Recently, I have attempted and succeeded at picking up my new Bible to peak at a few verses that have always been favorites. Isaiah 43:1-4 has ALWAYS been my standby or go-to in times of struggle. If you know it or read it right now, you will think "oh how appropriate for Jenny!". I read it. It was fine. Believing it? Hhmm.....that's hard. But I am trying, at least, to walk the "steps" and pry it open.
But, prayer? Prayer is really difficult. I must come clean and admit, that I fear I have lost the ability to see the purpose in prayer anymore...or at least for now. Forgive me, in advance, for sounding so cynical...but here comes my raw honesty. With prayer, I feel like I am just one of God's pawns in this "game" He set up here on Earth. In His Word, He tells us to pray and worship Him..."knock, and the door will be open"..."ask, and you shall receive"..."seek and you will find"....etc. But, from my experiences, I feel now that really REALLY, in the end, God is still going to do what He is going to do. No matter what we pray. There is no "right" amount of people that you can enlist to pray...there are no "perfect" "spiritual" words you can beg and plead and pray to change His mind. He is still going to do what He intends to do. So, why do we pray? I really don't get it anymore. I am ridiculously logical and this is not adding up to me, anymore. You can't "pray hard enough" or "long enough" or "ask enough people"...in the end, it will still be what He has planned or intended. And, then...THEN when our prayers are not answered as we wished, we say say things like "well, this wasn't in His will" or "sometimes, 'No' answer IS the answer"...and so on and so forth. But, really, it's just a gamble. Praying seems like gambling to me. But, He tells us to do it and so we obey, without question. But, I'm starting to question.
God was given SO MANY opportunities to turn the situation around that morning when Vienne died...so many different prayers were lifted up to Him. But, He still did what He wanted to do. So, why should I pray? I am not seeing the point anymore. So, you say Vienne's death was in His will? Well, I don't like His will anymore! (believe me, I am not afraid at getting mad at God...I know He can handle my anger or whatever I dish out at Him).
I know sooooo many people are praying for me. (and, please, really don't stop...cuz as backwards as this sounds, it still means so much to me. I need as much help as I can get even if my faith waivers). But, lately, it feels like the stress and attack is still not letting up. Ivy is sick AGAIN, this week! Vienne was NEVER sick as a baby and now Ivy gets two bugs within 3 weeks?! Every week feels like a new hurdle and trial to wade through. And, I feel I don't have the strength. And, people are praying HARD for me. And, then, my Mom tells me that I need to start praying, myself. But, I don't know how! I've tried here and there, sure. I've uttered pleas for help, of course I have. But, I am so under attack. And, I don't know if I see the purpose in it anymore.
I just wish that God would pursue me a little bit, you know? Make Himself REALLY known to this skeptical doubter right now. I am so weary and shattered and broken to try to chase after Him and beg and plead and pray and see no fruit in it. Why can't He just come to me?
So, my main question is this: Why do YOU pray? I am curious, really. But, please, I am not looking to be preached at. I can't handle that. Take into account that I know a lot and have walked most of my life with Christ. There is not much I haven't heard as far as "Christian jargon" goes. But, I am curious about personal testimony regarding prayer. Maybe something will encourage me. Who knows.
*Also, if you don't mind...I love it when you leave your name so that I can know you and thank you. And, also if you hit "Subscribe by Email" my responses should be emailed back to you. I hope. I do try my best to respond to your comments...I'm not great at it all the time because I am a flake these days. But, I want you all to know how much your comments mean to me and I want to extend my love back to you.
Jenny, I've been reading your blog and just listening. I can't imagine what you are going though.ReplyDelete
About a year and a half ago or so, I went through some really difficult stuff. It was different from what you're experiencing now, and it didn't make me an expert on prayer (or on suffering, for that matter). If anything I have more questions than I did before.
I prayed because more than anything I wanted to trust that God would be present. I still struggle with that trust. There was a long period where I was just so angry with God that prayer was more of a primal scream than anything.
I pray now because I want relationship with God. It might sound trite, but it's more complicated than that. There are times when it's still really hard to pray. There have been times when I really felt like God showed up, and others where I felt completely adrift--and those times don't always make sense to me.
Anyway, I don't know if that's helpful or not.
Samantha ~ this WAS helpful. Thank you. I just appreciate your openness and honesty about your own struggles with trust. So many people are not honest about that and it can make the rest of us feel so alone.Delete
Like you, I know I want relationship with God...I'm just still trying to figure out my new perspective of Him. It has changed and I am not yet comfortable with it.
