Prayer is a tough one for me. Why? Because it is so hard for me to just sit and think of the right words. But praying without ceasing, well that I can do. I can pray immediately when things come up and pray about it right then and there. Short and to the point. I feel guilty though that I don't sit for hours and pray for people. I don't think it is a gift I have, to sit for hours- and pray anyway. Maybe it is something I have to work on, something I just need to do. Somehow though I get it into my head that there has to be a certain way I do it and then it becomes a law that I have to follow.
At the women's retreat I attended a couple weeks ago, we split up into groups. I picked the 'empty nester' group. I could have gone with the 'Grandma group' and maybe one other I can't think of. This was our prayer group for the weekend. This always makes me a little uncomfortable because when I am put on the spotlight, my words don't come. Maybe someday I will be better at this, but I have always been better with thinking about things for a l-o-n-g time and then writing things down.
I have had awesome answers to prayers. The shortest one - Help! I think sent angels down to help me. Ha ha. Another time, I asked God a question and then just left it at that. What happened some weeks after that was nothing short of a miracle since there was no earthly answer to the question I gave Him.
One time I actually asked God if I had any friends. I was feeling like a loner and that everyone was getting together with people and I had no one to get together with. As the next couple days unfolded, I was reminded of all the friends I had. I started writing them down. People I knew I could call and they would listen or go to lunch with me. I had a BIG list.
My best prayer position isn't necessarily sitting at attention knowing I am going to sit and pray, but sometimes just sprawled out on my chair in the morning with a not knowing what has hit me kind of feeling (that is how I feel when I wake up most mornings) and not really having words, but turning my full attention to God and his thoughts.
I remember doing this one time (season) many years ago and I said to God in my dazed state: I don't know what I need God, but I know you do, and I know you can give it to me. In the days that followed I noticed weird stuff. Like I started laughing at my husbands jokes. I was joyful for no reason. I started noticing how joyful I was and thought how odd that I had this joy in my life when I really felt like crap. And then I remembered my prayer. Yeah God.
Last year I had reflexology done at this women's retreat. I ended up going to see her for a full appointment a few months later. I was having a hard time physically and emotionally in handling it. After the appointment, she asked if she could pray for me. She knew I was a Christian. I said yes and she prayed for my health and then she prayed for my marriage and that my health condition would not put a barrier in my marriage. I started crying. No one had ever given words to my prayers. She has the gift of prayer and is using it to pray for others.
This past week I got a package in the mail. I couldn't think of anything I had ordered. There was no name on the package, but inside was a crocheted prayer shawl! I am assuming it was probably from someone in my prayer group because they knew some about me. We were to put on a card what our prayer concerns were - things that pertained to what was going on in our life. I always put health because I have pain that is always there. I may have some good days, but the pain seems to consume my life. There was a card with this gift. It said:
This prayer shawl is a gift, hand-crafted and woven with prayers for healing and comfort. As you wrap yourself in the prayer shawl, may you be comforted by your faith and by the presence of those who love and support you. May you be strengthened in your daily comings and goings and in your tentative new beginnings. May you be wrapped in love and surrounded with peace, love and comfort.I teared up. It is a prayer I had no words for. Just the thought that someone is praying for me. Praying for me when I have no words in this season in life. This is why we need to pray for each other. Sometimes people just cannot pray. Sometimes when people are in the middle of something, they cannot find the words. When someone is sick, they cannot pray for themselves. They need the prayers of others. Other prayer warriors.
When I meet a prayer warrior, I have a deep reverential respect for them. Theirs isn't an easy task. I have roomed with a lady from our church who is a prayer warrior. I joked with her that she is praying even in her sleep! She literally mumbled all night.
Yesterday as I walked into the nursing home, I was greeted cheerfully by the front desk lady whom I consider a friend. She told me she saw me on TV the other day. You know the Wise Woman Roxanne post. I told her how I didn't really want to talk on TV, but that I had been feeling better and wanted to share with other women that they have options. Lately though I am now facing new issues of pain and what to do about it. A nun working close by started asking me more questions and was very interested. So of course I talked. I then felt a little self conscious that I was telling her all this and said this to her. She said 'oh no, no! Now I know how I can pray for you.' She said she was on her way to Manitowoc (an hour away) and that she would be praying for me all the way there. !
This is so touching to me. Not that someone just casually says 'I'll pray for you', but when you know that you know that they are going to be having a specific conversation with God about you. Wow.
What gives me comfort in my 'can't find the right words to pray' mode is that according to the Bible, the Holy Spirit knows our thoughts and interprets them for God. I know this to be true because I also had another time when I had absolutely no words. All I could pray was "God...". That was it. It was a class I attended and the instructor shared more of her personal life than she probably should have (sounds familiar). I was moved though. The next class I attended, she had a jaw dropping story to tell. It was what I had prayed for even without having words. It was an answer to prayer - one of those that you know is God because humanly we don't have the strength for some of this stuff.
This is why we need to share with others. When we just bottle everything up, it isolates us from others and from God. When we share honestly with those we trust, it gives them an opportunity to talk to God about it. Sometimes I think that I need to just shut up about my life and deal with it. But then I know that I would not have all the people praying for me that I do.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16
After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26