Disclaimer: This may be not be as eloquent as I want it to be. Not only am I out of practice with this blogging thing [it’s been THREE years], my thoughts are pretty jumbled up.
Today I cried. Truthfully, to know me is to know I cry at least once everyday for one reason or another simply because I’m a sap, moreover a woman (thanks a lot, estrogen 😒). I cry for several reasons: because I’m happy, because I’m sad, because Curtis Taylor, Jr. started sleeping with Deena Jones and left a pregnant Effie White stranded to raise Magic (and her book) all alone, and because “this time Effie White’s gonna (uh uh) win” (I’m a sucker for happy endings). But today I cried for two specific reasons: because my friend was in pain, and because I prayed to God and KNEW He heard me.
Here’s the scenario…
I have spent the greater portion of today doing what I do best: being there. I take great pride in being a friend, giving love, and helping in any way that I can, so much so one friend has already crowned me “Friend of the Year.” As honored as I am (and I have prepared an acceptance speech), I’m not a friend for any recognition, pleasant compliments, or even for the favor to be returned. Again, I take pride in being a friend. I guess God gave me an extra dose of “giver” since He didn’t give me the body I wanted…. 😒 But I digress… I sat by my friend’s side, holding her hand and wiping her tears as she had to endure not just physical pain but emotional pain. Though I held a solid face, inside I was crying with her. I had been praying that God would intervene and make “this” easier, but it seemed as if maybe He couldn’t hear me. Maybe I hadn’t “packaged” my prayer correctly. That thought wasn’t acceptable. All I knew was my friend didn’t have the strength to pray so I HAD to pray. [Ladies and gentlemen, that’s what we call intercession — I pray for you when you can’t pray for you.] So I began to softly sing a song…
“Jesus, Jesus how I trust you; how I prove you o’er and o’er. Jesus, Jesus; Precious Jesus. Oh, for grace to trust Him more.”
Standing in the presence of two perfect strangers who didn’t understand why in that moment I chose to sing (of all things to do), I sang from my heart to God on behalf of my friend. I sang and sang and sang until it clicked. I sang until my internal tears streamed down my cheeks. I sang until I felt the God’s presence and until what I was praying for “happened.” Before long the two strangers could see the connection between the song that whispered from my lips and what was happening in the room, and one said, “Keep singing.” In that moment, I was SURE that God heard me. In that moment, God answered.
“But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.”
Psalm 66: 19-20 [New Living Translation]
I grew up in a Pentecostal/holiness church that gave us a “rubric” for praying. Though I learned how to talk to God, there seemed to be a prerequisite: come boldly before the throne of grace and as humbly as you know how (that could be confusing); don’t ask for too much but since He’s on the mainline, tell Him what you want (WHAT?); don’t question God but ask for wisdom (ugh!). Don’t get it twisted, I’m not knocking what I learned, I’ve just found that some of my most effective prayers didn’t fit that template. When I really need Him all I may be able say/cry/scream is “God, HELP ME!” In this moment of pain with my friend, I didn’t have time to give honor to God, the pastor, saints and friends. I didn’t have time to eloquently string together a religious soliloquy, and honestly I didn’t trust my brain to think of the correct things to say. I did what I best knew how to do…I followed my heart, I sang to God, and I believed He would hear me. Once I was sure that I had His attention, I kept praying.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Sometimes there isn’t a “right way” to talk to God and trying to find the “right way” could keep you from praying altogether. I’ll be honest enough to admit that I have missed some chats with Him because I couldn’t figure out how He wanted to hear my prayer. I have second guessed that He’d understand what I was trying to say. But why? The Bible tells us that He knows our thoughts a far off (Psalm 139:2); He already knows everything we want to say anyway! There are times that you have to put the formalities to the side and go for what you know…period. For me, singing (and apparently crying) taps into the sentiments of my heart. Someone else may be most expressive through his/her instrument, tears (like me), poetry, etc. However you do it, just do it. Follow your heart and find a way to make a connection with God. There may be others near you depending on it, just like my friend and the two strangers. Your prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent, just sincere. Go ahead…He’s listening…
(I don’t think I did a great job of conveying what was really on my heart; I promise to do better next time when I’ve consumed more calories in the day.)