I have never been good at praying. And I know what you’re thinking, “Lauren, there isn’t a good or bad way to pray.” I understand this, but I know that praying more frequently and praying before decisions is good, and not doing that is bad. Let’s just say I’ve always fallen into the latter category.
I tend to make a lot of decisions based on my feelings, which is something I’ve realized in the past few weeks. I would never take the time to pray and mediate over a decision; I would just do what felt right to me in that moment. This was becoming a serious problem in my life and I realized I was only reaching out to God when things got really bad. Maybe if I would’ve went to Him first I wouldn’t have gotten myself into half of the messes I ended up in…
I’m currently taking a class called “Christian Spirituality.” This class is basically an overview of spiritual disciplines and traditions as well as some information on famous spiritual leaders and theologians who displayed these disciplines. One of the disciplines we have focused on is prayer. Seeing how committed these spiritual leaders were to prayer really changed my outlook on how I viewed it. Instead of thinking of prayer as a chore or as something I should do but don’t have time for, I began looking at prayer as a gift given to me by God.
My spring semester at school has probably been my most difficult yet. This is not necessarily academically, but more socially and emotionally. I’ve experienced a lot of loneliness, disappointment, and rejection within this semster and it has taken a toll on me. I really think this is God’s way of pushing me to lean on Him and lay my worries upon Him. I do not need to carry them and I do not need to figure everything out on my own. In fact, I can’t do ANYTHING on my own. This has driven me to realize just how much I need God.
So throughout this semester, I have been praying and praying and praying. It has changed my life. In the midst of hopelessness and brokenness, God heals. The funny thing is, it’s always in ways that I wouldn’t have ever noticed unless I was in communication with the Lord. Sometimes it’s a song on the radio; other times it is a person messaging me or talking to me and saying exactly what I needed to hear; the next time it is just an extreme sense of peace. Prayer has helped me to realize that God is everywhere. All I needed to do was look up.
Prayer also opens the door to community. I created a challenge for myself about a year ago to pray for one person everyday. I have also challenged myself to not just say that I will pray for someone, but to take the time to do it right then and there. The way I do this is to scroll though my social media and reach out to the first person who pops up on my feed. No matter who it is, whether I know them well or not, whether they are a believer or not, I must reach out to this person. At first, this was terrifying to me. I was reaching out to people I hadn’t spoken to in years. But soon this began to open doors in my life I didn’t even know were closed. Some people igorned me or told me they didn’t need prayer, which is totally ok. I prayed for them anyway ;). But other people really poured out some serious challenges to me and told me how much the small gesture of reaching out meant to them. Those messages were incredible and made me realize how God intended prayer to be a community. Not only is it a conversation between you and the Lord, but it is also a way to reach out and encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ. To those of you reading this who I have reached out to, thank you for allowing me to have a conversation with you and giving me the chance to see God in a new light. I appreciate you and challenge you to reach out to someone as well.
Thank you for those of you who reached the end of this long post. It’s been awhile and I had a lot to say ;). Please know that I am here for you and invite you to enter into this beautiful gift of prayer God has given us. If you are in need of prayer, I would love to pray for you! Go in peace, friends, and remember that prayer is so powerful.