“Momma!” Pulled from the spell of sleep, I cracked open an eyelid and spied my daughter looming over my pillow.
“What is it, sweetheart?” My words slurred, and my eyes slid closed again as I reached out to touch her shoulder.
“I’m scared of the storm,” she whispered.
“It’s raining?” I strained to hear above the din of my husband’s steady breathing and a whirring fan beside our bed. Sure enough, raindrops beat against the roof in their gentle hi-hat rhythm. Then a bolt of lightning cracked, and thunder shook the house. “Ok, come on up.”
My daughter hoisted herself over the side of the mattress and climbed across my torso to snuggle in the warm spot between her Daddy and me. Her safe place.
Where do you go when you’re scared?
“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1).
Sometimes I wish God’s wings were tangible curtains or a bedspread I could physically hide beneath. But we can’t see him, we can’t touch him, most of us can’t audibly hear him, and that’s kind of a hang-up for human beings like you and me who tend to rely on our five senses.
When you pray, do you ever feel like you’re talking to the air, or having a conversation with yourself in your head? I admit, sometimes I do.
Or in those early morning attempts to be still before the Lord, when I force myself awake in a race against my kids for quiet time, sometimes my chin bobs to my neck and my prayers drift off to dreamland. Suddenly a heartfelt plea to cure a friend from illness morphs into an odd dialog between my late grandmother and a talking bicycle.
Seriously! Has that ever happened to you? Why is it so easy to lose sight of the fact that an all-knowing, ever-present, living God is really, actually, actively listening to our prayers—and able to move mountains on our behalf?
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
When life freaks us out, trips us up, or beats us down, we have two choices: panic or pray. Rely on ourselves or on God. Which one do you think is more dependable?
I’m really good at the panic option. But just like my daughter reached for me in the storm, I’m learning to reach for God instead. And he will let me climb under his covers and deliver me, one way or another.
How do I know?
Because he says so.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
And I either believe him or I don’t.
Which will you choose?
My spiritual growth focus this year is on prayer. I suspect there’s a deeper connection to God that I’m missing out on, which I believe can be cultivated with a better understanding and practice of prayer. At its core, prayer is simply communication with God, that direct line to the Father that we’re promised through Christ. It’s a gift all believers are given. We ought to learn to use it to its full capacity.
As part of my study plan, I’m reading Tim Keller’s book, Prayer, and meeting regularly with an accountability partner to discuss the chapters. And—I’m excited to tell you about my friend Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s new book, Praying Upside Down: A Creative Prayer Experience to Transform Your Time With God. It just released last Friday to a five-star rating on Amazon. Kelly will be joining us here for a guest post later this week, and we’ll be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky (blessed) winner! Stop by on Wednesday to hear all about it.
So the moral of today’s story is, when you pray, remember who’s listening. He is the One who created you and knows you better than you know yourself. He’s the same God who formed the rivers and canyons, and thought up dinosaurs and blood cells and those weird sea creatures in the Great Barrier Reef. He showers trillions of one-of-a-kind snowflakes every winter and grows back every blade of grass in spring. Just think of what our God can do! It’s mind-blowing, really.
And you know what that means? Your prayers are not too hard for him. First step—is to believe it.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
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