Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Preparing MySELF

I mentioned in my last post that the fiercest stage of my nesting has come to an end; but the urge to prepare for my babies is still strong as ever--it has just taken on a little different form.  Instead of preparing my "nest," I guess I've moved on to preparing myself.

Within the past couple weeks I have purchased and begun reading Program Your Baby's Health by Barbara Luke (a book on nutrition that was recommended to me months ago by a knowledgeable midwife); I have checked out from the library Robert Bradley's Husband-Coached Childbirth (and am taking mental notes for my husband who truly doesn't have the time to read it with me); I have borrowed three additional baby name books in the continued quest to find the (second) right first name; I have watched Ricki Lake's documentary The Business of Being Born; and I am now looking into utilizing chiropractic care--more specifically, the Webster Technique, a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which allows babies to get into the best possible position for birth--to prepare myself for the birth of my babies.

In spite of all my preparation, I know that the circumstances surrounding the birth of a baby--and maybe even more so of twins--can be so uncertain; and the best of plans can be foiled in an instant (as in the case of my first childbirth).  But as I have prayed--and as so many of you have prayed with me and for me (Thank you, dear friends.  For your prayers and support I am eternally grateful.)--I have felt only more confirmation in my desire for a VBAC.  I continue to learn of more and more people, some of whom I don't even know, whom the Lord has raised up to pray for my situation; and I know that God is hearing these prayers.  Not only has all of my research confirmed the legitimacy of my desire to VBAC, so has all of my communication with God.  He has built me up with an ever stronger faith to truly believe that He can do all things and that His plans will prevail no matter how seemingly impossible the circumstances.

A few weeks ago I was doing a little personal study on prayer and read the following excerpt on "Praying According to God's Will" from Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.
But how do we know what God's will is when we pray?  If the matter we are praying about is covered in a passage of Scripture in which God gives us a command or a direct declaration of his will, then the answer to this question is easy:  His will is that his Word be obeyed and that his commands be kept.... However, there are many other situations in life where we do not know what God's will is.  We may not be sure, because no promise or command of Scripture applies, whether it is God's will that we get the job we have applied for, or win an athletic contest in which we are participating... or be chosen to hold office in the church, and so on.  In all of these cases, we should bring to bear as much of Scripture as we understand, perhaps to give us some general principles within which our prayer can be made.  But beyond this, we often must admit that we simply do not know what God's will is.  In such cases, we should ask him for deeper understanding and then pray for what seems best to us, giving reasons to the Lord why, in our present understanding of the situation, what we are praying for seems to be best.  But it is always right to add, either explicitly or at least in the attitude of the heart, "Nevertheless, if I am wrong in asking this, and if this is not pleasing to you, then do as seems best in your sight," or, more simply, "If it is your will."  Sometimes God will grant what we have asked.  Sometimes he will give us deeper understanding or change our hearts so that we are led to ask something differently.  Sometimes he will not grant our request at all but will simply indicate to us that we must submit to his will (see 2 Cor. 12:9-10).... Even when a command or promise of Scripture applies, there may be nuances of application that we do not at first fully understand.  Therefore it is important in our prayer that we not only talk to God but also listen to him.  We should frequently bring a request to God and then wait silently before him.  In those times of waiting on the Lord (Pss. 27:14; 38:15; 130:5-6), God may change the desires of our heart, give us additional insight into the situation we are praying about, grant us additional insight into his Word, bring a passage of Scripture to mind that would enable us to pray more effectively, impart a sense of assurance of what his will is, or greatly increase our faith so that we are able to pray with much more confidence. (Wayne Grudem, "Prayer," Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan, 1994), pp. 383-384.)
When I read this, especially the last sentence of what is here quoted, my eyes filled with tears and my heart brimmed with joy and thankfulness as I realized that of the things listed, God, in regards to my prayers for a VBAC, has done all but change the desire of my heart--unless an increase in desire can be counted as "change."  He has given us additional insight into the issue of VBACing twins vs. elective repeat cesarean.  He has granted me additional insight into His Word, showing me through the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament that He is not bound by our circumstances.  He has brought passages of Scripture to mind that have enabled me to pray more effectively.  He has greatly increased my faith so that I am able to pray with much confidence.  And in doing all of these things, He has imparted to me a sense of assurance of what His will is.

Perhaps it is because of this that I have felt the urge of late to prepare myself for the natural childbirth that I so desire.  As I move forward in these preparations, I do so in a spirit of humility and submission before the Lord my God who is able to do all things and to whom I continue to pray, "Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done."


Becky said...

Can I ask what exactly it means to "pray more effectively"?

Linda said...

Hi Angela this is Linda from Truthful Tidbits,....(Lynnette Kraft's mom) I have been reading your blog and I decided to become a follower today. I find it very inspiring.

Keep up the good work bringing encouragement to others. And being a stay at home mom, and loving your husband and serving God by serving him and your children.


Angela said...

Becky, I'm sorry for the delay in my response to your question. I was out of town for most of the weekend and am just getting back to my blog!

Wayne Grudem states in the excerpt quoted above that God, as we wait on Him, may "bring a passage of Scripture to mind that would enable us to pray more effectively." Maybe we need to look at what the word "effectively" really means. I'm not sure that I have that answer, but I will tell you what my understanding is.

When I said that God has brought to my mind passages of Scripture that have enabled me to pray more effectively, I was speaking of recent times when He has shown me specific verses which were very applicable to my circumstances and which taught me something about God. When I then incorporated these truths into my prayers, it seems to me that my prayers became more "effective" (i.e. more confident, more fervent, more according to God's will) simply because I was praying the very words of God.

Thanks for leaving a comment and for your thought-provoking question!

In Christ,

Angela said...


Thanks for the encouragement! Praise God for the things He has done!

God bless,

Melissa Ulrickson said...

On my knees (literally) for you and your babies today! To God be the glory! I love having you for a sister in the Lord.

It was great to catch up on your posts today...excellent!


Angela said...

Thank you so much for your prayers, my dear sister!

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