I use to pray a lot. Like fervently pray for everything. Then something happened that rocked my faith. A boy was injured from my hometown who I wasn’t particularly close to but my town is small. So our families knew each other well. My husband had even done some work for his father. It was a freak accident, he fell over during a baseball game and hit his head. It was instant, he finished the game and complained of a headache later that night. When I found out he was in the hospital and in a comma I hit my knees. I don’t think I have ever prayed for someone so hard in my life. I pleaded with God to spare him. He was so young and so amazingly talented. He would have done so much for the Lord. I went and visited him at the hospital the next day and when I saw him he looked exactly as I had remembered (I was in college, he was in high school at the time). Strong. I had a peace overwhelm me. He was going to be fine! I knew it! The next day Jake died. At first I was so angry with God. He gave me peace? Why? Then after the anger and grief passed, I started questioning, why do we pray?? What’s the point? God has a plan and he knows the desires of my hearts. Why ask him for what he already knows I want? Why plea with him over something he already has planned to turn out a specific way? And if I can change his mind, it almost feels like a popularity contest. The person with the most friends and most prayers survives. Is that my God? No. So I kept talking to God every day. I kept praising him. I prayed when people asked me to and for prayer requests but for the most part they were half-hearted because I figured he had it in control. And every now and then I’d really fervently pray for something but it was not on a regular basis.
I think I forgot all about this until this month. Silence from the madness of media has reminded me to pray. And in the meantime, I questioned, why Lord have I stopped asking you for favor? I still don’t understand prayer. Its one of the biggest areas of faith I struggle with which sounds crazy because for most people, its probably the easiest. I don’t understand why God steps in and intervenes in some situations and not others. But what I do know, is what his word tells me. Col 4:2 tells me to devote myself to prayer. 1 Thes 5:17 and Eph 6:18 tells me to constantly pray. And the biggest kicker for me is Matt 21:22 “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it." Ironically, this is the verse that made me lose faith. I had complete faith in my prayers for healing that day. Like there was not a doubt in my mind that Jacob would live. I actually repeated that verse over and over in my prayers. But for some reason, God had bigger plans for him than I did. And this is still where I question prayer. But I know I’m commanded to do it, and to believe in God’s power. So over the past week, instead of lying in bed at night playing Sudoku before bed, I’ve been praying. While driving in my car instead of checking my email on my phone, I’ve been praying. During naptime, instead of incessantly checking Facebook and GCM, I’ve been praying. I’m blown away already by the power of God. I think one thing that happens when we don’t pray is we don’t realize how many miracles God performs. Yes, he still knew my heart and he still made great things happen for me, but I didn’t realize he was doing it unless it was something major. When I’m asking, even for tiny things, and he directly answers immediately after…its amazing.
This is one area that I think media, aka smart phones, are a big downfall to Christians. We can take them to bed with us at night and continue checking the internet or playing angry birds (or in my case Sudoku or solitaire) and that quiet time that was once filled with prayers, is now filled with games. I’m trying to add this to my challenge this month. To stop playing games before bed. And this is HARD for me. Sudoku centers me. I’m weird like that. Give me some numbers to play with and the stress of my day melts away and I’m sound asleep within a few minutes. But I need those few quiet minutes before bed that I once spent with God back. I want them back. So I’m adding that to my challenge this month. What’s keeping you from praying?