Over the course of my life, I have had different experiences with my personal prayer life. When I was a child, we would pray the Our Father and the Guardian Angel Prayer every night before bed followed by God bless mommy, God bless daddy, God bless the dog, the kid next door, my cousins, the butcher, and basically anyone else who popped in my mind.
As I grew older, my relationship with God took on a different meaning. I started to ask God for things I wanted. I would ask for things like a good grade on my math test, enough money to buy the Jordache jeans I wanted, that the cute boy sitting next to me in science would slip me a “will you go with me, yes or no?” note, and that my mom would stop making zucchini casserole. Most of my prayer revolved around me and what I wanted for my life.
Then, when I reached college age and my early twenties, I maintained my “me, me, me” praying, but I also started bargaining. I started using words like “ok God, if you get me home safe tonight, I’ll…” or “if you don’t let this plane crash (I traveled a lot for work in my early twenties and truth be told, I hated flying), I’ll…” or “if you could just make this boy love me the way I think I love him, I’ll…”. Obviously, I was still very selfish in my prayer; never praising God, never thanking him, and definitely never examining my own life and recognizing where I was falling short of God’s plan and asking for the help to change.
Fast forward to my thirties and you will find a woman who was just trying to survive. Marriage, kids and work were taking over my life. I learned to not be selfish, but instead became selfless to the point that I lost a bit of my identity. Prayer became an after thought. I only prayed when I needed something; sanity, help getting through the next day, my infant daughter to stop crying, and to be able to take a shower before my husband returned home from work to find me a mess. Finding time to pray was difficult, so I just didn’t do it, I just couldn’t bring myself to find the time until finally I would explode and fall to my knees crying and asking God to save me from this life I knew nothing about.
I found out I was pregnant with my third child six years ago today. It was a total shock. I was 38 years old and planned to return to work in the fall. I had my life planned out and this wasn’t part of that plan. I was devastated. How could God let this happen?
I became a full time stay-at-home mom in 2007 after being laid off from my job and becoming pregnant with my second child. Over the course of the next 5 years, we acquired a lot of debt that kept me up worrying at night. I needed to go back to work. But God had a different plan. I would continue to stay home, give birth to my third child, acquire more debt, and become angry and resentful toward my family and God. At the end of her first year of life, my heart was completely disconnected from prayer. From the outside, I appeared perfectly involved at church and at home, but inside my heart was dying.
That’s when God broke through. That’s when God yanked me from my wilderness. I went through a huge conversion, not only in my faith, but also through the healing of my heart. This new baby turned out to be an angel sent to bring me back to Him. She is a radiant light in the darkness of this world. Full of joy, hope and compassion, she has helped to restore my faith and deepen my prayer life. She is the gift that only God knew I needed. He provided this gift at exactly the right time.
Now, in my 40s, prayer is part of who I am. Prayer is my comfort, my escape, my soul healer, and the time I need with my Father. It provides peace and direction for my life. There is rarely a moment throughout my day when God isn’t on my mind. Now, instead of asking God for things of this world, I pray this prayer everyday.
Heavenly Father, thank you for everything you have given me; my family, a husband who loves me, wonderful faith filled children, parents to guide me, food on the table, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back. Thank you for bringing me to your Church where I get to receive you body, blood, soul and divinity to give me strength in this life to continue your work. Let me be your eyes, your ears, your voice in this world. Let me see people as you see them. Let me be your hands and your feet. Let me always seek to follow you and love you above all things. Thank you Jesus. You are my everything. Thy will, not my will be done. Amen.
My prayer for you today is that you will find time for God, you will begin a conversation with Him that will last a lifetime, and you will trust in His love to pull you through even the greatest of suffering.
“Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” – Romans 12:12