I’ve been a Christian for many years and a lot has happened in my life over those years. In fact, the only thing that has been consistent in my life is inconsistency and change. I’ve gotten to experience the profound moment of life entering the world as I welcomed each of my babies on their birthdays. Unfortunately, I’ve also had the profound experience of watching someone I loved dearly pass from this world onto the next.
God gives and God takes away.
I want to let you in on a little secret. The longer I’ve walked through this life, the more aware I have become of my deep, growing need to be connected to Jesus.
And here’s how that deep, growing need started…
One very dark and lonely night several years ago, I was curled up in my bed with tears streaming down my face. I felt totally numb inside. My babies were sleeping in the room next to me, and I had many things that were going right in my life. However, one major thing was going wrong. I was alone. That was all I could see. Miles and miles of loneliness. Behind me and in front of me.
I wondered how I would ever be able to move forward again.
At that moment, I remembered something I had seen a few days earlier. It was a quote by author Ann Voskamp. I whispered her words as I choked back my tears:
“Be a prayer warrior, not a panicked worrier.”
One of my favorite Scripture verses has always been 1 Thessalonians 5:16–17:
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing.”
But how, Lord? How could I possibly rejoice now?
How could I even utter prayers?
Trying to pray in the midst of so much chaos seemed impossible. Even though, as a single mom, I desperately needed God’s help, I found myself praying less, not more. It seemed something else always was more important or critical.
Yet, the only thing stopping me from praying was me.
That dark, lonely night, something changed for me. I realized I needed to have some hard stops every day for a few minutes of prayer. I had to make prayer a goal. Not because it was going to magically solve all my problems, but because it put me in a place where I could be humble before God and confess my need for Him. The fact is, I am weak. I can’t do this single mom thing on my own. I need God. All. The. Time.
I heard a story about a concert violinist who was asked how she became so skilled. She said it was “planned neglect.” She explained that she planned to neglect everything that was not related to her goal. Her goal came before everything else, even things that seemed big and important.
My kids and their needs seem really big and important. They are. I can’t neglect them, but I can set some boundaries and show them that God should be a priority in my life and in theirs.
The household chores, my job, the bills, birthday parties, holiday decorating, cooking…you name it…all those things constantly feel like they are the most important things in the world. They aren’t though.
I had to plan to neglect some things that were screaming for my attention, so I could make prayer matter most.
My circumstances really didn’t change once I made prayer the main focus of my life, but something big did change. My attitude. My heart. My outlook.
Prayer gave me hope again.
Praying through the promises of God and believing Him to be true to his word? That concept changed how I felt when I burned our dinner or the kids were fighting or I just needed a break. When I started using God’s word to pray and believed in my heart that He would do what He said He would do, I experienced a joy I had never felt in my life. So much joy!
Like a man in the desert yearning for water, prayer became something I craved. It was like drinking from the wellspring of life.
Prayer is asking God to incarnate, to get dirty in your life. Yes, the eternal God scrubs floors. For sure we know he washes feet. So take Jesus at his word. Ask him. Tell him what you want. Get dirty. Write out your prayer requests; don’t mindlessly drift through life on the American narcotic of busyness. If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don’t let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day.
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
Maybe This is You…
Maybe you feel like you’ve tried praying and it didn’t work for you. I would encourage you to keep on trying.
Maybe you have never considered how much your life could change through prayer. It can. Just start talking to God. There is no right or wrong way to pray. It’s simply a conversation.
Maybe you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. You can. Right now. The Shepherd’s Village family is here for you. Visit our “Need Prayer?” page on our website and someone will contact you to walk you through the prayer of salvation.
Just realize–no matter how dark and lonely you may feel and no matter how many tears you have cried–YOU are not alone.