Early ~ very early ~ in my relationship with God, I thought I was supposed to pray every night before going to sleep. It was what I was taught. It was ritualistic in a way, as so much in religion is, but the hidden gem in it shines on relationship. That’s what God wants. He created us for relationship.
Think about that.
He created us, each of us individually, with a hope, while knowing already whether or not we would love Him back. That we would desire that relationship. In His hope, He has patience. I’m thankful. Because those “things” I learned were just seeds planted. But mighty beautiful seeds, indeed.
It was a fine start ~ to pray once per day at bedtime ~ but not nearly enough. Not. Nearly. Enough.
As I matured, I noticed God working in my life… but I did not really appreciate the depth of His guidance.
Later in life, during my early twenties, I started to be amazed at what God did for me even though I thought, deep inside my mind, that I was incredibly unworthy. I did not really appreciate the depth of His Grace.
I had not understood that His Grace was a gift that had steadily kept my head above the rushing waters. I had been doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted; thinking it was all “ok” as long as I still prayed now and then.
Those nighttime prayers.
My eureka moment came not long after I got married. Later in my late twenties I had a revelation…well, I guess you could say a true epiphany.
God patiently waited for the perfect time that my head would come above the water and I would take the breath that made me SEE.
I finally did just that. It was the year I turned 27. I remember what happened vividly like it was just yesterday. That was the year that God said…
turn off the tv and LISTEN to me…
tune out the world and HEAR me…
And I did. Those “nighttime” prayers weren’t just for me to talk and ask and request… they were for me to LISTEN. And LEARN. And LOVE.
They were meant for much more than nighttime. They were for LIGHT time. They were meant for ALL the time.
Not only did He work a miracle of gigantic proportions in my life that year, but my head came above water and stayed there!
It suddenly came clear to me that this was not about a prayer in a time of need and some thanks along the way. It was all about living in prayer.
I started to think about God in a different way. I knew that if He were literally standing beside me in my life on this earth, He would be incredibly sad that I didn’t talk to Him as much as I talk to family and friends. I had always called Him a friend, but I was starting to see the truth.
I called on Him only at certain times – that nightly prayer and the distress prayer during a terrible day. I did praise Him and thank Him on many occasions but there was certainly something missing in my life.
It was the simple realization that I should be LIVING in prayer that changed it from religion to relationship for me. It really is that simple.
I don’t mean praying more times a day.
I don’t mean formalities of praying certain things.
I don’t even mean scheduled prayer.
living every day ~ all day, 24/7~ in a way that is wholly and holy the Lord’s.
I mean turning to your divine friend who understands every thought you have.
I got out of my head and sunk my soul into an eternal truth:
“What could bring me closer to God and make my life infinitely better than simply relying on Him for my peace every second I breathe?”
I urge you to try it and in no time your outlook regarding everything will change for the better. It is all a choice. You will know that you do not belong to this world, so why should the worldly things affect you in a detrimental way?
Things won’t go perfect because He clearly tells us that in His Word. This world has the repercussions of sin that we must deal with – our own and others.
But I promise you, if you make it your life’s purpose to befriend the Lord, then it will be your nature, your true created nature, to praise Him in every second of your life. It will be the personal relationship you need to succeed. That hope He had in creating you will bloom into the eternal love you were meant to experience.
I know His love intimately. I speak with Him throughout my days. I listen to Him.
~ I stand at the kitchen sink and pause…
“I love you God. Thank you for the beauty of your world.”
~ While I am driving my mind turns to Him…
“Thank you, Father, for loving me first. Thank you for my life.”
~ When I look at my child, I am thanking God for the joy I have in watching her beautiful light shine while she gives it her ALL for Him.
~ Doing the laundry, I thank Him for the guidance He provided in a seemingly everyday decision, but an important one for our family.
~ As I noticed the item I went to the store to purchase was on sale significantly to give a real blessing to our tight financial budget I would say…
“Thank you, Father, for you know our needs.”
~ When my child, at age 4 told me, “Mommy, don’t worry about the Christmas tree. God is watching over us,” I told Him, “Thank you so much!” I was worried that the 7 foot Christmas tree that had a leaning problem and had to be tied to the wall would just give way to gravity. It towered above my little one, so I tied it down even more. But God told her to remind me of who was in control!
And He showed me that she was LIVING in PRAYER.
I listen for His voice in everything.
As we walk through our homes in a rush to get the laundry going, the clothing put away, the meat in the fridge to thaw for dinner, things ready for the next day… talk to God during the midst of all that. Listen for His voice. Praise Him through joy and a smile.
I love to think about how God has planned every step in my life and how even when I made a wrong turn or a mistake He waited patiently again for me to find that path He had already laid out. I will be the first to admit that on my path through life I have taken some REALLY long routes that later turned out to be a diversion. If only I had stayed on His path it would have been so much shorter and easier. And the tide would have not seemed so large.
Be keenly aware of His presence at all times; make it a point to be… want to be. Appreciate every second He has given you. Live in thankfulness and peace. Life gets hard and tough, but if you turn to Him immediately it gets easier every time to do as He knows best.
I just can’t forget what He has done for me. I just can’t forget my truest Friend.
Be LOVED, Beloved,