Thank you for speaking out.
I'll be totally honest...(and you know this comes from someone overly-logical minded too)ReplyDelete
I have some stuff going on (NOTHING that compares in severity to your situation at all) that is giving me major anxiety and stress and confusion right now. Last night, I prayed for peace. Because I couldn't handle the overwhelming confusion of trying to figure out my life choices right now. I gave my options and struggles over to God because it made me feel better at the time to say to myself "God is in control. And if he closes this door, it wasn't meant to be. And he will open a window, somehow, somewhere, that will point me in the right direction". So I will give this situation over to God.
But this is where I have to be honest...Jenny your situation with Vienne popped right into my head as I was closing that prayer. And I thought...if God is in control, who's to say that I'm going to like what his plans are for me? So...I prayed because I want peace. But the logical side of me is not 100% how my plans and hopes and dreams fit into God's reality for all of us. Sorry if that's a downer kind of reply.
Lisa ~ Out of the many comments I have received, yours made me cry. I think it's because you're my personal friend and I know you and I know your struggles with prayer and such. Thank you for sharing. I am actually encouraged to hear that you are praying.Delete
This is not a downer kind of a reply. It is real and honest and I appreciate that.
What I'm getting from most of the responses is a similar theme - many realize that they cannot expect God to change His mind to their way, but that they are learning to pray for peace, like you shared. hhmmmm....
Jenny - I can see why you feel the way you do. I've asked myself the same questions about Vienne. Why didn't God choose to intervene? It seems so unfair. So cruel.ReplyDelete
But I would like to gently point out that feelings don't always accurately reflect truth. And if you believe the Bible is truth (which I know you do), then your theology about God doing what He does regardless of whether we pray or not, is not reflective of the God of the Bible. There are several stories in the Bible where God changed his mind BECAUSE people prayed. He was going to abandon the Israelites in the wilderness but Moses begged, "Don't leave us. We can't go on without you." So God relented and changed his mind. God was going to destroy Ninevah. But because they repented and asked for forgiveness, he changed his mind. God actually DOES alter his plans when we pray. Just not all time. We pray from our small human perspective, but He holds the world in his hands. This is where faith comes in. And where it gets so difficult.
When God doesn't answer the way we want him to or doesn’t act at all (how it feels in Vienne’s case) it makes it so tough to logically reason it out. And that’s okay. Maybe you need to hear that it’s okay to have doubts. To not understand it all, but to still have faith? This is a lesson I’m still learning and there’s freedom in it.
With that said, I pray because it’s my way to talk to God. My most intimate prayer times come when I’m running. Just me and God. Sweat and mountains. Wrestling through tough issues and finding beauty in the intimacy that emerges from just BEING with Him. I pray because I’ve seen God answer my prayers. Not always how I want Him to, but He answers. I pray because it gives me a purpose and makes me feel like I’m making a difference for His kingdom. I pray because Jesus tells His followers to prayer. There is blessing that comes with obedience. Just like Vienne probably didn’t always want to obey, but she did so because she trusted that you – as her mom – knew best. God is the only perfect Father. And He asks us to trust him and tells us to pray, so I pray as an act of obedience and to make my Father happy. I pray because it’s a way to combat the enemy whose sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy my life.
I’m encouraged that you are beginning the process of opening your Bible again and hopefully finding a little encouragement in the pages.
I was up in the middle of the night this week praying for Ivy and for peace over you and Mark. I’m so sorry she’s been so sick. My kiddos caught all the little bugs when they were babies because we lived in the Midwest and the winters last FOREVER there. It’s no fun for anyone. I really hope you get a break soon. And I continue to pray for you. It’s my way of “joining in the journey” since there’s nothing else that I can tangibly do. In some small way, it makes me feel like I’m helping to carry the burden.
This was good, Jodi. You're right, I am familiar with all of those Biblical references. And, if I am honest, I do acknowledge that they have been nagging at the back of my mind through all of this doubt. But, when I really face the truth of those stories - that people HAVE changed God's mind through prayer - well, then that makes me angry, of course. Why couldn't we? Why did He say "no"? And, believe me, I know all the pretty pat answers to those questions. And, I don't like them yet.Delete
Thank you for sharing about your relationship with God and how you pray. I haven't felt that kind of intimacy with Him in a long long time.
