February 15, 2010

What I Learned About Prayer

"Sometimes I pray for help, not knowing what that help might look like."~Cynthia

 Prayer is one of the greatest blessings we have.
It is a sincere, heartfelt talk with God.
And nothing helps us draw closer to Him than prayer.

But I did not always know this.

I used to think that there were only a couple of types of things to pray for.
That your team would win the game or that you would pass a test you had not studied for or that your mom didn't hear you come in late or that the policeman's radar gun was off.
Situations I had gotten myself into.
Self-centered things.

The only other time to pray was if it was literally a situation where you were in deaths way.
That was it.

Other than that I thought that you were supposed to think of and then implement the solutions yourself. (Unless that meant practicing or studying or coming home on time or obeying traffic laws...)

I told myself that God had way too many more important people and things to worry about than simple 'ole me.

That is how I felt in my life as a child too.
You did not bother others with your needs.
Because chances of your needs getting met were slim.
Anything that could not be changed or resolved by you was just how it would have to be.

I have learned since then that prayer is so much more.
And that knowledge has changed my whole life.

I now know that God wants me to come to Him with all my concerns.
If they are important to me, they are important to Him.

This is so trivial, but one time I could not find a doll pattern that I needed to fill these orders that had to be delivered.
I had acted in the old way of doing things and had looked everywhere several times and to no avail.
I knew that it was a frivolous and unimportant matter of life.
So it was only when I became totally frustrated and desperate and had run out of options that I turned to Him.
After I did, I was given a clear direction in my mind of where to look.
The pattern was there.
Somewhere that I had already looked before but I had not been able to find it.

I have called upon this memory many times to remind me that my pleas are heard no matter how insignificant they seem to others.
Or even to me sometimes.

Something else happened along with the realization that I am heard.
I learned that God loved me, knew me, and wanted to help me.
If it was that important to me, it was that important to Him!

This belief, this sure knowledge, would help me through many trying times that were to come my way after that.
Going through my divorce and later as I had struggles with my children I never plead so hard from the depths of my heart.

I knew I would receive guidance and/or strength.
Many times I needed to believe that, as I would come to have some of the darkest moments of my life that I had ever experienced.

The peace and solace did come, not because things were always resolved but because I knew my petitions were not going out in vain.
I knew they were being heard.

I knew that in my dark, lonely, fearful world I was not going through this alone.
I knew it with a certainty.

Sometimes though, the answer would be no, or slow in coming to me and I would start to wonder where God had gone.
"Oh ye of little faith, Reyna"

The peace would start to fade.
I would tell myself that maybe I had disappointed Him.
I could instantly make a list of why that might be.
Maybe because of this disappointment I reasoned, He didn't love me so much anymore.

That is also how life felt growing up.
That love was conditional.

But God does not love conditionally.
He loves us no matter what we do.
He loves unconditionally.

I would learn later that the delayed answers to a prayer were for my own good.
It would strengthen my feeble faith.
It would allow me to think of a solution within myself, when He knew my self-esteem needed that.

Delayed answers did not mean He was not there or aware.
Sometimes it meant that others needed time to grow and learn, and an immediate answer would impede that.
And sometimes it meant that I was not supposed to do anything.

That was the hardest one.
I am a give-me-a-list type of girl.
Then I feel like something is happening.
But just wait?
And do nothing?
And let God take care of it?
Do you know how hard that is for a Ctrl freak?
It is crazy making!

And faith building.
And the honing of fine character.
And the refining of an obedient and humble child.

It is one of the purest forms of love.

And that is what I wanted and needed to feel.
That is how I felt in the end.

Now I understand prayer so much better.
I still ask sometimes, Are you there?, but I know without a doubt, passed my weakness of the flesh, that He is.
And always has been.

And that is what gives me the courage and strength to keep going forward even as trials still pave my life's path.

For that knowledge I am grateful.

"I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."~Abraham Lincoln


  1. This post just brought tears to my eyes. It makes me hurt for the hurt you have experienced and then gratitude for the love and acceptance you have found.

  2. Prayer keeps growing. When we are conscious, when we make time to be conscious, when we give God space in our heart...through prayer he is always there. What never ceases to amaze me, is that God never gives up on us, even when we neglect him. And when we return...in need or in gratitude...the greeting is always the same...'hello dear one, I have missed your voice...your love never faltered, but I am happy to be with you again.' Yes, life is unexpected.


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