“Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” – 1 John 5:14-15
It is no secret to my closest friends and family that I have struggled with how to pray recently. Praying is something that used to come so easily to me and lately it feels forced and impersonal. I am fearful of asking for the wrong things, disjointed in my organization, and it never fails that once I say, “Dear God…” my mind goes blank and listless and I start talking in circles and end up frustrated and poor in spirit. I resolved a few months ago to start a prayer journal because I am always able to make sense of my thoughts when I write things down. I wrote in this journal exactly one time. Obviously my dedication and follow-through could use some improvement. I really do believe that prayer is powerful and that it is the way to deepen our relationship with God… but I find myself forgetting to do it. I joked with a friend the other day that I needed to put a sign above my bed reminding myself first thing every morning. I feel like I’m at a loss for words right now, but I also feel like that’s okay.
I was having coffee with one of my best friends a few weeks ago and I told her about this same struggle. I go to church on Sunday, and I feel wonderful after the service. I feel joyful and fulfilled and peaceful and purposeful… I may come home afterwards and share what I have learned with a few people but then I go about my daily routine and before I know it I feel empty and grouchy and frustrated. I cannot for the life of me figure out why I feel so… yucky until Thursday night rolls around and I grudgingly sit down with a cup of coffee for our weekly Bible study. I usually make it through the first part of the lesson before my attitude changes and my mind starts grasping for every little thing that is said. After Bible study I have that Sunday morning feeling again and it clicks in my brain that DUH… that is what is missing. And of course I tell myself that I will remember the next time I start to feel grumpy that it’s because I’m not looking to the right things again; that I have become complacent in my relationship with God… and THAT is why I feel yucky. And I most-often let that grumpiness win out and forget that I have the tools I need to fix it… maybe I DO need to work on making that sign to remind myself…
When I do feel overwhelmed and listless when praying I start out by asking that God’s will be done in my life. Even if I don’t get much further than that, I feel like that does some good. It’s not that I think if I didn’t ask that God’s will be done in my life that it wouldn’t, it’s just that I think it honors God to acknowledge that He knows much better than I do what is good for me. Maybe even more so because I do have this self-admitted need to “control” my life. Ha!
I ran across a book that someone I worked with a long time ago gave me called “God Always has a Plan B” and there was a quote that struck me tonight as I was reading through it:
“Trust that whatever action God is taking—or not taking—in your life right now is for your highest good. God knows what He’s doing.” – Marilyn Meberg
I’m going through a really strange season in my life right now and this quote spoke to my heart. On the surface my life looks absolutely nothing like I wanted it to at almost 29 years old. I have no career, no home of my own, no husband, no children, no idea what I’m going to do one day from now, much less 10 years from now. The funny thing is though I’m the most comfortable with my “station” in life than I have been as long as I can remember. I know that the difference is that I’m not worrying about it anymore because God’s promises to me are sufficient. God’s timing has always been much better than mine, and I’m 100% sure He has better things in store for me than I could even imagine on my own. So I will continue to ask that His will be done in my life in His perfect time.
I came upon a passage tonight that I think I’m going to put somewhere handy to remind myself what to do when I’m feeling lost and overwhelmed or just plain yucky.
The Straight Path
“My son, pay attention to my words;
Listen closely to my sayings.
Do not lose sight of them;
Keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to one’s whole body.
Guard your heart above all else,
For it is the source of life.
Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly,
And don’t let your lips talk deviously.
Let your eyes look forward;
Fix your gaze straight ahead.
Carefully consider the path for your feet,
And all your ways will be established.
Don’t turn to the right or to the left;
Keep your feet away from evil.”
I also could use a gentle reminder the next time I say to any of you that I’m feeling off that the reason is because I’ve forgotten yet again what I need to do to feel joyful and fulfilled. I can use all the accountability I can get these days. May God’s perfect will be a blessing in each and every one of your lives.