Lord, Teach Us

How interesting (to me)! During staff meeting at work today, I talked about this almost verbatim. I had totally forgotten I had typed this up back in July until I was going through some things this evening that I had previously written in FocusWriter (the place where I like to type out my thoughts and potential blog posts) and here was this. What makes it even more interesting is that this was the last thing I had written there, so I had not even been in that app for almost 3 months. Which tells you how long it’s been since I’ve written anything besides a Facebook post. I really need to do something about that.

But it’s still crazy interesting!

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July 28, 2017

Prayer

I am feeling the draw to begin praying more earnestly for others. I spent so many years barely getting prayers out for myself and living in such a deep depression that I couldn’t see my way out. My prayers were sent up for self-preservation purposes only. I didn’t want it to be that way, but it was. For years before those dark days, I had considered myself having deep roots. I found out they were much more shallow than I had ever realized. I cried out to God over and over to deliver us from our difficulties. I did not use flowery words and there was no lilt to my voice. I didn’t stand prideful on a street corner, but curled up in my recliner wishing the anxiety would just give me a break.

Those were the days, my friend. I thought they’d never end.

God has brought me out a ways now from those days. I still struggle with anxiety at times, but it is no longer 24-7. I can feel the unsettling in my soul at times, but it is not paralyzing as it once was.

I am laughing again. For real.

So when I say I am feeling drawn to begin praying for others, it is with a grateful, humble heart because for a few years, I honestly believed I would never be out from under the heavy weight of fear and selfish prayers.

So as I am beginning this new endeavor (and it is not lost on me that I am 57 years old and how sad is it that even though I have been thinking about this for a while I am just getting started in earnest, hopefully, to do it), the heavily-logical side of my brain, per usual, wants a plan. None of this going with the flow business. That never works for me. It leaves me lost in an ocean filled with many words and nothing connecting them to make sense. I get overwhelmed and therefore do nothing.

So I am making a plan. Because I can’t function well without one.

As I’ve thought about prayers, and how to pray, I have gotten so confused over the years. As much as I love words, prayer words are always hard for me. “God, help” had been my go-to prayer for so long. I love that prayer. It says so much in just two simple words. As a woman of few words, it speaks volumes to me.

I’ve also contemplated The Lord’s Prayer more than ever over the past few years. I have been blessed for the past year to work in a Methodist church office where The Lord’s Prayer is recited quite often. I have not ever been a part of a denomination that recited that prayer that often and I am enjoying it. The words “Give us this day our daily bread” have wonderful meaning for me.

I’ve also started reading a book of prayers by Charles H. Spurgeon. I love reading his prayers and his words, unlike mine, are many and beautiful. I am blessed by his thought-filled prayers and pray them along with him while I am reading them.

And just this week, I have started typing out prayers. Writing comes much more naturally to me than speaking. A few years ago I went to a monthly mom’s meeting where we began each night listening to worship music and writing in a journal. It was God’s perfect timing for me as I was going through the darkness of my depression during those days and my journaling was simply writing prayers, as quickly as they flowed through my fingers and pen, into my journal. It was a beautiful God-blessed time for me and I still have that journal and have read through it a few times over the years. I have been able to see from a distance now the depths that God brought me out of and it is such a glorious grace to have those prayers in my journal.

My most frequent prayers these days are to simply give thanks. In the good times and difficult times, there are always some things to be thankful for. Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, was also a God-send to me in more recent years as I was in a place to humbly thank God for the years of drought. They taught me so much. To be able now to thank God, not only for bringing me out from those days, but also for walking with me through them, is a blessing I cannot describe.

Our pastor is teaching us the beauty of liturgical prayers.

And the lightbulb that has gone off in my head this week as I’ve prayed for so many needs in the lives of so many friends is simply, “Conform them into the likeness of Your Son and may Your name be glorified.” I can think of no others words that need to be said.

From “God, help” to “Conform them into the likeness of Your Son and may Your name be glorified” makes me realize how far I have come. Neither prayer is wrong. Both are needful in different times.

God, use me in Your service as I pray for others. And thank You for bringing me to a place where I can see beyond myself.

 

God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.

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