- Carrie Usmar
Why did I never have time to pray? I'm always too busy… I don’t know what to pray about. I don’t have anything to ask for? I'm doing good right now. Or I just feel like I can’t talk to God because I'm selfish and judgemental and just mean sometimes… One common theme about those questions, its all about ME.
My previous beliefs about prayer.
You have to be in this dark room by yourself alone to pray.
You only pray before meals and bed. (If you even remember)
You have to have your bible..
You have to read your bible and then pray..
You have to go to church.
You have to pray consistently, in order for God to hear you…
He is mad at you because you don’t pray and you don’t know him, so why start.
And again there is just not enough time.
I mostly just don't remember and then say I don't have any time for God.
And one of my favorites is that you have to speak in special way where your prayers flow and you have so much to say about this one person or situation you are praying about. Its really difficult to describe the lingo that comes out of people while they are praying but if you ever happen to attend a prayer session, there are some people that are really good at praying out loud and its intimidating.. (I believe they are honest and mean well and am happy that they are able to do that, I just didn't always understand some of the terminology)
Here's how I pray.. "I pray for Susie to feel better....." (silence) (very long silence) Or "I ask that John can find a job." (Silence). Seriously I just pray it like it is, no fluff, just real..
Do you know how long I searched and asked people about their prayer life? I would ask others, well when do you pray, or how do you find the time, or what do you pray about, I have everything I need.
I got several answers, some I did implement (if I remembered), but I still had this belief you had to consciously sit down and have prayer time or devotional time in order to know God...
Here are my thoughts and suggestions on prayer. I am no expert. But some of these things have changed my relationship with God and I feel closer to him.
1. Thank god in everything for everything….
This is the worst sometimes.. I mean do I really want to thank God for the pain I am enduring, the trials I go through, or for the future pain I will endure? The answer is YES. Because you may not know it but you will learn and grow and take that brokeness and make it stunning.
So, I thank you for my kid getting poop out of her diaper and getting it all over the room.. I thank you God, It taught me patience.
I thank you god for the joy I experience everyday.
I thank you God for being able to help others.
I thank you God for what is happening now and especially what is to come.. Whatever it may be I thank you….
Some days (if I remember) I wake up and first thank God for the day, for what is to come, and acknowledge it is his day and I will follow him and it helps remind me throughout the day.
2. ASK… Just ask.. Its okay to ask for what you want.
I always thought whats the point in asking God for something. I never get it anyway. I’m just not good enough to even ask for anything..
I don’t need anything, I have everything I need.
Or why would he give it to me? Why would he bless me I don't deserve it.
There is always something on your heart… Just ask… He may not answer the way you want or give you what you want but I promise you he will answer.. He is with you always..
Last month, I asked God for a baby. I also asked for twins. (I have never asked God for either, or felt like it was ok to ask because I don't know anyone that would ask for twins, but I would LOVE to have twins and think its just the most amazing beautiful thing)
Anyway, it was an odd month and my chances of concieving were low. But I prayed anyway. Sure enough I got pregnant. It honestly was surprising, and I was excited and so grateful. I reached out to a friend and it turned out she was pregnant too. Very similar timing to me, down to the same week. And I told her I guess our babies are the twins I was asking for..
I had one week with this baby. It was a really rough week. I don't need to get into all the details but it was not easy and I struggled a lot.
I had the most beautiful last day with the baby. I took the kids to the aquarium. I admired all the pregnant moms, some with their second and me with my third and felt that excitement. Imagined meeting this baby in September.
The following morning I noticed blood. And I wasn't sure what was happening. It wasn't much, but was a steady amount throughout the day and I started to feel pressure, like it wasn't right.
The entire day I asked God for his grace and power over the situation. I would look in the mirror and plead for God's grace and power. I prayed that some kind of miracle happen and that it not be true. And I cried. I wasn't exactly sure what was happening but when I saw the doctor the next day it was confirmed.
In the past I would have fallen into a pit and honestly, I don't know if I would have made it out this time. So much has happened to me that I used to cry out to God WHY... Why is this happening to me.. What did I do.. Why me... And I would enter into that darkness, and start hearing the lies and believing them. I'd stop functioning, stop feeling, and stop being. This would go on for a long time, and I cry even thinking about those times because I don't want to go back there.
This is the first time in my life that I know God is taking care of me and my family. One thing I realized is this trial will make us stronger. And its sad, and I was mad, why didn't he answer my prayer, when he answered my other prayers, but I realized that maybe the answers aren't revealed right now but having been through many trials, I know someday it will all make sense. I look forward to that day but in the meantime I'll keep praying and knowing God is in control and I don't have to worry or be afraid.
God says to us, "Pray, because I have all kinds of things for you; and when you ask, you will recieve. I have all this grace, and you live with scarcity. Come unto me, all you who labor. Why are you so rushed? Where are you running now? Everything you need, I have." -Jim Cymbala Fresh Wind Fresh Fire
3. Help me God… Help me God.. Please help me… ASK FOR HELP…. I can’t say that enough… Just cry out to God help me, I need you…..
I don’t know why guys but the act of asking God for help just comforts me.. Its like I know he is with me and I am reminded and that I can keep on going because I have him..
The other day I was at the end of my rope… and my daughter just kept on pushing pushing pushing… Mommy I need this.. Mommy I’m scared… Mommy I don’t like that toy or that book.. Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy… And I finally had to confidently say, I am going downstairs now I am confident you can find something to do on your own for 20 more minutes…
I went downstairs.. She wimpered a little and I started reading and writing.. And that’s when I read the words ask for help… And I just said God Help me… Help me… Please help me…
Sure enough My child that NEVER naps and would never fall asleep during the day on her own.. Had turned off her light.. and fallen asleep.. And mommy had that peaceful quiet time. And I am still thanking God every minute for that.
4. You can pray anywhere...
I'll never forget a friend of mine telling me she prays when she is washing dishes.. It was like my whole world changed..
You mean you can talk to God anytime? not just at church or in your bed or your quiet room but anytime? In the car, doing dishes, folding laundry, cooking dinner, when the kids are screaming anytime?
I have so much comfort from that fact and its a reminder God is always with me and I can talk to him anytime.
Is it easy to remember these things.. No.. But I am reminded of them often and am grateful for the little reminders, because without them I don't know where I'd be.
I got so low in my life and so lost I needed God to help me get through the darkness. I needed to be reminded I am not in control. And I needed the comfort to know he can help me through anything. Without God, its just me, and me thinking I can do it all and I am in control of my life and of everything and I can do it all perfectly, and its me me me me me. But he chased me down, he put people in my life that reminded me the most basic things about a relationship with God. And how to experience the fullness of God. And it wasn't about my knowledge of the bible, or all the worship songs I knew, or how often I prayed. It was about just talking to God, asking him for help, thanking him for everything even things that have yet to come, and not worrying because I am not in control. You'd be surprised, I have been attending church for 6 years and was raised in the church and did not know any of this.
Its easy to judge people, to assume they know it all because they sit next to you every week at church. But some have been doing that their whole life, its just what they do, but they don't know God. If we just assume our brothers and sisters know God then we aren't being a true family. We have to ask the questions no one wants to ask. I hate confrontation, and why would anyone confront a leader of the church or someone thats been at the church for years or that person you believe is a solid christian because of the way they pray, but its asking these questions that can CHANGE someones life. Maybe it helps them acknowledge that they don't know GOD, or that they are actually living in sin but don't want to face it. Or maybe their response is amazing and helps you see someone elses relationship with God. Either way, we have to ask and maintain a closeness with our family. I think i always wanted someone to ask me, but no one ever did