Friday, November 8, 2013

Falling In the Deep

Prayer is a topic I typically avoid for many reasons.  Whenever it comes up in any way shape or form I tend to do an internal eye roll- I just can't help myself.  I don't mean any disrespect to God, it really is all me.  First of all I find prayer to fall into the same category as reading the Bible: things I know I need to do but that I find kind of boring/hard to focus on.  And second, sometimes I see prayer as a small thing.

Let me break this down before you go accusing me of being perhaps the worst Christian in the world.  I love Jesus, I really do.  And I do pray and read my Bible, although I could do way better.  I am a very fidgety person and I get bored easily.  So the idea of sitting or kneeling and talking to someone who, let's be honest, is not literally talking back is kind of a hard task in and of itself.  Add in an extremely distractible person and it just is not an easy thing to do.

As far as it being a small thing- what can I say, it's been quite a week.  A hard, painful week.  And it has nothing to do with me.  Quite frankly I am just tired of this world sometimes. Tired of seeing people I love in pain and suffering.  Tired of being helpless in the face of so many injustices and so much sadness.  Tired of my endless tears not being enough.  And it is in my nature to act and to do whatever my hands can find to do.  If I see pain or sadness I want to do whatever I can to help.  I see prayer as something so small and quite frankly not enough.  I don't want to get down on my knees- I want to get in my car and rush to help.  I want to get on the phone.  I want to put my hands in someone else's hands and make it all better.

But I couldn't do it.  My hands are not enough and my words and actions all put together are just never enough to take it all away.  So I prayed.  I didn't want to- I wanted to do MORE.  I did not feel like prayer was enough to help all the hurt.  I just felt so weak sitting there talking to God.  Could this really be all that I can be doing to help this world?  There just has to be more.

But the more I wrestle in prayer and the more I wrestle in reality the more glaring the differences between the two become.  When I put my hands on things, even with the best of intentions, the more chance there is for my own self to get in the way.  My own feelings, emotions, selfishness, confusion, mistakes- all of it.  And suddenly I just seem to get smaller.  I mean well, and sure there are things I can do to empathize and help others when they need me, but the truth is that when I pray several things happen.  The main thing that happens is that I go away.  All of my selfishness goes away and it becomes solely about the people I am praying for.  And second, when I pray- God get's involved.

I realize some- if not all of you- are probably rolling your eyes at me right now because this is kind of obvious but for me, I needed to be reminded.  I was so overwhelmed and overcome with the need to DO something that I jumped in and put my hands where they just could not be.  I saw prayer as a second rate choice to my own abilities to take action and only when I nearly drove myself crazy with grief did I finally take it to God.

And then I realized just how small I am.  And just how big prayer really is.

I disappeared in prayer.  And God appeared.  And He heard my pleas and my cries.  He corrected my thinking, reset my thoughts, and reminded me that He loves even more than I do.  So all the grief that I carry and all the pain that I feel and this burning desire that I feel to FIX all the hurts in this world- He feels it so much more than I do.  He LOVES so much more than I do.  He was willing to DO so much more than I ever was willing to do.

And to think I ever see prayer as a small, second rate choice.

I needed to talk about my week today.  It was that hard.  But more than anything my week was about prayer because I lost sight of it's importance.  I let my head get confused and cluttered because I did not go to God.  So I could talk about prayer and how important it is and how you should do it every day.  I could use my fancy Bible Degree and teach on what the Bible says about prayer and when the best time to pray is.  But that was not what I learned this week.  What I learned is what prayer IS.

Prayer brings down the heavens and opens the floodgates in ways we can never see or comprehend on this side of life.  It touches man to God Himself and has the capacity to altar the very plans of God if you press in hard enough.  It gives man access to the ear of the Almighty and grants him the privilege of asking anything of Him.  It is not for the faint of heart but for those who have the courage to stand before the sacrificial Lamb and plead on behalf of another.  For those who would take on the burdens of someone they love and bring them to God and beg for His mercy and grace upon their lives.  For those who would risk bearing their hearts before their Maker and dare to believe that if they ask in faith then they will see it happen.

The truth is I fear prayer more than anything else.  I know the difference between a getting on my knees and giving a half-hearted, ease my conscience prayer and a getting on my face and letting God in my soul prayer.  And that last one scares me.  I know what it means.  It means trusting Him with the things and the people that are most precious to me.

But what better hands to place my heart in then those bloody, nail scarred hands.  I think prayer is like falling into the very depths of God- and there is NO safer place to be.  No place more trustworthy, more productive than that.

I will do what I can- but in all other matters and in all other things I must learn the most valuable lesson of taking it to God in prayer.

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