Back in November I picked up a little book from the library : Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer. I just checked the calendar and realized that I have been trying to get through it for 14 weeks! Today I read day fifty-five of seventy. Now lest you worry that I have overdue fines by now, I did actually purchase the book a couple of weeks in. I have found that it is a nice complement to my regular Bible study. In fact, I have noted in this blog a few instances when the messages of my Bible study and my prayer guide have overlapped. Some people call that coincidence. I call it divine orchestration.
Clearly I am not very diligent in using this prayer guide every day, but apparently God can work with my timing. This morning, in my regular Bible study on the Sermon on the Mount, we focused on the portion of Scripture that urges us to “Ask, … Seek, … Knock…” Clearly this is about prayer.
Let’s back up a minute and remind ourselves that for a while I was, as I say, “not on speaking terms” with God. (See https://kristinsnextchapter.com/2014/09/13/coming-out-of-the-desert/). I believed that God was distant; I had no interest in bringing my personal cries and requests to Him. However, since I began this Next Chapter, I have been trying to do things differently.
I’ve blogged about my change in exercise and nutrition. I’ve written about my new pace. And, I think I’m at a point where I can write a bit about prayer. I’ve got a long way to go, but I believe I can say that God and I are speaking again. It may be awkward at times and not as regular as it may be one day, but we are in conversation.
Probably the greatest hindrance to my prayer life is my need to be strong and in control. I’m a take-charge type of girl. I see what needs to be done and I do it. It is very difficult for me to admit that I need help. Prayer is all about admitting that I am powerless and needy. He is God and I am not.
In fact, the very postures that people around the world use for prayer are an acknowledgement of being in the presence of power. In prayer we bow, we kneel, we lie face down. We praise God for His greatness while acknowledging our limitations. In this posture of humility there is no escaping the raw truth — I need God.
For a while, I was perhaps a bit afraid to admit that truth. But instead of acknowledging the fact that I was afraid, I was, as I’ve often described, soldiering through the difficulties of life, bandaging wounds, putting on tourniquets, and trying to resuscitate the wounded. My life was in crisis! I didn’t have time to admit that I was incapable of handling it! I had work to do!
I’ve described over and again where that soldiering left me — wounded, exhausted, and in desperate need of leave.
So, lest I jump back into battle and start to handle things in ways I always have in the past, I keep reviewing the lessons I have learned through this grace period.
So my nugget for today: Great freedom and relief come from setting down my weapons, taking off my combat gear, lying face down and crying out in helplessness to the One who can actually help me. That being said, in order to experience that freedom, I have to be willing to take a risk — to trust that He really does have me, that He really does love me, that He really won’t let me down, that He really is the God of the universe. He won’t let my world fall to pieces if I place it in His hands. In fact, and we’ve been over this, it is already in His hands.
So, here’s the plan. I destroyed the weapons. I burned the gear. I’m turning away from my own resources which are pathetic at best. I am turning to the Creator and Owner of all things, my Father, who indeed does have me, does love me, and is the God of the universe. He certainly won’t let me down.
Psalm 102: 1
Hear my prayer, O Lord; let me cry come to you.