We know personal revelation is crucial to living our lives to the fullest, but so often that revelation appears blocked or stunted or entirely absent. How can we access it more often? Here is one practice that the world so often overlooks that we need to reestablish in our lives:
One night several years ago, we had an older teenaged daughter who did not arrive at her 12:00 a.m. curfew. One o’clock came and she still wasn’t there. We did what any good parent would do. We panicked. We prayed. We made those awkward middle-of-the-night calls to her friends. 2:00 a.m. Our imaginations were flying with the dangers she could be in. We prayed harder. I cried with worry. The minutes seemed like hours. 2:30 a.m. 2:45 a.m. The world was asleep, but not us—two parents so concerned about their precious daughter.
At last, at 3:00 a.m., we heard the front door quietly open. We had decided on a plan to divide and conquer. My husband, Scot, stayed up in our bedroom and prayed for me while I went down to greet our daughter. The conversation was just as you might expect. I pounced on her—not literally, but there was an edge in my voice. I reminded her of her curfew, told her of the dangers and temptations abroad in the late hours of the night, described our painful worry.
She was defensive. She asked if we didn’t trust her. She told me she was too old for a curfew. The more she resisted my teaching, the more tension you could feel between us. I badly needed help to turn this divisive conversation into a sweet moment of love and teaching. Just then I felt the influence of my husband’s prayers for me, and an impression came into my mind. I had been praying much for this daughter of ours whom I had been worried about, and just a few days earlier the Spirit had whispered something about her to me.
I stopped my lesson on curfews for a moment. I was still and knew that this was the moment to tell her that message. “Last week,” I said, “the Spirit told me something about you.” Her defensiveness began to fall from her. It was the first time she really heard anything I said. “Tell me,” she said with real eagerness. I answered, “The Spirit told me not to worry so much about your life because all things would work out for you, that everything would be OK.”
“You heard that, Mom?” she asked eagerly. “What else did the Spirit tell you about me?” Listen to the faith in her questions. She believed that God had heard my prayers and answered them. She believed that he knew her and loved her. When I saw her as a daughter pushing the limits by coming in late, he knew her heart and the faith that resided there that maybe she didn’t even know. Our conversation became sweet as I told her of the confidence that God had in her and of his personal knowledge of her heart and goodness.
Before, she had been eager to escape my presence and lecture. Now, she was all ears and we talked until 4:00 a.m. I count it as a treasured hour in my mothering experience. . . .
Life presents one moment after another to us, and knowing how to respond, seeing with clarity, and understanding what each part of it means requires insight beyond our own. We need revelation because we simply don’t know very clearly how to be. We aren’t even entirely clear about who we are, let alone how to respond to the questions life poses us hourly and incessantly.