I have always prayed for others, uttered requests for healing, peace, all the things that people ask me to pray about. But when it came to praying for myself, well I didn’t do a lot of that. I thought that the power to pray for others was mighty and powerful, but foolishly, praying for myself and my needs, not so much. If I had something that needed prayer I always depended on others to do the praying for me.
As I have recently learned, it’s something that was programmed in to the very center of my being a long time ago. We don’t have control over those things when we are young, but when we are adults, we can surely do a lot about them. Not ourselves, but we can ask God to deliver us from those pre-programmed responses. I’m learning that I have ridiculous ideas of God that are centered around human failings. God doesn’t have those human failings. He can listen to each of His children, hear all of us, heal all of us, take care of the demons plaguing us. Get this, He can do it all, for all of us, at the same moment. You holler out and I do too, at the same time, and God can handle us both! Along with a billion others. I don’t remember where I saw this idea, but I can guarantee you that God does not have file cabinets, message boards, and “will calls” covering the walls of the throne room. Okay, some of you may think that is a little sacrilegious to even imply that He might, but seriously, how many times have our finite minds gone to the thought process of asking, “How God does keep track?” He just does, after all, He’s God.
So, I am learning to pray for myself. Yes, asking others for prayer is good, it’s good to have the agreement, but let’s say you don’t want your friends to know the crazy things that burden you right at the moment, take them straight to the foot of the cross, lay them down. You can ask for deliverance, healing…you name it, He’s got your back. There is no way He’s going to let you suffer. In fact, I’m learning that the majority of the time I am not getting through because I am not in the mode of receiving what He’s got for me.
I’m also learning that prayer doesn’t need to be formal. We get into a place when we pray, especially at meals where we always say the same things. I don’t even know if we really mean what we say sometimes, it just becomes something we say, something we do. I have practiced praying with my eyes open and praying like I’m talking to God across the table from me. Still not comfortable with my eyes open, I get distracted, but I’m still working on it. There are times when I feel like I need to close my eyes, other times not so much.
The point is, it takes time to learn. Praying takes practice. There are times when we all need to be face down calling out to God. Times when we can be standing up raising our hands, or whispering in the quiet places. Then there are the times that we have no words at all. Learning that these are acceptable and valuable is an amazing thing.
I’m learning to pray, learning to hear what He has for me, see what He has for me. That is a crucial thing for growth, for discovering who God has made you to be. I don’t know why it’s taken so long, but I’m glad that it’s happening the way it is. I don’t think I would have been able to handle it all if it had happened any other way or at any other time in my life.