I think our enemy loves us to make prayer more complicated than simply talking to God.
When we make prayer complicated, we become paralyzed in our relationship with God. We quit talking to him. We quit seeing Him work. We start walking around focused on the temporal things of here and now. We loose hope.
But when we pray simple, heart-felt prayers…
Impossible situations become possible.
Here are a few of my impossible turned possible answered prayers:
- A marriage built on Christ’s solid foundation
- A baby’s heartbeat inside my belly
- A safe delivery minutes away from an emergency C Section with my second baby
- A daughter adopted from Africa
- A loved one consumed by alcoholism, now 10 years sober and loving Jesus since the last drop (when they tell their story, they credit their sobriety to my prayers:)
These are just a few “drop to your knees, beg God, and don’t shut up until he grants your request,” answered prayers. They are “run on the treadmill and yell as you rebuke satan’s attempts” prayers. They are “handwritten through tears on a page” prayers. They are “Why God!!!” prayers. “Can’t this be done already, God,” prayers. They are “pray out loud and I don’t care who’s watching or hearing” prayers.
But then, there are “tending” prayers; prayers that have to be planted, watered, and cultivated. These are the dreams stirring inside our hearts. The whisper callings, like the word “adoption” written on the bottom of my prayer list 6 or 7 years ago. It slowly crept up the list year after year, until finally, it was fifth on my list, just below myself, my husband, and our two bio kids. What if I hadn’t heard him whisper and written this dream down? What if I wouldn’t have prayed about it and just kept asking him, “If you want us to adopt one day, Lord, please keep pressing it on our hearts?”
Our life would look different. The biggest thing that would look different, though, would be our relationship with God.
We know God through intentional prayer.
I am telling you, I am more of a Jesus Hippie than I have ever been in my whole life, but one thing cannot be debated:
You have to be intentional about talking to a best friend you can’t see or hear.
Can we see him through his amazing creation? Yes! Can we hear him through his word? Yes! But you know what I mean: He isn’t sitting across the table from us in the flesh.
So, here’s a few ways I talk to God in prayer:
Prayer Journaling: I sit down with a notebook, a pen, a bible, and a full heart of concerns. I address God by one of his names in the word, Praise Him so I remember who I am releasing all my needs to–the one who actually thought me up and knit me together in my mother’s womb, and then, I pour out. I write pages, and pages until I can’t really think of anything I’m uncertain about anymore. Sometimes, if I can find my highlighter, I highlight the really important parts. Not for God, but for me, so I can open it back up and remember I already asked God to take care of it– it’s right there, highlighted and all. I close it out with a handwritten amen, and leave it at His feet. Then, when I need a good dose of faith, I look back through all my prayer journals and realize He’s currently working on something that is going to be an answered prayer someday. 🙂
Prayer List: When I start a new prayer journal, I write out a prayer list on the very last page. My husband and kids are always at the top. ( If you don’t commit to praying for them, who will?) And then my extended family, friends, our ministries, and any God-whispered dreams that might be in our future. At the bottom there is always room for me to add on more people who need prayer in the weeks and months to come. I try to pray for everyone on my list everyday. The great thing is, that once you look at it, and pray sequentially down the list a few times, you can remember your list even when it is not in front of you, like when you are on a run, or driving down the road, for instance, and you can pray then! I also find keeping my prayer list at the kitchen sink makes it handy to remember to pray for the people on it as I am preparing meals and cleaning up.
Praying Aloud: This is one of my favorite kinds of prayer. I love to pray aloud over my kids as I tuck them in at night. I also love meeting my friends to pray aloud over each other. But I also really like going in my closet and praying aloud to God, like he is there in the flesh. And if you think about your other relationships, how would they be doing if you never spoke aloud to them? Like, what if you texted your friends, emailed them, sent them letters, but never spoke to them? Never took time to speak, and then just listen? You probably wouldn’t have a very strong connection with that friend. It is the same with God. I just really think He wants to hear our voice. He loves to hear it, in fact. When he hears us speak to him, he is delighted and cannot wait to listen.
And with that, I must share my favorite, most life-changing verse on prayer:
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.
And since we know he hears us when we make our requests,
we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”
1 John 5:14-15
The hard thing is trusting him with the details of how he answers our prayers. We can be confident he is listening, and working things together for good, but we have to plow forward and keep praying when he doesn’t answer in our timeframe or in the way we ask him to. We have to trust that he is good, and that sometimes our prayers are answered for eternal good over temporal good. One day, in heaven, we will see in full, but on this side of forever, we have to walk in faith that he doesn’t withhold any good thing from his children (even though we think that thing would be really good right now!)
So friends, what’s your favorite way to pray?
What prayers has the Lord faithfully answered for you lately?
How can I pray for you?
Your brokenness is welcome here.
He is always there to listen.
At his feet with you,