And, thank you for praying always for us...and especially this week for Ivy. I am getting so used to all the ongoing trials each week, that I am no longer freaking out when a new one hits. Maybe that's "peace".
In 2005-07 I had some rough life experiences that I ultimately blamed God for not protecting me and turned away. I rarely prayed, and when I did, it was only to vent my frustration. 2008 to 2012 I had healed emotionally (there's always scars from the heaviest burdens we carry), but was stagnant spiritually. It wasn't until the passed few months I've been drawing closer to God. Actually, it was when you lost your angel. I couldn't not pray for you two, and that's all my prayers were for a while. My trials were a burden, but I can't fathom the burden you carry with yours. The fact that you haven't turned your back on God, that you ask these questions, that you haven't completely given up and written off your faith is humbling and inspiring to me. It's been hard, trying to build my faith and relationship with the Lord again. I'm still not ready to go to church, but listen to sermons online quite regularly. Anyways, prayer... prayer is difficult. At first, I started praying because I would have panic attacks in which I thought I was dying, and prayer helped me get through them. Now I'm trying to pray because it's what I should do. But this morning something I read stuck with me. Prayer shouldn't necessarily be about us going to God just to ask for things, but about us going to God. Relationship isn't built by asking and receiving, it's about talking and listening. So that is what I'm going to try to do more of myself. Look at the book of Psalms, there are many psalms of praise, but also of lament. And then others in there too. I think our pains, cries, hurts, goals, wants, desires, loves, and hates all matter to God. So I've been trying to bring all of this to God lately. And the other thing I often pray is for God to use me again. I don't feel like this really gets answered... maybe I'm not ready. But I miss that. In the meantime, I will certainly continue to pray for you my friend.ReplyDelete
Eva ~ Wow. Your comment made me speechless. Wow, thank you for sharing. This made me well up with tears. And, it is not the first time I've heard it. Vienne's passing has been bringing so many people closer in their walks with God. And, when I hear that, there is this nagging at the back of my brain saying: "Vienne is touching more lives in her death than she could in her life...and it is for that purpose." The crap thing is that it is at our expense...and the expense of her life. I know one day, I will embrace this more. And, please, this does NOT mean I am bitter to those who are drawing nearer to God...no no, I am honored and humbled by such confessions. I am confused, yet in awe. I just don't get God sometimes.Delete
Jenny - I pray because I'm hopeful that the people I'm praying for can feel it and know they're not alone. I feel exactly the same as you do - I don't believe I can change His will. I think He wants to hear my voice and know what I'm thinking, but I don't believe I can change His mind if He's already chosen a path. I pray because it calms me to be honest and open with Him and because I'm hoping He connects my prayer to the heart of the people I've been praying for. For the past five months, your family's name has been in my prayers more than any other. I know you've felt it, and that's why I pray.ReplyDelete
I started going to Evergreen at the same time your family did and I've been reading your blog religiously since I first heard about it. I've commented here a few times, but have never left my name. I'm sorry about that; you should know how many people around you care about your pain and want to help however we can. Vienne, You, Mark and Ivy are deeply loved!
Diane ~ I think we received a lovely letter from you in the mail?? If I am correct, please forgive me for never responding. I know you understand.Delete
Thank you so much for following this blog and for continuing to reach out to me, even though we barely know each other. I am so touched and beyond words.
Thank you for sharing your heart in why you pray. It is encouraging to read.
We hope to be able to return to church soon. We are finally missing the community. We are nervous to return but miss it. Now we are just waiting for Ivy's nap schedule to change....as right now, she does down right when service starts.
Thank you again soooo so much.
I haven't read the other responses here yet, so I don't know if I'll sound repetitive or give you the stand-by "christian" answer to this question. Because as you and I have talked about, my idea of prayer has been DRASTICALLY altered after the death of Vienne. I've talked with Adam many, many times about the point of prayer. He felt the same as you do, after the death of his first wife. People gather to pray, they have amazing faith in His ability to do what they are asking...and yet, sometimes, we get an answer we don't understand or appreciate. They don't get healed. We don't get saved from a situation. We don't know what to do. Vienne was not saved that morning. And so we are left, especially after a horrific event like this, to wonder if our prayers even matter. If, as the Bible says, faith as small as a mustard seed, truly is enough to do anything? See...Vienne's death has shaken us all. I question more then I ever have in my life.
