Prayer is our communication with God. It may be spoken, written, or simply a thought.
My first introduction to prayer was rote; repeating the same prayers many times over. Often just repeating the words without event thinking about what I was saying.
After becoming a Christ Follower, I found myself wanting to learn how to have better, more mature conversations with God. I wasn’t sure where to begin, but God placed women in my life who modeled their prayer life, and I began to learn.
I was encouraged to write my prayers in journal form. This was a great discipline, because I actually had to think about what I was writing. My prayers are shared with varying intensity; some are almost nonchalant, just a brief thought sent God’s way. At other times, especially in the midst of my struggles, my prayers are heart wrenching, and intense.
I remember two of my “nonchalant” prayers that were the precursor to life changing circumstances. One was a simple, “God, please keep our kids safe coming home tonight.” That was it, short and simple. I fell into a restful sleep to be awakened at 1:30 in the morning by a phone call from Swedish Medical in Denver. Our kids, driving back from a concert in Denver, had been hit head on, killing the driver of the other car, a young woman, the age of our daughter. We were being asked to give permission for emergency surgery, if needed, for our youngest daughter with internal bleeding. Our other daughter and future son-in-law were badly bruised with broken bones.
The other prayer was for my husband Jerry as he left for work, early one morning. Again, it was a simple, “Please God, keep Jerry safe today.” He was involved in a fire at work that day which began a journey of several surgeries, and months of physical therapy.
Certainly, God’s responses in these two situations did not match my expectation. I expected a normal response to my prayer, nothing out of the ordinary. God had completely different plans! I was at a crises of belief, had God even heard my prayer?
When I had time to look back and process the situations with God; I realized in both sets of circumstances God had heard and answered me, it just didn’t “look” like what I had expected. I began to realize regardless of the intensity of my prayer, what matters most to God is my attitude towards His response.
Do I approach prayer filled with great hope and faith, believing He is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do, no matter my circumstances? If we are willing to KNOW God by spending time in his Word, being aware of his presence with us, and watching for the evidence of his working in our life, we will be in a better position to trust Him and take Him at his word.
I believe the God of the universe is big enough to handle every life circumstance I face. So my life circumstances are not the issue; the issue will always be am I prepared to accept His response with an attitude of faith and hope, believing He knows best and that He will always be there for me?
My time spent in prayer is preparation to help me see God in the midst of all the “what if’s” I face in my life.
I encourage you to watch for the evidence of His presence in your life, anticipate that He is working on your behalf, and you will begin to truly know Him and have great conversations with Him.
Written by Diane Stermer