I have a stack of note cards on my desk at work that have all the things I'm praying for on them. Well, most of the things I pray for; it's not limited to just what's on the cards. But the cards are a good system for me. It allows me to keep requests current because I can make notes on each one and update them and then remove that card when the answer has come or been provided.
I was praying over my cards last week and it struck me how really, at the core of all my prayers, what I was really asking for was grace.
That person I know who doesn't know Jesus, and I pray that God would soften her heart to His gospel; that's grace.
The friend who is single and lonely and I pray that God would protect her heart and bring her her life's partner: that's grace.
The elders at my church I pray over; for wisdom and godliness and peace; that's all grace.
The specific provision that Dave and I need; even though I'm asking for a specific thing, what I'm really asking for is grace.
It's such a simple idea, but it struck me so deeply. What all of us really need is grace. And not just the "God's grace gives us salvation" type (though that is obviously huge). But grace in the everyday--I guess I never really noticed before how grace is the answer to everything. God's grace shows itself in His provision, His rebuke, His teaching us dependency, His salvation, His wisdom.
Grace is the twins my friend Laura is carrying.
Grace is Krishana battling cancer, and Sarah getting through school.
Grace is God showing Himself faithful in a friend's difficult season of marriage.
Grace is God holding someone steadfast while they figure out what to do next in their career.
Grace is the girl I know struggling and suffering because she's turned her back on God (yeah, he's showing her she can't do life without Him and that too is grace.)
Everything I pray for, I can just stop, and pray for grace. (Not that I will, because vague prayers drive me batty--God's big enough for my specifics.) Sometimes I forget grace. I forget that it is everywhere; that the rain that poured out of the sky last night, and my beating heart, my marriage, my friendships, my job....they are all evidence of His grace. His grace is amazing not just because it's so vast but because it can manifest itself everywhere, and in every thing. It masquerades as a quiet afternoon at work so I can get caught up or in a cup of coffee and a sunrise that are just there for me to enjoy. It shows up sometimes in a long hot shower and kind words from my husband.
Grace is everywhere. And it slays me, because who are we to deserve these little (and big) bits of favor from God? I don't deserve any of His goodness, and yet it floods over me daily. And the more I notice it, the more I realize how much I don't deserve it, and how much He gives it anyways. I am one who tries to show myself worthy of grace--it's a nasty default of mine. God is showing me that there's no way I can keep up with the goodness He gives; I'll never do enough or be enough to deserve any of it. So as the daily onslaught of His grace continues, I'll try and just give up trying. I won't always succeed, but he has grace to cover that too.
Look around you today; His grace is everywhere. Let the torrent of grace push you to your knees in thanks at His goodness, and then ride the wave of His goodness throughout your day. My brain can't comprehend His goodness. So maybe from now on I'll stop trying to figure it out and earn it, and just enjoy the ride.