I have always been prayer challenged. I have a history of text message prayers…you know, “Father, bless her. Lord, be with him.” I wonder how often God has thought, “Skirt-Girl? Can you be more SPECIFIC?”
I’ve wanted to do better and there have been times I’ve really tried. I’ve known some amazing prayer warriors over the years…I once asked a faithful older woman if she would teach me how to pray. She gave me a quizzical look and said, “Well, you just do it.” She made is sound so easy, but for me, it just wasn’t. There were so many other things to do, things that didn’t require me to keep my mind from wandering. My mind had a mind of its own.
Last fall I found myself in a brand new place, and I didn’t like it. My youngest had just been married and I realized that for all intents and purposes, I was through with hands-on parenting. I had given my son the same talk I gave my daughter…you know the one. The ‘If You And Your Spouse Have Problems Don’t Tell Me About It’ talk. And, hey, I really meant it. But it left me wondering what I could do for my kids. So I decided it was time to start getting serious about prayer. I could do that for them, and for a lot of other people. Even for myself.
I started on Aug. 30th. I took a stack of 3x5 cards and wrote names and needs on each card. And I began to pray for those needs every single day. I never took a day off, not even SUNDAYS.
I’ve learned some things I’d like to share with you. I hope you have a rich prayer life and already know the stuff I’ve learned. But just in case you need encouragement, here ‘tis.
- It doesn’t take long to get addicted to prayer. I found I couldn’t take a day off, I didn’t want to because I became more invested in the people I prayed for. I was loving them better.
- It’s really hard work. There were days when the needs on those cards weighed a ton. My emotions got tired. On days like that, I learned to take a break from asking and concentrate on thanking.
- Expect Satan not to like what you’re doing. He’ll throw stuff at you to try to get you to stop, and he’s persistent. But when you realize what’s going on and that God does like what you’re doing, Satan becomes a bug to be smashed.
- God doesn’t have to show you what He’s up to. I asked for peeks under the curtain…some days I begged for peeks under the curtain. Sometimes what God would show me was a complete surprise. He’s very creative.
- People are complicated and some things just flat take time. I hate waiting. God knows all the intricacies within a person and he won’t push. I’ve asked him to. I’ve begged him to. But he refuses to allow me to push him.
By the way, begging is completely unnecessary.
- Sometimes I have to let go. It’s so, so painful. But just today God told me to focus on his plan for my life and stop focusing on his plan for somebody else’s life. I can still pray, but I have to give up FOCUSING. He doesn’t want my play by play.
- God is working even if I see nothing. He is. He’s God. If I don’t believe that, then I am a fool for spending all of this time praying.
And I am no fool.
I’m over six months into this prayer warrior journey and I have no desire to stop. I love telling someone I will pray for them because I know I can be trusted to do it. Of course my part in prayer is insignificant compared to God’s part. I know he listens, and I know he longs to answer in his time. I still fight the fact that prayer is all about God's timing, but it is.
Please remind if I forget.
If I can do prayer, I know you can. It isn't easy, but it will bless your socks off when your friend tells you she is shocking the oncologist with her quick cancer recovery and you know you’ve had a little part in that. Honestly? It makes me cry. It's one of the sweetest feelings I’ve ever known.