Here is the only thing I come up with. Our prayers may not change the course of anything. God does have a will, our lives are planned out, and we won't always understand. But for me, the thing I am trying to pray for and understand the concept of, is that I am to pray that I can humanly ACCEPT and have PEACE about whatever God's plan is for my life. For my kids' lives. And that is a hard one. How do you accept and have peace over the loss of your chid? I don't think you do. But, that is what I see prayer for now. That God will help me, will help my mind and heart, and give me the ability to deal with, accept, and have peace about whatever His plan is for me. To help me to seek His will, not my own. To help me to trust Him and His plans. I don't really believe anymore that my prayers or pleas change much. It shows my faith in Him, yes. But I guess I see prayer more now as a conversation with God- a way to strengthen my relationship with Him, and not as a venue to just ask Him for what I want or desire. Even those desperate pleas like the ones I've thrown up to Him these last few months since Vienne passed. Is it helping? I don't see it yet. I'm trying to keep praying though...just to keep my relationship with Him open. Not to change anything. I know He sees my doubt now...my hurt over your immense pain. He has to understand. But He calls us to trust and to turn to Him, so I keep trying.
What you said here - "I am so weary and shattered and broken to try to chase after Him and beg and plead and pray and see no fruit in it. Why can't He just come to me?" Friend, that broke my heart. I will continue to beg God...beg...for Him to come to you. To pursue you with such passion and love for His child, that you are overwhelmed by His presence. I want you to feel Him pounding on your door and possibly one day, allow Him back into your broken heart.
I love you so.
Oh dear friend, I love you. I love your real and honest heart, always. Thank you.Delete
Praying for peace is a good perspective and I will strive for that. Lisa mentioned it too, earlier. I am just so full of questions and skepticism right now. And, having that peace scares me. I know you know. I am afraid the peace is going to make me feel further from her. I am afraid it is going to make me feel "ok" with what happened. I know that's not true and that is irrational...but it is my fear. I know you know that too.
Thank you for this reminder. I hope to and know I will get there someday.
I love you so much. xoxoox
It took me 2 years to not mentally flip off God after losing someone very close to me. Even now I have angry moments and times where I just don't understand. For myself, I found that I was just too empty inside to keep up my anger. I do understand your feelings of God is going to do what he is going to do so why bother pray. I guess I pray because while I sometimes doubt, I know deep down that he is God. I guess that's all the reason that I can come up with. Your daughter was simply beautiful and a special gift. I hope that one day your heart won't feel so broken. Thank you for sharing her with us.ReplyDelete
Kristel ~ Thank you for your real honesty. I love that.Delete
Thank you for taking the time to share with me some intimate feelings about your prayer life as well as why you pray. Every insight gives me something to think on.
Oh, honey. You have gotten such thoughtful feedback here. Thank you for inviting us to share. In the midst of your questioning and struggling I am encouraged and blessed, for it is evidence that you are “in” relationship with God…you are continuing in your pursuit of Him...you want that relationship restored and renewed. My heart hurts that you do not feel Him pursuing you. And so we continue to pray and seek.ReplyDelete
My novel is in two parts because the blog would not allow me to put it all into one entry~! Blah, blah, blah. Bear with me.
BEFORE I LOST VN – WHY I PRAYED
Why Pray. Indeed. Previous to Vienne’s passing, I had prayed with complete faith that “He will do it”…perhaps not in the way I am imagining or would like or in the time I would prefer…but I had trusted that He would answer or show up or arrange circumstances or whatever, in a far better way than I could, in a way that ultimately is best for me, others, the kingdom. I prayed to unleash the Holy Spirit to accomplish things in my life I could not on my own…to reveal things to me and direct my path. And He did. My trust level was high…my faith firm in this. I had seen His hand move many, many times. I prayed non-stop, daily for you and your sister, for your future husbands, that your faith would be tried, and therefore true. I invited God into my life’s circumstances, to partner with me. As well, I asked God to allow me to partner with Him. God honored those prayers. I see my son-in-laws and am so blessed…I see my daughters and their convictions and am so blessed.
