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Have you ever heard of someone described as a prayer warrior? Probably used far too often, it is something that my Mom excels at. My brother Ben used to joke that he has found about 10 wallets because my Mom prayed that he would (including one that fell through a hole in the floorboards of his old beat-up truck and was returned by some random motorist). I got a letter from my Mom this week that says "What a resource prayer is - how awesome the power and privilege of prayer!" and then goes on to talk about the 50 million prayer requests that come from having 7 kids (add in another 6 in-laws) and 11 grand-kids.
The thing about my Mom is that she says something like that and backs it up, shows with the many hours on her knees that she believes it. I far too often say I believe in the power of prayer and offer up selfish prayers or none at all on any given day. Do you do the same thing? Far too often my view of God is full of the right things in my head and that distance from head to heart is a couple hundred miles. My experience this week taught me, yet again, how much I have to learn about trusting God and having a right view of him. Turns out, as I learned, when you get your view of God right, it doesn't simply fix the situations and conflicts in life, but it takes away the anxiety that comes from being a selfish punk and trying to fix it all myself.
When I was a senior at Miami University, I remember a leadership team meeting for Campus Crusade for Christ. In a time of confession (which was absolutely beautiful and soul-baring, but that's another story), one of the kids confessed that he was simply having a hard time trusting God that God could or would heal his Mom, who had a debilitating stroke. As he broke down, he asked for prayer (or maybe one of us asked if we could pray for him, I don't remember which) and so we all gathered around him and began to pray. I opened up and starting praying for my friend Pat, that he might be able to trust God. I realized as I was praying for him, I didn't believe a word I was saying. I was just saying empty words, not believing they would have any impact.
Have you ever been at that point where you just break? I am not a guy who cries a lot, maybe averaging one good cry a year, but I just broke. I was done with putting up the Christian facade, the happy face that trusting God was easy and if I prayed in a solemn, serious and somewhat passionate voice, that I could convince others, that I could convince myself, that I actually believed what I was praying. What should have been a prayer for Pat turned into a confession to the Lord that I wasn't believing Him for His promises. I didn't have anything profound to say and I didn't have answers. As tears poured down my face and my voice cracked, I simply told God I was having trouble trusting Him. I told him that I didn't really believe what I was saying at the time. I asked for help. And I finished praying without a tidy resolution.
The circumstances didn't change. As far as I know, Pat's Mom is still having a rough go of things. Prayers dont always get answered and I sometimes get scared to pray them. My doubts and insecurities and attempts to put up a mask still creep in. But in that moment, and many subsequent moments, my heart was refreshed, was breathed into, was lightened. Honesty can do that to you, especially when it is honesty in front of my Creator. Who am I kidding anyway? He already knows whats in my heart. I need to operate with a right view of God every day, every moment of everyday. When I take a minute to step back and take in the sunset, thanking him for his glory and holiness, it puts Him on the level He should be and me on my level, which is much lower than His. And it once again helps me believe, let go, and fall into His arms.