Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13
I say it, think it, feel it and pray about it so much and you will probably hear me say it quite a few times, but I am amazed at how Christ lived his life, despite his “fiery ordeals!”
Lately I have been focusing my prayers on myself for the most part. Usually I try to put the focus of my daily prayers on the needs and wants of other people. I feel like praying for myself just creates a chaos in my head and an unending cycle of hearing the same thing replay over and over. Most of the time it’s “what do you want me to do Lord? What is it you are trying to teach me? I don’t understand.” So I’ve been praying for wisdom. I’ve even prayed that he would just go ahead and hit me with everything he has planned for the future so I could get it over with in one swift blow. (I’m glad he knew better than to do that, because that definitely was not me using wisdom. Guess I was feeling pretty macho that day.)
The other day I met a woman who I instantly took a liking to. We talked for hours about so many different things and it felt so good to talk to another woman who understood me in a way that I had yet been able to find and who was accepting of me and who I was and am. One of the things that we talked about was prayer. I had told her that I was still relatively “new” to personal prayer and still didn’t feel like I had much confidence in it, even though I pray quite a bit most days. The game changer that she mentioned that she had learned, was praying out loud. See, the vast majority of my prayers are said silently, in my head. They’re more like extensive, focused thoughts being telepathically conveyed to God.
Even though silent prayer is still good and still helps, I always feel like I get so trapped inside myself when I do it. That the emotions that are attached to my prayers just start whirling around and I lose focus or it becomes so intense that I can’t go on…I just end in a bawling heap on the floor. When she mentioned that had done the same thing for many years but then made the decision to start praying out loud to God, it changed everything for her.
So I made the decision to do it today. That every prayer I said would be said aloud. I have to admit, the first prayer/conversation I had with God today came out a bit louder than I expected it to. I almost felt bad because I’m sure he was looking at me, thinking, “Why are you yelling at me?” It wasn’t out of anger, it was just the heart behind it was SO strong and so intense that I spoke boldly. I spoke confidently and I spoke like I would have if I were talking to my parent about something that was deeply troubling me. It was so freeing!
The other prayers were less loud…mostly because I didn’t want to wake the sleeping baby or be overheard by anyone. I don’t get much time completely to myself without someone walking in or being in the same room. Remember….mom of 5….I never go to the bathroom alone much less go anywhere else in the house without company.
The neatest thing about prayer, to me, is that when I pray I almost always get some sort of answer as the result of it. Whether it’s a quieted heart, a sense of peace, an answer (Br. Keith, I hear the voices too.) or an unexpected phone call/text from someone who God had placed on their hearts that I needed to hear from them. I am always given something as a result of my prayers. God is indeed faithful and ever present!
Today, the answer didn’t come as quickly as it normally does. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t focused inwardly as much as I am when I pray silently. Perhaps, because I wasn’t internalizing my prayers, I was being turned externally. I was placing myself outside of myself, outside of the quiet little bubble I create when I simply “think” my prayers. I think that is why I didn’t hear or feel an answer right away, because as the day went on I was gradually seeing and hearing the answer he was trying to give me. Like it was just an on-going conversation. Not one that is restricted to a short allotted time when my thoughts are focused on him and then I switch my brain to “every day mode” again.
When I’m silent in my prayers I typically become quite emotional, and let’s face it, you can’t really say much to someone who is busy crying. All you can really do is embrace them, lay a loving hand on their shoulder or just give a kind word or two of comfort. I see it all the time when my kid is crying about something that has upset him/her but I can’t talk with them until they stop crying. By the time they stop, though, the moment’s gone and I’m just ready to finally move on to something else or they were finally distracted by something that seemed more important.
The answer I got was exactly what I had only felt before. He showed me many times today that I am being thrown into my “fiery ordeal” because of one thing that he has been calling me to do for many years. That I simply can not break free of the chains that I feel bound by right now, until I simply live as Christ did. Like so many other people we see in the bible who have been blessed by God. I need to live in Faith. To trust and to turn to God as a child depends on their parents for their every need. To treat Him as more than just a thought or a secret. He’s real. He’s here. Treat your relationship with Him as such and He will guide in so many more ways.Tags: blessings, Depend on, faith, Father, Prayer, Talking
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