Some things are harder for some of us than for others. There are plenty of things I struggle with, but prayer is no longer one of them. (Well—most of the time anyway!)
In my 20s, once I learned from those older and wiser that God really does want us to ask and seek and cry out to Him in prayer, I started doing just that. I was a young wife in the ministry, with my whole life ahead of me, looking forward to being a mom and building a home, etc., etc.
I got off to a slow start. But once I started seeing things happen because I had prayed, momentum increased. Ever so slowly, but ever so surely.
Of course, there were times when I stumbled.
I would pray, but then I’d get impatient and give up.
I’d pray, but then I’d worry.
Or I’d start to doubt, or just forget to pray.
Then there were times when the answers weren’t anything like what I prayed for. My confidence slipped… my zeal sputtered…
Other Christians told me how exciting it is to live by faith—to take our needs and requests to God and watch Him provide. I wanted to believe them. But the answers to my prayers were slow in coming. Up to that point my experiences with prayer produced more frustration than enthusiasm.
Because I felt so needy, though, I kept going to God with my lists of requests, my fears, my concerns, and my inadequacies. I read about men and women who gained strength by admitting their weaknesses and depending on God. I began really looking at God’s promises. And I kept believing.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers. – I Peter 3:12 (and Psalm 34:15)
Little by little, my faith started growing. Although, one day I’d be full of great faith, and the next day, it would shrink to practically nothing. But in those early years, the more I called on God for help and the more He answered, the more I kept asking.
Sometimes it even got exciting.
Like in our younger married years when my grocery budget was a lot smaller than it is now. And I needed a ham for Easter dinner. I went to the store with the lowest sale price on hams. But there weren’t any I could afford. Did I know to ring the buzzer and ask the butcher for a smaller one?
Nope. But I knew how to pray. I finished the rest of my shopping, and went back to look for a ham.
God didn’t scold me for not knowing what to do. He just nudged the butcher to take a few more hams out to the meat department—including one that fit my budget!
And my faith grew.
When we needed a car, we prayed about it. We had borrowed other people’s cars for several months. After Ron got a new job we decided it was time to buy one. And we prayed. We found a good used Datsun, and while discussing the terms with the salesman, we tried to keep the monthly payments affordable. But somehow those figures inflated by the time we signed the papers.
All the way home I thought, Oh no! I forgot about insurance! We can’t afford a car payment and insurance! We won’t have money for groceries! We’ll starve! Funny how I had so much faith at the start of the day, but by dinnertime, my faith was nonexistent.
That night Ron and I talked and prayed. By the end of the week a lady in our church called to offer him a part-time landscaping job! Yay! We could pay for the car, pay the insurance and still have money for groceries (to feed us and our growing boy)!
Those were the days.
Even as I sit here writing this it sounds so simple—almost juvenile. Our budget isn’t as tight as it used to be. But I still have needs and opportunities to pray.
Yeah, my requests were childish at times—maybe they still are. (I am God’s child, after all… and I’ve been told He actually prefers childlike faith.)
Other times, though, they were intensely serious. When God kept nudging me to ask and seek and pray, I took His advice.
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart… – Luke 18:1
Today after 34 years of married ups and downs and highs and lows and twists and turns, I still pray. Even more than I did then. My faith has grown over the years, but life’s challenges have gotten bigger, too. Requiring more faith, and revealing more inadequacies and more neediness. Today, I can honestly say, this life of faith and answered prayer has become exciting. (Notice, I didn’t say, easy.)
I still pray about simple things that are only important to me…
I still ask for ordinary, everyday things for those I love…
And I still seek God’s face on the really critical things that can only be handled by Divine intervention.
I have discovered, He answers them all. Because God delights in my coming to Him to ask, to seek, to pray.
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know (are beyond our comprehension). – Jeremiah 33:3