Prayer. Spending time talking (and listening to God). For as long as I can remember, it's been part of my life. Of course, the way I pray has changed over the years. This goes for the rest of my family as well.
Prayers of a child. These standards taught me to talk to God--the listening part came later on. Every dinnertime found me saying the usual--God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Bedtime had its assigned prayer as well--Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. When Paige and Jeremy came along, they learned the routine as well. These prayers were important and served their purpose. God heard every one of them--after all, He hears the prayers of all His children, big and small. The day just comes when you realize it's time for more. Time to really talk to God.
Prayer grows up. As I grew up, so did my prayers. I ditched the 'scripted' routine and focused on what was most relevant to me at the time. Health and safety. Wants (that at the time I considered needs). The future. We talked to the kids several years back about revising their prayer rhetoric, and it followed a similar pattern. Keep us healthy and safe. Please let me do well on a test. We all got really good at talking to God--but that listening part was still a challenge. Sure, I'd do okay sometimes. Other times that I-can-control-all-things part of me would take over. Then one day, it happened--things got a little too real and a whole lot out of control, and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
Prayer gets real. My prayer life saw its most significant change about ten months ago--around January 10th. It was then I discovered a real, crying-out-to-God, on-my-knees kind of prayer. As parents, we do whatever is in our power to keep our kids safe, healthy, and happy--yet some things are beyond our control. Take cancer, for example. Even ten months into this journey, it still seems like a bad dream--and I'll wake up one morning with everything the way it was. It's nice to think about, but I know that won't happen. Paige's diagnosis rocked our world in more ways than I can count, but it also gave us strength beyond measure.
One of those boosts--actually, jolts--of strength came in our prayer life. January 10th had us on our knees--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We cried almost uncontrollably upon hearing Paige's diagnosis. When the tears could no longer fall, we cried out for her healing. And then we did what is so hard for many of us to do--we gave it all over to God. Our worries, our fears, our absolute trust in His plan for Paige. I remember telling Him that I knew I couldn't fix this, that I couldn't control what was happening with our daughter. That we were giving the whole situation completely to Him, knowing He had a plan for Paige we will never fully comprehend. And I did what I should have done all along. I sat still and listened. His response was an overwhelming, mercy-and-grace-raining-down-on-us kind of thing. And it changed my life.
Prayer becomes specific. Paige's illness taught me to pray differently. In many ways, I think I've gotten better at it. Not only am I specific in my prayer requests (with the cancer chaos, it's become a necessity), I am specific in giving thanks. For Paige's healing. For being able to be by her side every step of this journey. For holding our family together when things could very easily have come unraveled. The kids have learned as well--praying for our clinic and hospital friends by name (and situation if they know it). For peace and comfort for friends who have recently lost loved ones--that "they will know God is there with them." I love that my kids have hearts like this.
Prayer. As long as I have breath, I will give glory and honor to God for the amazing life He has given me. Through calm waters and stormy seas. He is mighty. He is faithful. He is worthy.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.