God has not always answered my prayers in ways I recognize at the time – but as I looked back, I saw His hand all over it and it was so much better than the way I would have done it. His ways are higher…and often beyond our understanding. I didn’t always “ask” for things…I prayed that I would be refined, that my character would be made more like His – more of Him, less of me. It’s a risky prayer. Often His ways of answering that prayer were not very comfortable, ways that did indeed bring refining – which was needed. And I have always found Him to be so gentle in this. It’s actually discipline – the way we lovingly discipline our children for their benefit. He IS compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and faithful (Exodus 34:6). Sometimes those “answers” were simply consequences of my own ungodly choices which I live with, learn from and walk forward in renewed character. And He chose to use it – turned what the enemy intended for evil and used it for good. I have been made broken bread and consequently, poured out wine, for the benefit of others, for God’s glory. And I’m grateful for that. There really is no other redeeming value than that I could minister to others from my own brokenness and pain, for others benefit. That has brought healing for them…& for me.
AFTER I LOST VN – WHY I PRAYReplyDelete
After Vienne passed I could not pray at all, I could not approach the throne…angry, confused, in unbearable pain. In one instant my intimacy with my Savior was dashed, my faith utterly destroyed. It was not until my soul reached desperation for relief from maddening thots that consumed me, from such excruciating pain that I could not breathe, from a longing in the depths of my being to reconnect to my Creator, my Life Source, the One for whom my heart truly does long, the One I believed & trusted in the past – even if I do not understand Him or His ways right now – even if I do not completely trust Him. For me, I had to take steps to return to what I KNEW to be true of God-that He loves me, He weeps with me, He intends good & not evil. That He is God…and I am not (I had lost humility in the midst of my anger). This is what ushered me back to prayer…desperation. However difficult at times, I am clinging to what I KNOW of God’s character…not what I feel. Though yes, I still have a very hard time wrapping my broken heart around what I know of God. But my pain & brokenness is for our loss, the could-have, should-have beens, for your excruciating pain-but not for where I believe Vienne to be right now–in the presence of her Maker, her Jesus, the One she loved so much...safe from this world and it’s many woes. Though I feel completely ripped off, I know she is ok.
So, I began to pray again because I HAD to. Also, I believe God honors our prayers as we intercede on behalf of those who cannot yet & I felt a firm pressing on my heart to get praying-for you, for Mark, for Ivy-for God’s provision in every way-for your heart to reconnect with His-for Him to SHOW UP! And I have seen answers. He has surrounded you with His people, His hand has moved swiftly in matters, He has provided in many ways. I have to believe that where I don’t see Him right now, where He seems silent, He will show up. I also have to wonder if I am missing it or not recognizing His presence at times–am I looking for something when it is right in front of me and I just don’t see it? Then SHOW ME LORD!–in a way I can see it-in a way Jenny can perceive it! I have to believe He will show up for you, my sweet girl. I will continue to pray such–that He will show you how He is pursuing you.
“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord”.
Why didn’t God intervene & bring Vienne back? Why didn't God intervene & save Megan? Yes, their circumstances were very different. But the fact remains, He could have intervened. I do not know & probably won’t until we are face to face with Jesus, as utterly unfair & frustrating as that feels. I have to believe that somehow this was God protecting them in ways we cannot see. His ways are higher-I know that. There is no sense to it in our hearts & minds. These are the things I have had to wrestle with & there is still plenty of wrestling.
I do a lot of arguing with God when I read His word (“You say this and that, Lord…so why? It doesn’t line up in my heart”) I go to church for the message, but the praise & worship part is really, really tough. I simply cannot enter in yet. I stand mute & listen to the words. Sometimes I don’t like the words. Other times my heart feels calmed & ministered to in truth. My intimacy with God has yet to be restored.
That’s why I pray. Not to remove my pain, not to “get me through this”, not to understand this. But to have intimacy & trust restored from head knowledge to heart knowledge. I pray, interceding for you & Mark & Ivy, because HIStory has shown me that God does listen & that prayer can move His hand. And I pray because prayer changes me.
Mama ~ I love you so much. Do you even know how much??!!Delete
Thank you this...for taking the time to share all of this. You taught me to be real and open and honest...as seen in your very own sharing of your testimony.
Your willingness to stand in the trenches and pray on my behalf, when I cannot leaves me speechless. I learn to be a good Mom from you, my ever selfless loving Mama.
You have given me much to stew on and process. I know that I am not hopelessly lost. And I know that my questioning shows hope. I do have hope. I do know that I will get back to that place and I hope that when I do, I will feel a stronger bond with Jesus than I have ever felt before. Right now, I just want to understand everything before I take the plunge. I need to ask all of my difficult questions. I need to be open about my skepticism...all of which I know you support and encourage. Thank you for walking by my side, though this, forever and ever.
