For as long as I can remember, I have prayed that God would make me a woman of prayer. I want to be a prayer warrior. I have suffered no little guilt over having a less-than-powerful prayer life. I have wondered why it is so much more difficult to spend time with the Lord than, say, with a magazine, or a movie, or any other inane thing. Why does prayer take so much out of me, instead of being a time of refreshing?
I have not seen this prayer answered, and I have wondered at God’s silence.
I have also spent much of my time in prayer hoping that my faith would not be found lacking. Trying hard to find the faith I need to believe God for the things I am asking. Scraping together the bits and pieces lying about my mind and heart to make a mustard seed’s worth.
I admire people with faith. I admire people who love the Lord completely, irrationally, miraculously, violently. I used to think they were born that way. They just…had it. And maybe, if I would just try harder, I could have a tiny fraction too. If I could just be more obedient. More structured, more scheduled, more regimented.
Lately, I’ve been increasingly certain that I’ve got things backwards. It occured to me, with the thunderclap of realization that usually accompanies God’s voice, that the only way to be a Woman Of Prayer was to first be a Woman In Love With Her Lord.Don’t get me wrong. I love the Lord. He’s My Creator, the Reason I’m Here Today, the Preserver of My Life, My Deliverer, My Healer, and My Best Friend. Why wouldn’t I be in love with Him? Well, why wouldn’t I?
Maybe because my heart has no capacity for it.
Sure, I love Him. But I’m not in love with Him. Not in love enough to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed at the hour ungodly enough for me to have uninterrupted time with Him. Not in love enough to turn to Him first when things go awry. Not in love enough for Him to be the first one I think of to thank when things go well.
Not in love, it would seem, at all.
But along with this revelation came the stunning realization that instead of trying to conjure up what I did not have, I could pray for a heart that loves Him best. I could stop praying to be a prayer warrior, and start to simply pray for Him to give me a new heart. A heart of flesh to replace this heart of stone. A heart that loves Him to the exclusion of all else, because if I could have that heart, all else would find its place in Him.
And prayer would have the preeminence I have always wanted it to have.
And faith? Instead of wasting time trying to drum it up, I could pray for that too. It’s not something static, faith. It’s not a one-time offer, an act-now-or-lose-your-chance deal. God’s storehouse is not closed and shuttered after birth. The windows are open and ready to pour. I just have to ask.
James 1:5 tells us unequivocably that if we lack wisdom, we can ask it of God and He will give it, generously. I never expected to be wise without asking. I just never thought it could apply to other areas as well.
And so, as the new year begins, I will pray in ways I never prayed before. For things I never thought to pray for. And that’s my only resolution.
The year is new.
Can I be too?
in fires true?
The clay is dry
afraid to try.
But come and shake
although I quake
a better shape.
The fire’s hot
for ore and pot
but not for naught.
Although You break
You heal and wake
for true love’s sake.