When Mandy asked me to write a blog post on prayer, I didn’t think it would feel this hard. The thought went through my head that I couldn’t admit that it felt hard, but that lie quickly got shut down, and here I am — cards on the table — sometimes prayer feels hard for me. I had started to type some things out about prayer, quickly feeling displeased with the lack of genuineness, and finding myself, yet again, at a loss for words. Later that night while I was putting on my shoes to go somewhere, I stopped mid-shoelaces-tie, stood up and said, “Lord, what do YOU want to say about prayer?”
A few minutes later, after my shoes were successfully on and I had started to continue on with my night, the Holy Spirit started speaking, reminding me of something He’d said to me a couple months earlier, “I’m not after your words, Liv. I’m after your heart.” “Write about that”, He told me. So I started typing, not worrying about grammar or spacing, knowing I could clean those things up later, but just excited that God has something He wants to say to us about prayer!
This is written from the viewpoint of me writing directly to Jesus. I pray that as you read it you feel refreshed and encouraged by the Spirit.
"Here’s my heart, Lord. Speak what is true. I’ve found myself at a loss for words lately. Specifically when it comes to prayer. And you know, up until this point I thought it was because the enemy was trying to make me believe that I don’t deserve this role as prayer director, or that I don’t spend enough time with Jesus. But maybe this was You leading me into all truth - that it’s never been about the words, but about my heart. Even though I haven’t always had the words to say, or sometimes any words at all for that matter, I think this has been one of the most prayerful times in my life. A choked up, “Jesus, please help” is what my prayers seemed to have become. But I’m thankful, because I’m realizing I never once felt like I had to shout that to You.
I knew You were close and would hear my faint and desperate prayers without having to strain. Whether things are good or bad, I hope Your name is always quick to come out of my lips, bringing glory to You. Thank You for placing the Marburger’s in my life…or placing me in their lives? Both? I’m not really sure. Either way, I’m so thankful it happened. Working with a family that fosters has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, and has taught me more than I can say. As I reflect on it, I think one of the biggest lessons You’ve taught me through this season is to not be afraid to feel deeply. It doesn’t feel good to take a long look at a very broken world, and not just look away for comforts sake. It doesn’t feel good to sit with the fact that nearly half a million children are in foster care in the United States.
It doesn’t feel good to love a child deeply and then have them not be there anymore. But walking through this season with You has given me a resolve to pray, more so than ever before. And Lord, I trust You with all of my heart that each prayer has played some role in pushing back the gates of hell. I know You are looking for faithful people who are willing to feel deeply, so that, like medicine working its way through infected veins, Your church can begin administering hope to a broken and hurting world. We can’t act if we don’t care.
My heart aches to see things made right and for people to know the Light and Life of Jesus, and that ache compels me to pray, remembering the truth of Romans 8:26-27. “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 through groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Thank you for Your Spirit, Lord.
I pray my heart never becomes calloused to the reality of the gift that it is to get to play even a small role in these children’s lives. Every moment I’m with them is a reminder of Your goodness in my life.
I was so dead in my sin, but now in Christ Jesus I, who once was far away, have been brought close through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). I could never thank You enough for bringing me in close. And not just once, but all the time. You remind me that’s where I’m meant to be and where I’m most effective. I want every child to know the safety and joy of being brought close to You.
And so I will pray. I will stay close so that You can tell me when it’s time to fight in prayer. When it’s time to rest in prayer. When it’s time to mourn in prayer and when it’s time to rejoice in prayer. Help me to remember that prayer is effective even if we never see the fruit of it. I bet a lot of the time the very lack of something happening IS the fruit. How many assignments of the enemy have been thwarted because a faithful believer was obedient to pray in the moment You told them to? How many people have been spared from something awful happening to them because a faithful son or daughter of God listened to the whisper of the Holy Spirit to pray for their brother or sister in that moment? I don’t think we will know the fullness of the impact of our prayers until we’re on the other side of eternity, but I’m convinced it’s far more than we could ever imagine. May the cry of my heart be to invite You into every situation, so that there may be lasting, heavenly change, and that others may come to love and acknowledge You.
I’m so thankful that, while feeling deeply awakens me to the need to pray, prayer isn’t a feeling. It’s correspondence with You - the Lover, Savior, and Keeper of my heart - and the only way to heaven. The more I sit at Your feet the more my spirit is inclined to pray. Teach me what it looks like to pray without ceasing.
Thank You for not leaving us to our own devices when it comes to dealing with the suffering and brokenness of this world, but inviting us to come to You and find rest for our souls.
You will teach us how to pray well - from a place of hope, not a place of despair. To match our breathing to Yours and to run at a pace that won’t make us burn out, but will teach us endurance.
“But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 I heard someone once say, “worship isn’t something that is completed.” I think that’s true of prayer, too. Thank You for teaching me to pray with my life, not just my words. “And I’ll let my words be few, Jesus, I am so in love with You”--