I love you to the moon and back. xoxoxo
Jenny - this is WHY I love your mom so much. She is incredible! What a beautiful writer. What a beautiful story. God is writing a beautiful story with you too Jenny. Some day we'll see more than this chapter steeped in grief and despair. Praying for you.Delete
Oh my gosh. How I forgot to add this one, I do not know. Another reason I pray - the main reason I pray - and this one is HUGE - is because the devil hates it. He cringes at the name of Jesus and He flees when I stand against him with the authority given me by being in Christ. I know this to be true. I have seen it in my life and I cannot stand by idle and risk him gaining any realestate in this.ReplyDelete
You are such an amazing mama, Grammy. God has gifted you with much wisdom and love. Amen to this post!!Delete
I’ve read your blog for a little while now. My husband, JP, and I got to know Mark when we worked in CB and I met you briefly at Adam’s wedding in December. You guys have been on my mind, in my heart, and in my prayers. Your question, “Why do you pray?” is so profound. I started to journal about it, but you have been so courageous in sharing who you are in this blog, that I thought I should write here. I’m in awe of the grace-filled words your mother shared. Her prayer story makes God’s work seem more real and understandable to me than any theological statement or pious Christian platitude ever will.
I guess I have to start with the question “What makes prayer hard?” because I feel like such a beginner in this part of my Christian walk. Like you, I know the lingo. I could write a list of reasons to pray that would make me sound like the good pastor’s wife I’m supposed to be, but it seems so dishonest to try to pass on what God hasn’t made true in your heart, doesn’t it? To be honest, I have to say I don’t get prayer and I don’t get God’s work in our world. Sometimes faithful people are healed from sickness and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes parents get to watch their children grow up and sometimes, like you and Mark, they’re cruelly robbed of that chance. Suffering that seems so senseless shatters my trust in God and nothing makes me want to run from a relationship faster than shattered trust. I know there are “sound theological” (blah!), Christian-ish answers to be had, but those are really only good for my head. In fact, they often make me angry. “Answers” don’t touch my heart and I need Jesus to be Lord of my heart.
So, why do I pray? I guess it’s because I have this overwhelming sense that I need to be in relationship with God and the only way to be in that relationship is to talk to Him – even when I’m angry and even when I’m empty (although it’s hardest then). So, I’m still praying - for the sake of a relationship in which I struggle to trust and struggle to rest and in the hope that Jesus can and will be real in my heart and not just in my head. And I pray for you, Mark and Ivy because this relationship with God means that I have sisters and brothers in Him. I know I can’t touch the pain and grief you experience, but I pray because I believe (though don’t begin to understand how) God can.
- Mary Alice Carlson
Jenny, I so appreciate your honest heart here. This made me really think about why I pray, verses, just doing it as something I know I need to do.ReplyDelete
Prayer, for me, is a way to communicate my biggest fears, greatest gratitudes, and express my love to someone that loves me more than I can begin to imagine.
There have been times where I have felt so, so distant from God and I didn't pray. There have been times where I have been hurt so badly and I couldn't understand why it happened to me and I just cried out to Him knowing He would listen and He knew my heart, yet I was so mad at Him. In the times I wouldn't pray I felt even more distant and more alone. When I began to pray again I felt His presence around me more and that is what I needed. That taught me to not, not pray. I need it. I pray not only because He asks us to, but because I need a Heavenly Father, Abba, to talk to. I know that no one knows my thoughts, my feelings and my heart better than Him. So, I pray to Him and trust He listens. And I know He does. I believe prayer makes a difference in my life and those I pray for. Also, I never want to give the devil a foothold so that makes me want to pray even more. When I realize something is under attack it makes me want to talk to God immediately. I know evil can not stand up to Him.
I am again so glad you asked this question to us. Very good to think about.
Praying for you.
Thank you for sharing, Brendel. I appreciate reading your heart.Delete
I didn't realize that I had posted such a probing question....I'm glad to know it is making people think as much as it is making me think.
This is Camille (Biggs) from back when you worked at Cornerstone for a year just before you met Mark. I commented on here once before and explained that I heard about your sweet Vienne from Becky's fb page. Since then I've been reading your blog pretty regularly. Your Vienne was just beautiful! Breathtakingly beautiful! I think about her often and for what it's worth it reminds me that life is brief and to make the most of every moment.
