My son teased once (at least I think he was teasing… but, maybe not):
Mom, your answer to every problem is, “Eat right and pray hard.”
To some that may be too simplistic. And I apologize. But it does sort of sum up things around our house, I guess. Here’s why:
For physical life—mental and emotional, too, according to current studies—healthy food is best. “Healthy” being defined as, in the condition closest to how God made it: fresh, unadulterated, unprocessed, organic, whole grain, naturally sweetened, highly nutritious, low in sodium, low in bad fats, abundant in good fats, etc., etc. (But this isn’t a food blog, so I’ll move on.)
For the spiritual life—mental and emotional, too, according to the Word—talking to my Abba Father keeps me spiritually healthy. And sane.
I discovered a long time ago, most of my favorite verses are all about prayer.
Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I will pray. My voice you shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. – Psalm 5:2-3
You have given Him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. – Psalm 21:2
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple… Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, Seek my face, my heart said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek. – Psalm 27:4, 7-8
I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears… This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him… Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!… Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing… The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry… The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. – Psalm 34
Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. – Jeremiah 33:3
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord; thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:11-13
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him – Lamentations 3:25
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
These are the promises—the very words from God’s heart—that nudged me in those early years. They are the same promises that keep me moving forward in my not-as-young/older years. One faltering step, one faith-full prayer at a time.
As a young woman, reading about lives of other women who had trusted God and then rejoiced in how He worked specifically for them, I decided to take the plunge. By faith I began looking to Him for every need, every desire, and for His help in every struggle.
It wasn’t easy at first. Actually, praying wasn’t hard. It was the waiting I didn’t like—and trusting when everything and everyone tried to convince me otherwise. My faith was small. My experience was minimal. But I had great hopes.
So I kept praying.
With each sunrise, with every sunset, as the earth revolved, making laps around the sun, those days turned into years… calendar pages were tossed aside, children grew, tears and laughter shared, belongings packed and moved and unpacked, new friendships formed, lessons learned, marriage strengthened, faith increased…
And those years turned into decades—decades of proof that God kept His promises to me then, and He will keep His promises to me now.
To borrow a thought from Charles Spurgeon:
We should not look on past favors from Jesus as something now dead and buried.
Each answered prayer is a seed sown, one that will grow, pushing its head through the dirt, drinking deeply of moisture, reaching for sunlight, and blossoming into the promise of future answers and favors from our eternal Father.
Our only need is to ask.
(Artwork of girl from U.S. Public Domain; photo of Scripture courtesy of Dan Croft)