Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
I’m not sure when it happened really, the changing of the priority of prayer from last resort to most important thing. Of prayers being whispered throughout the day – rarely with formal beginning or ending. And of prayers written in journals like personal notes to the Lord – unfiltered, unedited prayers.
Prayers for healing, for families to be created and sustained and protected, for jobs, for finances, for relationships, for attitudes to elevate, for hearts to change. Prayers for evil to be crushed and love to be embraced. Prayers for peace and rest and calm and breath. Prayers of desperation and thanksgiving and complete and utter awe. Words upon words – and one-word pleas.
And with every prayer, there has been a response. Some responses feel like answers or partial answers. And some responses don’t feel like anything at all.
Give us the gladness of heart that knows that all our prayers have been for Your glory. ~MacArthur
Every prayer is a wish with holy wings, we like little children blowing dandelions into a divine wind. We picture what will happen when the seeds of our prayers fall on soil and take root. We imagine the story of the answer. But I’ve come to learn the responses rarely look like the story I’ve imagined. I have such little vision to see what’s on the other side of that wish. And when God responds, in whatever way He chooses to respond, I see a fuller view of my prayer in light of eternity. Even the prayers most perfectly answered reveal new frailties.
So prayer begets prayer. And maybe this is what prayer’s purpose is. Maybe the true answer to every prayer isn’t the answer itself but the driving us to our knees to pray even more. Our good God knows every seed of our wishes that blow in that divine breeze. He sees it all, knows it all, knows what we need and desire, knows what will bring us joy and what will give us moments of outlandish happiness. He responds, and we discover in His response our desperate need for more of Him.
“Prayer is the center of the Christian life. It is the only necessary thing.
It is living with God in the here and now.” Henri Nouwen
It’s time for a Sabbath– albeit a short one. Two weeks is a “blink and its over” season. But for 14 days, I’m going to fast from social media. OK, I’ll be totally honest here – I’ll be fasting from Facebook and Twitter. I might still post a photo or two on Instagram as part of the ReFrame Collective with StorySessions (should something catch my eye in a unique way). And here’s the prayer written in today’s journal – a prayer that will most certainly receive a response from the Lord and more prayers from me.
Lord, I am both excited and terrified to let go for a while of the thing that has brought me such a sense of community for so long. To fast from social media and invest more time in prayers that seems to answer themselves by needing more prayer, to lay down the pen if needed, to focus on reading and listening and simply being – I hunger for those things but am terrified by them. I’ve written posts about the false positive and the need for quiet. And my own words now convict me.
And the more I know me, the more I know I need You to help me walk through this. Because I am so vulnerable. I get so easily distracted. And there are two lies already being screamed by the enemy – that I’ll be forgotten, or that no one will even notice I’m gone.
And that is the part that needs to be eradicated. Because that’s the part that redirects my attention, keeps me from seeking You first. Community is good in all its forms. But it is unhealthy if it becomes an addiction. I don’t want this to be an addiction. And it could so easily be.
Fourteen days. Yielded. Because of and for You. Amen.