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The Unexpected in Prayer

Living prayerfully is to delight in the unexpected. As the old saying goes, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Rick's son Tim

Prayer opens you up to the unexpected. Or at least, living prayerfully is to delight in the unexpected. As the old saying goes, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Last week one of my wife Carol’s good friends was antiquing in North Carolina and went into a store. A big reader, she naturally was drawn to the stacks of books. Thumbing through them she happened upon an old copy of Daily Guideposts.

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She picked it up and let it open, thinking of her friend up north whose husband happened to work for Guideposts. She started reading the devotional on that page:

A new baby. Everything about having a new baby seems unfamiliar. I stand in a darkened room in the middle of the night swaying back and forth with the baby in my arms, trying to keep him from crying.

“Come on, Timothy. Daddy wants to go to bed.” I can’t remember doing this with three-year-old Willy, but I’m sure I did…

Timothy. Willy. These names were very familiar. She didn’t even have to look down to see who the author was. She emailed Carol, “You’ll never believe what happened the other day…”

But what perfect timing for us on the receiving end of her email. To be reminded of the magic of a newborn, the unfamiliarity of it even when you’ve had a child already, the way you end up trusting God with everything. The way each moment of parenthood feels new.

I even quoted my sister, mother of four, in that devotional: “With each baby it feels like a new experience. I think it’s God’s way of helping us be parents. He lets us discover what it’s like each time as though it were the first time.”

Timothy is now 24 years old and just that week he had moved out of our house and into his own apartment with two other friends. Out on his own. Something completely new. One more thing to trust to God’s care and providence.

I looked at the prayer in the devotional I’d written all those years ago. It would work just fine today: Lord, let me find the newborn newness of each day.

Each day a gift, each day full of its surprises, each day a chance for wonder and praise, whether you’re the father of twenty-somethings or newborns or living in a long-emptied nest.

P.S.: If you want to know what’s happening with Tim, check out his story from the current edition of Angels on Earth.

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