On Prayer…and a Few More Wedding Pics :)
I’ve talked about prayer in a few blogs lately. I can’t quite say it enough: Prayer has changed everything for me. It has worked. Plain as day, no “maybes” or “coincidences.”
Even when the answer to my prayers was NO.
Here I am, hands clenched to my husband-of-about-twenty-seconds, smiling my way through our first prayer together. I have to admit, that although 90% of my prayers before this moment in time were NOT given to God with a smile, they all lead here.
In fact, most prayers that brought me up to this point in time weren’t even my own. Here, I’d like to point out, that if a person feels completely unequipped to pray for herself, she is ALLOWED to call upon the Prayer Warriors in her life and ask for help.
Now, I’m Lutheran. A PK, raised by PKs… I have been surrounded by prayers my entire life. Lots of really long, “Oh my gosh, Grandpa is praying… wish I wasn’t so hungry” style prayers, and then also lots of silly prayers from church camp. I knew at a young age that my conversations with God could look like almost anything. I could:
Get on my knees and fold my hands
Speak out loud
Give up an idea, rather than full words
Whisper one thing, like “Thanks”
Drive my car
Lay in bed
Eat a burrito
Bottom line: you can pray any time, any place, and under any circumstances!
So why, knowing this, was I totally terrified and afraid? Well, I had a little grudge. Ever had one of those? My grudge went like this:
I tried reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (Love is patient, love is kind….) with my ex-husband every single night for months. I also tried praying. In the end, those efforts didn’t work and we still wound up divorced.
(insert W.T.F. prayer here)
So obviously prayer does nothing, my life is ruined, and I shouldn’t waste my time believing in love or patience or anything, really.
I showed up to my new home in the Midwest, a little prayer-shy and very uncomfortable with voicing anything out loud that had to do with God. I still prayed one-worded prayers occasionally, though. And I always asked my parents to pray for me, even knowing they already were.
My weapons were being tough, not needing anything or anyone, and writing. When I look back at these blogs, specifically, I remember what real pain feels like.
December is Darkest, In June There’s The Light
It wasn’t until I met some true Prayer Warriors that things really began to change. One friend in particular pushed me past my limits. Ellie, I love you for this. She not only said she would pray for me, but she grabbed my hands, closed her eyes, and said a prayer out loud, right in front of me. with just the two of us there to hear it…..
The first time this happened, I felt awkward. I looked around the room a little… I felt moved, but way too embarrassed to let myself cry or really feel what was happening. I was amazed by the eloquence of her words. I thought, “Welp, this is exactly why I don’t do this. Now I see that my prayers are pretty lame. Hers are like poetry.”
But you know what happened? She kept offering to pray. I could never say no. And eventually, one day, I asked her to pray out loud for me. Instead of feeling inadequate and ashamed of my own fumbly words, I realized I could ask her to help me. I am so blessed to have people in my life who will pray whenever I ask. It’s like having a 911 emergency rescue squad available at all times. I’ve asked for prayers over text, in emails, in person.
I ASK FOR THEM ALL THE TIME. I even sent out an S.O.S. style message to my mom and dad one time, saying “I need allllll the people who do that group prayer thing every week at church to be prayer warriors right now. We really need help over here….”
And they did. And the miracles overflowed.
Lately, I’ve been asking God to instill forgiveness in my heart and patience in my soul. I have love (after not believing in it), which I’m so thankful for. It’s a downright miracle that I not only believe in marriage, but that I found someone who I know I will love forever, and who loves me too. Now, I don’t think God loves divorce… but I do believe that “What Satan uses for evil, God’s power can use for good” [what my sister-in-law Kendra sent me!]. I can see now why my requests so long ago “didn’t work.” It had to do with so much more than just me. Actually, four other human beings were involved. I had a future I was completely unaware of, and a man going through his own hardships at exactly the same time, waiting for me. I felt a stirring in my soul to go to the Midwest… and that was God. Three amazing step kids in my life, one strong and caring husband = yeah, Okay God, I get it. You were RIGHT.
I have so many blessings, it’s hard to look around each day and not feel overwhelmingly grateful. Those things way deep down, however, are the subjects of my prayer life. Even today, I talked to my mom on the phone and said, “I still really need prayers for some lingering anger I have inside. I want to forgive completely. I know I need to.”
I’ll end this here: I might not be the best at this, but I want to let anyone who reads this know…. I will pray for you. I might already be, but if we haven’t met or I’ve only known you in your best stage of life, it’s quite possible that I don’t know what you need. You can ask me right here. Email me, call me, leave a comment. I’ll pray for you <3
I’ll try to be your Ellie ;) but don’t expect the beautiful poetic words to come as easily!
Lou (who realizes how completely blessed she is and THANKS GOD in prayer every day for this life)
August 18, 2016 at 12:45 PM
We have an Awesome, Amazing God who hears the cry of our heart even when we don’t know how to express it. Melinda this is beautifully written and your new journey is only beginning. I truly believe that the only way to get through life is through prayer.
So happy for you & Iz!!
August 18, 2016 at 1:30 PM
Thank you!!! Amen to that.
August 18, 2016 at 1:45 PM
Isn’t it amazing that we are never to Old to learn what god has in store for us ? I know what I have learned from your amazing Partner in Life as my former Pastor, and can see the wonderful gift of Clarity into words you have been given. Together thru Christ nothing is impossible.
P.S. still waiting to meet the wonderful writer in my friends life, Rhinelander has an open invitation for the whole family.
August 18, 2016 at 2:45 PM
Thank you for reading. Very interesting for me to “meet” people who knew Israel as a pastor. I hope we have a chance to meet in person someday!
August 18, 2016 at 2:17 PM
I was one of those people who prayed for you. You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but God gave me a heart to pray for you during your darkest times. I will continue to pray for you and your new family. God is good! (BTW, we have a lot in common. I’m a twin, I have chickens, I’m a PK, I’ve been divorced and remarried, and I have a lot of prayers warriors in my own life.) :-)
August 18, 2016 at 2:47 PM
THIS is absolutely amazing. Thank you for the prayers. I tear up thinking about the love and grace I’ve received, especially from those I haven’t even met. It means so much to me. I love that we have all that in common!!! Wow….. isn’t being a twin just the best? Not sure how people get along in life without one ;) :)
August 18, 2016 at 4:26 PM
Your name has been mentioned in my prayers a few times. ☺ And I certainly wouldn’t mind if you talk to God about me! I hope you’re listening to fewer sad songs these days 😘 Love you forever.
August 18, 2016 at 11:14 PM
Thank you for sharing so candidly
August 19, 2016 at 7:18 AM
Oh my dear friend. You are a warrior, and yes I believe a prayer warrior. Awkward prayers are the best prayers. Always. I am so honored by your mention, and am completely wrecked, in the best way, as I see how God moved in and through us. I am not worthy of your praise, but I see God in all of this. I felt and feel awkward and stumble my way through just about every prayer it seems…but GOD, through His Holy Spirit makes it beautiful and meaningful. I’m learning to love feeling awkward…that’s where the good stuff is, right? Thank you for sharing your heart and your story and your prayers so eloquently and beautifully. I am so blessed and honored to be your friend.
August 19, 2016 at 7:20 AM
We love awkward prayers and messy purses :) :) <3