This morning I woke up earlier than necessary, and obeyed the nudge to take a long walk and talk to God about a lot of my friends who were on my mind. Last night on the phone, I told one of them that I don’t understand how it works or helps, but I WILL pray for her.
God and I have this frequent discussion and we had it again this morning. It goes something like this:
Me: I don’t understand why talking to You about these people changes anything. Do You just beam them a shot of courage or strength or hope or inspiration or whatever it is that they need, when I ask You?
Him: I’m not telling you what I do or what I give them or how I answer. I’m just asking that you talk to Me.
Me: Sometimes when I’m feeling unsettled, peace comes to me in gentle ripples and washes over me. Is that because someone was praying for me?
Me: And when I ask You for things on my behalf or others’, You never make me feel guilty or selfish. It’s as if You like hearing from me.
Him: I do.
Me: And then I feel better, calmer, more loved. Is that what prayer is about?
Me: And it seems that when I bring neediness and brokeness to You, that is an act of worship or praise because it’s acknowledging that I can’t fix this, but You can, and I think You like hearing that.
Him: I do!
Me: Maybe it’s ok that I don’t understand how prayer works because You don’t want it to become formulaic, and You know how fond I am of solutions and plans to reduce problems.
Him: You’re getting close…
Then at church, the first hymn was a prayer and the 2nd verse was one of my very favourites: Oh, bring our dearest friends to God; remember those we love. Fit them on earth for Thy abode; fit them for joys above.
And the next hymn sang: Father-like, He tends and spares us; well our feeble frame He knows. In His hands He gently spares us, rescues us from all our foes…
In Sunday school, the ladies shared prayer needs and I was asked to pray. As earlier in the morning, it was the same verbalizing of neediness, the same thankfulness/worship for His strength and perfect wisdom. Tears dripped off my cheeks despite (maybe because of?) the confidence and gratitude deep in my spirit.
Pentecost. Why does the powerful, infinite Creator inhabit His dusty created? Why does the Spirit fill and guide and intercede on our behalf with groanings that can’t be put into words? It must be because of a love that is larger than anything anyone can know.
I’m learning that part of prayer is acknowledging that love, and that’s what changes me when I pray.