Pray Your Way
'Dear God, You know all I am ever going to say or do, even before I know- so why am I wasting my time and praying to you?'
Sometimes I get confused why we pray. God already knows all that is going to happen and my little prayer isn't really going to alter His plans over a couple of words that I mumble in my shower- so why should I waste my time?
Hear me out, I love talking. I love knowing I'm being heard and cared for. But God already has blessed me more than I could have ever believed and His idea of a blessing far exceeds mine, so why should I keep praying when He's going to bless me anyway?
My campus pastor talked about that recently. Prayer isn't for God- it's for us. We pray and petition to God so that blessings and instances may happen- and when they do, our faith grows. Imagine if we just left it up to the Universe and gave the credit to luck when anything good happened. I know I don't have enough faith in chance and I wouldn't want to pin all my hopes on something so wavering and unstable.
I talk a lot about how grateful I am to be on a campus where God's presence is overflowing and everywhere I go, even the visitors can see His fingerprints all over Liberty. But I take it for granted more often than not and honestly. I know God is all over here so my prayer life has dwindled. I have grown confident in the fact that my campus is covered in 24 hour prayer and I'll get prayed for before my classes. I've been treating prayer like a check point in a race instead of a conversation with my Father.
Now, no judgment- if we said we were all perfect in our spiritual lives, we'd all be liars. The whole point of Christianity is that it's okay to mess up because God has already pre paid our flaws. I still feel the call on my heart to constantly be searching for ways to pray and connect with God still, whether it be when I take a shower in the dark to completely distance myself from the world, before a date that I'm anxious about, or in my math class. My math class is actually the most prominent prayer space for me. I know, it sounds crazy- but let me explain.
I'm a theatre major and a creative writing minor. But yet I have to take math. No, it's not 'adding up' for me either. But in that soul-deadening class with the monotone voice of the teacher droning on about logarithms and sadness, I write my prayers down.
Usually in my small script I'll write about 1/3 of a page for general prayers, and then the other 2/3 are dedicated to people who I am thinking of or whose stories have been on my heart. Now, I'm not bragging, I'm actually ashamed. My prayers have been as much of a monologue as my teacher.
I am so concerned with being lost in this campus and unidentified that I just continue to present an inner monologue to God with out listening to Him.
David Nasser, Liberty's campus pastor, reminded us one night that prayer isn't about you, it's about y'all. Prayer is a conversation in a relationship. No couple would be happy if there was always just one person talking and the other just listening. Just like in every relationship, there needs to be a balance of dialogue between you and God.
So, I listened. Halfway through my prayer of "thanks for this, but I'm struggling. What do I do? I don't know what to do? Why don't I know what to do?" I realized that I wasn't stepping away from myself and listening to God's wisdom, I was just spouting on about how He wasn't talking over the noise I was making. God is a gentleman- He probably won't yell over you, but speak to you in a still, small voice. So I listened.
And now I'm writing the post that I've been praying for.
Your spiritual life is your own. You can grow and learn from others, but you cannot rely on them to mature your relationship. Your relationship with God is an exclusive one, and much like with other intimate relationships, bringing others into that relationship only muddies and lessens the connection of the original and faithful love.
I've been relying on my campus, my friends, and my 'faith' to do the praying for me. But what's the use of thinking about it if you never take action?
A month ago a handsome boy asked me out for coffee out of the blue. He didn't know me and I didn't know him. But he took a leap of faith and accepted that if he never asked, we would never talk. That boy is now my boyfriend. If you never talk to God, how will you ever truly know Him?
Talking to your Heavenly Father will only grow your faith and relationship with Him. You will grow in knowledge and peace from the Holy Spirit. There is literally no downside to prayer- so why is it so hard?
We must learn that throughout the day, things will come up. We will lose heart, we will stumble, we will curse and cry, but with every relationship, we must make time to enter into the Father's presence.
A stark difference in the relationship we have with God and the relationship we have with actual people is that God never leaves our sides. While that is comforting, it sometimes numbs our awareness to the need of communication with the Father. God made us with urgency for contact with Him. But if we know He's always with us, why do we still need to constantly communicate with Him? If you have a cup of water, but never drink from it- you will still get thirsty. The presence of an aid doesn't diminish the need, it just allows for recovery.
God is always with us, so why are we not always with Him? It's a sacrifice, but time in His presence cannot compare to any Earthly joy. God's relationship with us needs to take full priority over everything in our lives. We are made to crave His presence and yearn for His word.
Praying to the God who has already won the battle can't do you any harm, but only prepare you in grace and love for all the turmoil of this world.
One final thought: God answers all your prayer in three ways- 'yes', 'not yet', and 'I have something better'. You cannot lose when you surrender your time to the Savior of the Universe.