For me, prayer is a conversation. A written conversation, mostly.
As I explained here, I get distracted easily, and the only thing that really keeps me focused when I’m praying is typing out my words.
I’ve been journaling my prayers for so long that it seems almost second nature to me. But I can see how it might be a little constricting—maybe even intimidating—for someone who is not used to doing it.
Of course, when it comes to prayer, sometimes the issue’s not the format. Maybe it’s the fact that—for whatever reason—God seems distant, aloof or uninterested in our lives. Maybe we feel awkward talking to someone we can’t see. Maybe we can’t think of anything to say.
Maybe we trusted Him as hard as we could for some really big thing, and the outcome left us hurt, angry or disappointed.
I don’t think giving God the silent treatment is the answer, though.
What are we afraid of, anyway? That He might hear us and do something we don’t like? That He might hear us and do nothing?
He will not do nothing—of that, I am sure. We may not see it now, but He is always working.
But don’t look to me and my theories and ideas to bolster your faith. (Trust me—that won’t get you very far.) Don’t put your hope in myriad authors, pastors, bloggers and speakers who are trying to equip you or encourage you or help you feel like you’re not alone (as beneficial as they often are).
Take it up with the Creator of the Universe and the Maker of your Soul.
Talk to Him—openly, honestly, without worrying about format or syntax.
Ask Him to open your eyes to the way He has been working in your life—all along, even in those most painful moments when you think He couldn’t possibly have been there.
He was there, after all. Whether you want to acknowledge it, or not. Whether you are emotionally able to acknowledge it, or not.
He was there, and He was loving you.
He still is, in fact. And He won’t ever stop.
Here’s the thing.
We wonder why life is hard, why we’ve been so afflicted, why we struggle so mightily with things that others often can’t understand. Why won’t God just fix it? What’s the use is trying to live the Christian life when we just seem to get more of the same?
Perhaps what we should wonder, instead, is where would we be had the hand of God NOT been on our lives. What have the prayers that others have lifted on our behalf—even in generations past—kept from us? What have they kept US from? Where would we be if Jesus Christ were not, at this very moment, interceding on our behalf at the right hand of the Father?
It’s easy to look back and point fingers and wonder where God was. But maybe, as we look back, it would be better if we tried to give thanks for all that we have surely been spared—not to minimize our past trials or diminish our current pain, but to build our faith in the One who is guiding our future.
P.S. Linking up this week with Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith, Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, Lyli Dunbar at #ThoughtProvokingThursday, Crystal Twaddell at #FreshMarketFriday and Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth.