Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Gift of Prayer - Reclaimed

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Do you pray? Are your prayers limited to formulaic “Now I lay me down to sleep,” sorts of offerings? Is prayer intensely personal or only something you do in very desperate, pivotal life moments? Has prayer ever abandoned you?

My boys will tell you that in the worst of homeless times, we devoted any time we were alone to prayer. If the wheels on our car were rolling, I was praying with them. When Son #1 begged me not to pray because life only got worse when I prayed, I prayed on. I could not foresee a day when prayer would abandon me and I prayer.

I once ended grace before a meal with the words, “Okay! See you later!” After which, I began chatting with a friend and eating. Till I saw the stunned look on her face. As we both burst out laughing, I asked, “Did I just say . . . ?”

She replied, “Yes. I thought, 'My! She really is on good terms with him, isn't she?' ” Even today, the memory makes me laugh right out loud.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Given those realities, you might think I have always been able to abandon myself to the discipline of prayer. You'd be dead wrong. In the dark, dark days I did pray. Not for myself or my family but for others. I had no words left when it came to my life. I was spent. I hoped others were praying for me while I prayed for them.

In that time of devotion to others, I would waken in the wee hours and call out names of friends and family. If I knew of situations causing pain, confusion, or despair, I'd lift those up too. When sleep refused to come, I'd flip on the computer and begin to jot notes to those for whom I prayed. I might not know if anyone was praying for me, but at least friends knew when and how I prayed for them.

I often wondered, “Does anyone see me? Is there anyone left who cares? Does God ever call me to someone's mind and spur them to pray for me?” If I wondered those things, others might too. So, I'd jot my notes of reassurance, “You are not forgotten. I see you in your pain.” Sleep would finally come even tho' rest did not.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I began to think of myself as an intercessory prayer warrior. I was not proud nor preening in that role. It was the desperate act of a desperate soul. Into those long days of desperation came a note that silenced me. After it came, the only time I prayed was with my boys and then minus the warrior's heart which formerly typified my prayers.

The day came when I received a reply filled with flip nonchalance. My prayers for this family were appreciated but not necessary at all. Thank you very much. I sat stupefied knowing the gentleman's immediate family had endured public disgrace and enduring crises on an ongoing  basis. His rebuff came as a crippling slap to my soul.

The middle of the night prayers and notes were no more. Instead I sat in silence. I was not God's head cheerleader. I had adjusted to that reality. I had decided that if I couldn't fulfill that role, I could be a prayer warrior. After all, even the Bible encouraged everyone to that role! Now it was plain. I couldn't even be a prayer warrior.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Maybe I gave up too easily? By the day I received the, “Thanks but no thanks,” note re my prayers, it didn't take a lot to silence me. In the years since, I have prayed only when asked. My soul felt hollow. I felt lost.

When I least expected it, I found my prayer 'mojo' again. While I was at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference, I took a non-fiction class. The students included a number of ladies young enough to be my daughters.

Yesterday, as I was reflecting over the week away, I thought of those 'girls'. Before I knew it, I found myself praying those middle-of-the-night kinds of prayers in broad daylight. I call them my “Monday Girls” because I decided to hover over them in prayer on Mondays. I had made the decision before I knew there was a decision to be made.

In one of the bravest acts of courage this fraidy cat has ever exhibited, I went out on a limb. I sent them a note telling them of my prayers. I told them they are my “Monday Girls”. I did not tell them how fearful I was to contact them and make such a bold and uninvited proclamation. I did not tell them I cried after I hit the send button because I was so scared of rejection. Truth be known, I did.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Just as I began to kick myself for falling down the same old rabbit hole believing God had a role for me no matter what life experience tells me, notes began trickling back. Kind and gracious notes thanking me for my gift of prayer and promising prayers for me as well.

It was as if someone spoke up and said, “Welcome home, fraidy cat. Sure are glad you're back.”

Love you long and strong. If you are a fraidy cat, my prayers have hovered over you for a year now. It's a scary place out there. We fraidy cats have to stick together! Come back soon and bring a friend?

Courtesy B. Creasy
1 Timothy 2: 1-2 (The  Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. 



  1. Well twin, once again I am amazed at how alike we really are!! Isn't funny how refection can really know you down? I am so glad that you got your prayer mojo back. Know this! I have and still continue to pray for you. I am proud of you, and very happy to call you my friend. Love you!

  2. LOL...you're typing on your 'smart' phone, aren't you! ;-) I am so thankful for you,your prayers, and your abiding friendship. I need all 3 of you!

  3. I love this, Carol! I need to get my "mojo" back when it comes to praying...

  4. Ashely, I have a group of writer/bloggers that I call my "Monday Girls". Like you, they are young enough to be my dtrs. May I add you to that list? I pray for them specifically on Mondays and inbox them via f/b. I can tweet you if you don't want to go the f/b route! ((praying for your mojo))

  5. I would be honored to be included on your list, Carol Anne! Twitter would probably be best - feel free to DM me. :)

  6. I think the greatest gift is when someone prays for me. I feel humbled and honored that someone would take the time to lift my name to my Creator in prayer. There have been times in my life where the prayers of others have carried me when my own strength was gone. I am forever grateful and try to pray for others to help them thru their trials, too. This song by Jason Gray is my favorite! I bought his CD after seeing him in concert recently, and I play this when I'm driving and I crank it loud. Love it!