Prayer for me has taken a turn. Similarly to going through what I shared about song and worship, equal humbling and development is being unlocked through the process of prayer, shifting from being solely fixated on the prayer item, goal, or destination itself to also valuing the process.
I’m thankful for the contrast of experiences that can lead to newfound need, understanding, trust, and appreciation. Meaning, on one side of things, in terms of prayer, I’ve experienced going through the motions. Not praying at all. Doubted it was even doing anything. Struggled with the effort while not always seeing anything change. Left it to last resort or just during tough times. Walked away from it. Prioritized self. Expected only what I could make sense of or made time for it and believe in what could be accomplished as long as everything was agreeable to me. On the other side, I’ve received tons of fresh revelations and rewiring over time showing purpose and beauty to live anew that I will be sharing in this post. By no means is this a one-and-done arrived state; rather, it’s continuing to layer upon all that was before (or in a lot of ways not before). Prayer combined with other powerful nuggets such as resources, people, and time in the Bible gives more than we could imagine.
It builds up my relationship with God along the way. That primary relationship spills onto all other relationships. It’s one avenue to sit at his feet, like the children in the Bible, to learn from Him, get to know His heart, and let it change things in mine. As I make time for others, I need to make time for Him and us. As with an earthly love, it is a symbolic quest for relationship.
It receives me just where I am, whether on the mountain top or the valley. It helps me own what I need to own and facilitates in support, forgiveness, and restoration when I stumble and fail.
It cultivates God-reliance when it’s so easy to fall into self-reliance and, in return, gives me much more than I could give myself by myself. It’s to make me more like God and develop my identity in Him. The power comes not in the perfection, prettiness, or method of my praying, but who I am praying to and what He can and will do through it.
It grooms me to be still and listen. My inclination is to talk up a storm, but I also need to allow for His reciprocation through quietness and stillness.
It gives me just what I need for today, but also creates something over time. It invests in today as well as my future. I continue to realize that my future hinges upon lessons learned now. I often ask myself, “If I don’t learn this now when will I?”
It acquaints me with His voice and probing. I’ve been working through agreements I’ve made with lies, which was fueling struggles with anxiety. After a very challenging day, something snapped that evening resulting in me asking myself, “Why am I listening to something that is defeated?” If the enemy can move in and get me to listen and accept his strategic mixture of truth and lies, question my worth and identity and the things of God, he knows he can then affect the way I relate to God, live out my design and purpose, and relate to others. The enemy wants to diminish, dismantle, and destroy. I’m thankful for that struggle because it’s allowing me to distinguish between two voices – the voice of the enemy and the voice of God – and the implications of each. This is stretching me to address and unravel lies with the power of truth and promises and to see myself through God’s eyes.
It primes my heart and mind for situations like even a simple (yet important) phone call. My tendency is to go into it assumptively and entertain everything under the sun, but then I get to watch the power of prayer shift that to being open to its purpose and wanting to hear what I need to hear and say what I may need to say.
It moves me to action. I’ve sat too much on prayer waiting for it to do everything. One example is in relation to the struggle with doubt and fear. One circumstance involved me asking God to give me strength for something that I knew was necessary, but I wasn’t doing my part. Well, I was doing and choosing something and that was doubt and fear. I was holding on to them, trusting in them over God. It’s funny how God gives you experiences to work stuff out. He doesn’t drop off things like forgiveness, love, or hope nicely packaged on our doorstep, but gives us situations and people to work them through and apply them to. The only way I was going to learn to deal with doubt and fear was to move toward and through them by acting on what was hard. I had no guarantees on the other side other than the guarantee of taking God at His word and speaking it over my life: He is good. He has never failed me. He can be trusted. He has a plan for me. God came through in a very accelerated fashion and in fact gave me strength and more, but I had to act in conjunction with prayer. I don’t have to see and understand everything to act on something. That experience didn’t make everything perfect or erase everything, but it did establish incredible groundwork for trust in God and the process of prayer. It also worked out things in myself and created less fear and worry for my future. That needed to be cultivated regardless the circumstance because there will be plenty of circumstances ahead.
It checks my smallness in relation to who I have the privilege to talk to and the bigness of Jesus’ name. The creator of the universe who knows how many hairs are on my head and the wind and waves know and listen to the sound of His voice chooses and wants to relate to me. When it’s so easy to make it all about me, I’m humbled that His mercy and grace allows me access to Him in the first place. With everything that life throws at us, it reminds me where I was and could be without Him and without this. I often reduce Him to what I can make sense of, but He is more than capable to handle and do anything.
It channels things upward to help me better engage outward. That helps me with my control tendencies and tempers wanting to take on all that is not for me to take on. It releases what I can’t control, prioritizes what I can control, and positions me in a place with who has all things in His control.
It opens me up to receive and live out what’s needed along the way, knowing there’s a bigger picture and plan going on.
It transfers to others to give back authentically with encouragement and comfort, from where I’ve personally walked and experienced, drawing attention to and advancing the goodness of God.
It challenges me to get specific with my prayers, activating expectancy and hope working to override hesitancy and skepticism.
It builds up my faith – but not always without growing pains. There’s plenty a time I don’t feel like it, things don’t change on my timetable, unknowns are still swarming all around, but I am seeing (especially looking back) it’s a necessary discipline and the consistency pays off and creates a harvest over time.
It breaks through areas where I overthink or complicate in exchange for simplicity.
It shows there’s more than meets the eye. God sees further and more completely than I ever could. He can be trusted and knows what is needed. There are people, circumstances, and timing involved which all matters.
It teaches what can only sometimes be gleaned through a process versus solely through delivering an immediate answer, outcome, or result.
It encourages me to invite Jesus in all the details. I’ve become more attentive to those details when before I would gloss over them.
It gifts beautiful and sweet memories and miracles along the way.
It paves the way for preparation to be able to receive and enter into what’s ahead.
It offers the opportunity to apply past growth and remember all that God has done. Like the Israelites, I can forget what God has done and accomplished or I can remember and have hope. New situation but same Jesus.
It moves through other areas of life and prayers simultaneously. It’s neat to see one prayer spill over to other prayers, working through and strengthening other areas of my life at the same time.
I hope this encourages you in some way. Let’s trust the process and lean into God despite what we may be feeling, experiencing, or understanding at the moment.
What are you learning about prayer? I’d love to know and please share below! If I can pray for you, feel free to contact me whether through a social media platform or e-mail.
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