Anyway, you asked why we pray so here's my response. John 15:5 says, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." So, how I see it is that prayer (and Bible reading) is simply a matter of "abiding". It's how we go about having a relationship with God. The verse also tells us that if we abide in him, we will bear fruit. Obviously this is the fruit of the Spirit. When we abide in him, we have flowing out of us his love, joy, peace, and so on. We cannot produce those things on our own. In fact, according to this verse, apart from him we can do nothing so that would make it pretty hard. It is only when we abide in him that the Holy Spirit supernaturally manifests his fruit in our lives.
My dear sweet sister, I will not pretend to understand the pain you must be going through. But Jesus does. He is able to sympathize with your weaknesses - whatever they may be (Heb 4:15). Let me encourage you to continue to make time for your daily Bible reading and prayer. As you are faithful to abide in him, his Holy Spirit WILL revitalize you.
Thank you for your thought-filled reply, Camille. I truly appreciate it.Delete
It is very good to hear from you. I think I do remember a comment you left a while back and I sincerely apologize if I was unable to respond to it back then. Thank you so much for continuing to read and pray and think of us.
As I've been praying that God would "Show up" and reveal Himself to you in ways you can perceive, I have found myself ushered right into worship songs...another way of praying. These are for you, my daughter:ReplyDelete
"Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see you...I want to see you"
"Show me Your glory, send down Your presence, I wanna see Your face. Show me Your glory, majesty shines about You, I can't go on without You..."
"Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by Your presence, Lord."
I love you, Mama.Delete
I don't really have a reason to add that hasn't already been mentioned. I pray for connection with God mostly, and because I think I am a noticeably better person when I am praying. I would like to instead share my experience with prayer after my Dad died (not to compare, I know losing a child is very different, but just as my experience with grief.) Maybe it will be meaningful to you in some way.
After my Dad died, I was very angry with God. And while my faith in Him never wavered, I was not able to pray or read my Bible for a while. Eventually, God brought me peace. I wasn't praying for it, for a while I didn't think it was possible. Even now I can't explain it, and it has never meant that I stopped missing my Dad or that I stopped wishing he hadn't died, but yet God still brought me peace.
I am not sure when, but eventually when I was able to look back at that time when I was unable to pray, I was surprised to see that I grew closer to God during that time than in any other before or since. My intimacy with Him and trust in Him increased, in a time when I wasn't even praying. I now believe that I was actually praying the whole time, just in a different way than I had known was possible before. I hope this ends up being true for you as well.
I will be praying that God meets you, and Mark in a tangible way. I also believe that we serve a God of peace, and that His peace will come inexplicably, in His time, and that it won't be scary when it comes. My love to you Jenny.
Sarah (Covington) Nichols
I just came across your blog. My heart aches to hear of your pain.ReplyDelete
I have experienced the frustration in not feeling like my Father in Heaven was hearing or answering my prayers. The time in my life that stands out the most was when my youngest brother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in an accident while playing. He was in a coma for about 18 hours before he passed and like you, many, many prayers were offered on his behalf. When he passed I was angry. I could not understand why so many others could have miracles, but we could not. It was not an easy journey for me, but I now have 20 plus years perspective and feel at peace. (I have for a while now) I know in my heart that his mission here on earth was complete. Just know that it may take time, perhaps a long time to feel at peace. There is no set time table. Every person grieves and heals in different ways.
As far as prayer, and why I pray. I pray to talk to my Father in Heaven. Just as our father here on earth longs to hear how we are doing, our Father above longs to hear how we are doing. I know that he knows all that I need in life, he is just waiting for me to ask. I have struggled at times in my life with the faith part of prayer. Do I have the faith to accept His will in my life. That is something that I work on every day of my life. There days when my faith is strong and others when it is not.
When I am not strong I try and and say a prayer only of thanks, not asking for anything in return. It humbles me and helps me realize the blessings I have received and that my Father in Heaven is aware of me and is a part of my life.
I hope this doesn't sound preachy, I went back and forth about whether I should respond because it is not my intention to hurt you. Your family will be included in my prayers.
PS This is off subject, but my family also loves Cannon Beach. We try and spend time there each time we are in Oregon. It is beautiful.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience. I appreciate the perspective. I hope that I can come to that place, soon enough...being able to humble myself to offer a simple thanks, even.ReplyDelete
And, you were not preachy, at all. I appreciated your thoughts and your personal story. It cannot be preachy when it comes from a personal experience.
Thank you, again.
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