Pray for Joy
From the stage the pastor prayed for joy in our homes. That struck a nerve with me. I get caught up in the chaos of work, raising four sons, managing a household and desperately trying to plan meals that are a step up from macaroni and cheese. It seems there’s always a very long “to-do” list, a pressing “to-go” list, and never a shortage of things on my “to-handle” list. Where do I have time to fit JOY into the equation?
Kay Warren gives a perfect definition of JOY: Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.
I wish someone had challenged me to pray for joy in my home when I was a single mom. Joy often felt like a luxury. My primary focus was to make it from one day to the next. I had kids to feed, bills to pay, and a demanding job. I was sometimes lonely, unsettled, and emotionally out of control. Do you ever feel like that?
Remember the familiar kids’ song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart….”? Someone else would responsively shout, “Where?!” and we’d continue the song, “down in my heart!” and then it ended with an energetic “down in my heart to stay!”
Somewhere along the way our joy became buried in our hearts. It has been pushed down by the commotion of life and flattened by worry, grief or bitterness. For some, it’s nearly invisible at times and difficult to believe it is there. Joy in our hearts? Yes, it’s there. It’s there to stay for the follower of Christ. Many of us just need to free it to overflow into our lives!
To the dear single mother crying herself to sleep each night, or the one feeling hopeless and defeated, or the mom crippled with fear over choices her children are making—let me remind you of this:
"The joy of the Lord is your strength."
Our God is faithful to restore our joy and bring the calm assurance that He is in control of everything. Will you pray as the writer did in Psalm 86:4?
"Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you."
Pray for joy in your home. Put your trust in God’s ability to increase your joy. Let’s let our joy, joy, joy, joy rise to the top of our hearts. Yes, the top of our hearts to stay!