Day 23 of
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
I have friends from elementary school through college who I almost never see and seldom talk to. We follow each other on facebook, instagram, and all the other pieces of social media created to keep people in touch, but it's just not the same as sitting in a room together, or even on the phone, and getting to chat. As much as I love them, and will forever think of them as friends, and be appreciative for who they are and have been in my life, something is missing. The people closest to me in life are the ones I talk to. The ones who know about me and I know about them because we have the thing required to keep our relationship intact: Conversation.
Conversation is ESSENTIAL in relationships. It is impossible, seriously impossible, to fully know someone without talking to them. You could have all their pictures and journals, heard stories from others about their life, but unless you have had a conversation in which you can hear their words from their own lips, there will always be something missing in your knowledge of them, and they will be missing a part of you as well.
When God allowed the bomb to go off in my life, it shook up everything, and slowly and surely He began to rebuild it all the way He wanted. There was not one part of my life that wasn't touched, and praise God for that, because that means there is not one part of my life that He is not a part of. Now granted, I do not mean that I'm all good and restored and rebuilt and coasting along. Our lives are in a constant renewal process, a race that is continued to be run. However, I do mean that I am constantly learning how to let Him in everywhere, to keep nothing back for myself, and to hide nothing from Him because nothing is able to be hidden anyway.
God has given us things on this Earth, tangible things, that aid us in our clinging to the Hope He brings. Yesterday I wrote about His Word, today it is prayer.
I did not go to seminary, I have no background degree in theology, and I have only read one of the 100s of books out there about prayer. The point is I am not an expert on the subject, but like you, God has given me a story. And like you, prayer has an impact on that story whether I use it wisely or not.
My prayer life the past year has been an up and down experience and learning process. There were days where my heart was so full of sorrow, the only thing that would ease it was lamenting in prayer to God. I would ask Him all the questions, and give Him all the complaints welling up within me, until I was drained of it all. And I would be more at peace because instead of keeping it inside, I laid it out to Him, and He would take those burdens. There were days that I was so full of joy and thankfulness for the way God was working within my husband and me and our marriage that my heart gave me no choice but to thank Him for it all, and pour my joy at His feet.
Another side of prayer life existed as well. There were also many days that my heart was so full of sorrow that nothing would come out. I had no strength to think, no strength to question, no strength to even complain. Those days were the hardest. The days where the one thing I needed to do was lay it all down at the cross, but at the time, holding on to it seemed to hurt less because I thought talking about it and letting it go, even to the only One who could help, would be so painful I couldn't bare it. However, whether it only took a few hours, a few days or a few weeks, God did not let go of my heart. His Spirit would hint, and prick and push until finally I blurted it out to Him and it never failed that in that moment I would feel peace again from finally having the conversation.
That is what prayer is. A conversation between you and your Heavenly Father. It doesn't have to be eloquent, it doesn't have to be done only when you're in a good mood or only when you know your exact need. It doesn't have to be with eyes closed and head bowed no matter what some pastor told you at the end of the service. It can be through tears of joy or tears of sorrow. It can be through your biggest smile or through clenched teeth. It just needs to happen. Our pastor frequently quotes Alexander Moody Stuart's first rule of prayer. Pray until you pray. Start the conversation with God and keep at it until you are finally having the conversation you need to be having.
From experience I can tell you that there are times it won't be easy, and there are times where it is the last thing you want to do. But when you finally let the Spirit win out and give yourself over to prayer, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus, (Phil. 4:6-7) and you will see Hope.