i think a lot about prayer.
about how i can become better at it. about how i pray, and how i don't.
i remember being fourteen or fifteen years old, with a group of my girlfriends and a mentor, praying like i never had up until that point in my life. we were at a youth conference and i was so convicted. i prayed aloud and in my head. i prayed over and over again for salvation for my loved ones. i prayed harder and with more heart than ever before. i could feel my insides turning over and aching for His presence.
a few years later i remember pulling my car into a parking lot, leaning my head onto the steering wheel and crying out to God. looking back on it now, i was a just another heartbroken teenage girl, but right then, in that moment, i prayed and spoke with such real and raw emotion. and i felt Him so close. i had been hurt by a boy. i prayed that the Lord would take him away from me. i knew i needed the Lord to take Him out of my life for me to stop wanting to have him be a part of it. i prayed this and cried out to my God, with tears rolling down my face. LORD, TAKE HIM OUT OF MY LIFE. PLEASE LORD. over and over and over again. He answered my prayers.
about two years ago, one of my best friends lost her baby at almost 15 weeks gestation. this was the third baby she lost that year. this wrecked me. why God? why her? why someone who loves you and serves you, who's family has given their lives for sharing the gospel? i prayed, and cried, for weeks.
and not so long ago caleb and i's hearts were aching to grow our own family again. we prayed for Him to have control over my womb and we prayed that He would open doors for us and steer us in the right direction when it came to adoption. we felt Him so strongly saying MOVE. He opened the doors and we both felt His presence so strong during those exciting and anxious weeks of signing up for our classes, scheduling our home study, and making that first hefty payment. and then we found out we were pregnant with story. and we found out that He has got quite the sense of humor. i thanked Him over and over for the unexpected blessing of her precious life. and prayed over and over again for that baby to be. and still do.
those are some prayers moments in my life that i will always remember. moments that stick out to me of feeling a such a fierce prayer connection to my Savior. but, prayer isn't always like that for me. i don't always have a real, raw, emotional connection with God through prayer. it's something i'm convicted about but also something i learning to redefine in my mind.
my friend, candis, tweeted this a couple weeks ago:
prayer is simply open communication God. chances are you are doing it right now.
i loved her for saying that. it was when i needed it the most.
because i sometimes forget this. even though it seems silly… a girl who has known God for so many years should know this. but, i often focus on what i feel like i am doing wrong in my prayer life, when i am really talking to Him all day long.
a lot of my prayers sound like this:
story is screaming and won't sleep:
"please Lord, please Lord, please Lord let her sleep."
get a phone call from a friend with a heavy heart.
"Please be with her right now God. she needs you."
the boys are attacking each other:
"please, just help them get along … for five minutes even. anything!"
caleb gets home early from work:
"thank you SO much Lord!"
those little words are spoken, or thought, and then, in that very same moment, i am hit upside the head with a ball, or swiffering up the spilled apple juice, or just trying to keep my eyes open. and when i hit the bed at the end of the day, with very good intentions of spending some time in prayer, i speak a couple sentences and my mind drifts off to either a) what color i should spray paint those wall letters (just being honest) or b) i just fall asleep right then and there.
truth be told i get distracted easily. my mind wanders a lot. my bits and pieces of please and thank yous to God all day long are real, and i do feel a true constant communication with Jesus. but there are things i am trying to discipline myself on in my prayer life that are make me feel closer and more connected with Him.
praying together with my husband. we don't do this enough but we are working on it. when we do it is so sweet. just the other night we spent some time together in prayer over some struggles brody is having with fears and we just laid it all out there before God. together. and it was a holy moment before our God, as parents, as husband and wife, longing for comfort from our Savior for our little boy. when i pray aloud, and together with my husband, i don't struggle with finding words, and i don't struggle with a wandering mind.
praying with my kids and teaching them about prayer. the teaching is mostly with brody right now since foster is only two. i hear myself reminding him that praying is just talking to God and that He wants to hear from us, about anything and everything we want to share… but, i am really reminding myself of this.
writing down my prayers. this is huge for me. for some reason when i write down my prayers - blessings that i am counting and feeling so full of, or prayer requests and things that are weighing heavy on my heart, i can write and write and write. i write with emotion and feel so connected to God, and though i am not sitting there and "praying", i am sitting there and praying.
i share these to remind myself to keep on pursuing a stronger prayer life, and so you all can hold me accountable. i share it to encourage any of you who struggle in this area like i do. and as a reminder to all of us that He loves to hear from us. that He loves to hear the little things and the big things. that He is there, longing for us to go to Him, if we can just take the time to do so.