This past Sunday at church, my pastor finished up his series on prayer. The takeaway from the message was “Why does all hell break loose when we try to enter into prayer? Because prayer is war, and the lack of prayer is nothing less than a declaration of independence from God.”
And it’s so true. When one prays, you get distracted a lot. Random stuff pops up in your head and you get distracted. You feel it can get boring. You get tired. You never seem to find the time to do it. Sometimes you just don’t want to do it at all. But prayer is how we connect with God.
There have been times in my life when I’ve felt God telling me that I need to pray with him. Not AT him. But with him. Because he wants to share that time with me. And usually he’ll make it so I’m basically forced to do it and there’s no way to get out of it. I’ve mentioned this before but my best prayer times usually happen when I’m driving in rush hour traffic. When you’re sitting there not moving, there are no distractions to keep you from talking to God.
Two years ago today, I started a prayer journal that I kept for a week based around a specific prayer. Now I’d been journaling on and off for a while but never had I kept a journal specifically for prayer. That week however I was going through a very emotional time that was causing me to question a lot of things. And there was much fear and confusion. I felt like God was pushing at me to come closer to him instead of withdrawing because of the uncertainty.
And then one morning on my commute to work, I prayed and I just talked to God and let it all out. People next to me probably thought I was crazy because it looked like I was talking to myself. I didn’t care. This is what I recorded later.
4/16 – Day 1 – Surrender
I’m really not sure why I am doing this but this idea came to me while praying so I have a feeling that God wants me to write down my thoughts, fears, hopes, etc. during this week. I have never really kept a prayer journal so I don’t know if I am doing the right thing but if God wants me to have a record of this then I am sure that I will end up saying the right things.
Right now I’m listening to “Your Love Never Fails”…which is one of my go to songs when I am feeling down but it’s a REALLY good song about trusting in God and knowing he never leaves you. “You make all things work together for my good” is the lyric that is now standing out to me the most. In that God is working everything together behind the scenes even though I have no idea what is going on.
And right now I have a lot of fears regarding this upcoming week. I have no idea what is going to happen. I cannot see how anything good can come out of this week.
I am surrendering everything regarding this situation over to you God. I am scared, terrified, afraid, worried but you know what? I trust you in all this. You know exactly what is going on, what will happen. You know my fears. You know everything that is going on in our hearts and minds right now as I type this. I cannot control anything. I have to turn it all over to you.
But as I was saying, I really think that God wants me to do this. It doesn’t seem possible, and I am severely doubting this, but I feel that God is telling me that if I can trust in him this week and give myself over to him then the outcome will be good. I don’t know exactly what that means but that’s how I feel. And yet at the same time, I am like, there is NO WAY anything good can come out of this week! so it’s this mass of conflictedness where I am trusting God completely with unknown results. and i am TERRIFIED!!!!!! but you know what? God is good. He has yet to fail me and i do not believe he is going to start now (or ever). so i am praying to surrender. give up this fear, doubt, uncertainty and turn it over completely to God.
my goal for this journal is to write about my prayers for the next 7 days. i need to be consistent in doing this. they don’t have to be long entries but do need to be honest and written from the heart. therefore when I look back on this in the future, no matter what the outcome is, i want to see how my faith grew. it’s almost like a challenge that I am taking God up on. i honestly believe that in one week, when i read this again things will be different. and for the better. This is the most I have ever done in my spiritual walk with God. And as scared and terrified as i am, I am also excited for the outcome.
Then over the course of the next few days, God and I had a lot of praying time over issues such as trust, blessings, clarity/wisdom, self worth, and fears. By spending each morning praying with him and having no distractions, I felt God really speaking to me and working in my life. I discovered scripture that I had never really noticed before that suddenly had an impact in my life. As a music lover, I found songs that matched the topic of each day perfectly. I thought I was going to spend the week praying for someone else. Instead I spent the entire week learning more about myself and my own relationship with God.
4/22 – Day 7 – Acceptance
Well here we are. The evening of the last day of this challenge. Wow it’s been quite the week. Seriously it’s been very interesting. It’s been totally a week where I have put God first and not anything else. It’s been crazy how different my entries have been since when I first started. Looking back, that first entry is filled with terror. I totally remember how I was feeling that day and before. I was scared to death. And now…I have to accept whatever comes my way.
Oh Lord, please help me right now. I need to trust in you. i can’t do this without you. I want to do this but I have to have faith in you. That you will guide me in the right direction and you know what is best for me. Even though I can’t see it now or in the future, you do. You are the everlasting God. You love me more than anything. Help me learn to trust in you completely. Help me learn to put what is important first.
I think it is time for me to go to bed. Whatever tomorrow brings, it is your will Lord. And I will accept it. Thank you for everything.
Two years later, I’m rereading over those entries and I see how God answered those prayers. And how that very night after I went to bed slightly scared and worried but still trusting in him, when I woke up the next morning God answered one of my prayers as if he was saying “See, you have nothing to be afraid of.” Ever since then, prayer isn’t difficult for me anymore. And while there will be always ups and downs, I will always have this physical record for me to look back and remember how God answered my prayers.