanks at mealtime, or the joy of conversation with the Almighty at any time, could never fail to be heard by the Lord because He IS omnipresent and omnipotent!  Scripture clearly says that The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities and shepherds our prayers, conveying to the Father every expression that we could hope to communicate, more perfectly than we can begin to know!

At that moment he realized that he had been prideful in his presumption, and he was ashamed.  Had he really thought that unless God was 'informed' by the prayers of this righteous man, that HE might not know the needs of the aforementioned relatives, friends, and people around the world? What spectacular arrogance!

Now, in the middle of the night, in the middle of his feeble minded attempt to inform God of his needs, and the needs of his friends and associates, he realized that all he could say in prayer, even when in potent health and full presence of mind, would fall far short of God's understanding and knowledge of the needs of a now humbled man who had come before Him in prayer . . . before he even thought of praying!

The simple repetition of His blessed and glorious name expresses more than the most elaborate prayer his heart could bring forth even in a moment of brilliant vision.  He knew that all he really needed to do was praise His Name, and pray that His will is done!  Nothing that could be prayed for, nothing that could be desired of God could be more perfect . . . nothing.

"Father . . . Father . . . Father . . . ", David prayed, as he slipped into the restful sleep he needed.

And as he slept the house was peaceful and ever so quiet.  Marie snored softly in their bedroom across the hall . . . and David rested in the knowledge that his prayer would be heard more clearly than he could ever conceive or express it himself. By morning his fever would have subsided, and he would soon be restored to health through the precious grace of God Who knew and loved him.  And in that moment, the thanks and praise he gave to God Who sent for us His Love, His Son, His Word, was found not in his tongue nor heard from his lips, but rather as a continuous prayer that was ever with him, just as the Lord was ever with him through the power of Holy Spirit.

Early in the morning David felt the warmth of sunlight that had reached him through a gap in the freshly vacuumed curtains. He remembered the realization that had come to him in the middle of the night, and he knew it had not been a dream. The realization filled with JOY.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” - Psalm 118:24

Marie was smiling at him from the bedroom door, and Benjie was smiling as well, as he squeezed between his mother and the door.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


God delights in those who draw near to Him in prayer.

He knows our limitations, our capacities, our shortcomings, our successes, and our failures.  When we finally recognize that He knows all (whether it is before or after we have come before Him in the arrogance of our requests for things we suspect He may have overlooked), all that remains for us is to pray that His will is done.

What more perfect thing is there for which we might pray?

Knowing the end from the beginning, HE would never provide an answer to prayer that asks Him to controvert HIS WILL. He will never provide an answer to prayer that asks for something that could be made into a shrine to the petitioners own self-will.

GOD loves to be reminded of the promises HE has made; HE loves to see our acknowledgment of that which HE has set forth in HIS WORD.


"Gracious Heavenly Father, let Thy perfect will be done,
and let us have perfect peace therewith . . . Amen."

* * *

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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:20 am

Hello apilgrim2,
Welcome to Christian Creative Writers. I'm so glad you joined us. You story was great! I can tell you read a lot. As in the story, I have trouble staying focused on praying even when I'm in perfect health. So, thank the Good Lord that he knows our hearts. My favorite line is: "the house was middle-of-the-night quiet and dark as a power failure."

As all of our work goes, there's always little things that can be improved upon. I thought I would offer a few small suggestions:

In the following paragraph I wasn't sure if he was trying to prove her wrong about his praying while he is sick, or drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated:

"Oh my!", she gasped. "One hundred and one degrees! If this temperature doesn't come down by the morning you must see the doctor." She insisted that he needed water to hydrate more than just his dry throat, and disappeared in a purposeful stride down the hall to the kitchen. David remembered what his wife had said to him. He thought about it for a moment, and just as he had decided to prove to her that she was wrong, she returned carrying a tray laden with the tools of care and concern, balanced atop an emptied wastebasket.

Finally, I thought you could bring this line out of the passive voice by changing it as I propose in the following example.

By morning his fever would have subsided, and he would soon be restored
to health through the precious grace of God Who knew and loved him.

By morning his fever would subside, and he would be restored to health through the precious grace of God Who knew and loved him.

Otherwise, great work! I look forward to reading more of it. God Bless.


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PostSubject: Ooops . . .    Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:05 am

Yes, I see just what you mean...even after numerous adjustments, and after going over it several times, it is still easy to read right past something that may well leave the reader wondering.

My hope in writing the piece was, and is, that Holy Spirit power might lead readers to remember the profusion of blessings that are ours through the abiding love of God in Christ Jesus.

Thanks very much for sharing observations that will help make a better story!

-apilgrim2
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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:23 pm

Sometimes, after we've gone over story several times, we stop being able to see it. It helps to have another eye. May God bless all of your work richly.

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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:14 pm

I really like this story. It reveals and reminds me about the profound Truth of the Sovereignty of Almighty God. Well done.

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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:31 pm

Indeed! Well Done... I felt as thought you were communicating God's Word directly to me.

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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:02 pm

I've got one word for you :Powerful!

I am so glad to read this and to see a new posting of such magnitude in this catagory. I would love to read more from you.

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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:41 am

I was very drawn into this in a very peaceful enthralling lovely gentle manner, almost a silent monastic quality to it that causes one to reflect, introspect and set off on a journey. A slow walk with The Lord besides you in silence opening One's heart to Him, emptying of self being filled.
This is food for the soul, thank you for sharing from your overflow and the sense of receiving the bread given to you but imparted selflessly, generously.
May The Lord continue to Bless You.

There is a book I read entitled 'The Music of Silence' by David Stendl I think you might enjoy :)
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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:02 am

Well done, can't wait to read more!
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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:14 am

Beautiful, gentle, sweet story. My favorite part is:

"He began to realize that his inability to gather his thoughts into a coherent prayer need not be a matter for concern, because the Holy Spirit was conducting the thoughts of his heart, expressing much more of his prayer than he could ever fully communicate himself, whether his mind was clear or not."

Looking forward to reading more of your work.

God Bless.
Patsy



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PostSubject: Re: David's Prayer   Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:17 pm

I loved that you portrayed a broken / sick man who was still able to use what he did have to pray for others. It reminded me that we don't always have to be perfect to be used perfectly. AND I agree with Patsy - it was a nice touch to show that God almost always knows ahwt we are trying to say - even when we don't.. I started out smiling - envisioning the exchanges between the husband and wife, and ended up smiling more because of the gentle reminders you gave us! Great job!

Bless You

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PostSubject: Inarticulate, Submitted   Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:49 am

This is excellent np2. I particularly appreciate the term 'new heart of flesh' that David was getting to know and hear (Ezekiel 36). You have caught perfectly the order of things in prayer 1) Submit yourself unto God 2) Resist the devil and he will flee.

Often I can only say "I love you. I love you". This is prompted by the Spirit, the Great Lover of Jesus. Of course Omniscience knows my every need and aspiration!

But the epistles exhort to 'let our requests be made known' (Philippians 4), and not to refrain from asking or to ask amiss (James 4). In the conscious expression of prayer we are entering into partnership with the Father as His will is worked out in the earth and in a life. (Psalm 37:4)

I have a poem that may prove useful. It is called With Father in the School of Prayer. You will find it in the following ebook:

http://issuu.com/dewane/docs/bended_knee_and_breathles1



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