Becoming a Woman of Prayer. I always thought that I was where I needed to be in my prayer life until recently. I have been very convicted lately about this area of my walk--or lack there of. When I think about how rich the Word is reguarding prayer I think of a few key verses...
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:5-7
"In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." -Psalm 18:6
"If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." -Matthew 21:22
But after meditating on such verses I think about how often I do this... Is my gentleness evident to all? Am I free from anxiousness? In my distress do I CRY out to the Lord (first)? Do I believe I will receive whatever I ask for in prayer? And the reoccurring answer for each question is... NO!
This morning I read about Hannah in 1 Samuel. Hannah was barren and yearned for a child. Unlike me, she did praise God despite her pain. Unlike me, she continued to pray the same prayer believing that the Lord would hear her cries and answer her. Unlike me, she did find comfort completely in the Lord and His presence in he life. She didn't allow certain circumstances to determine whether she approached the throne or not. She was seeking God in the good times and in the bad times... in the times of strength and in the times of weakness.... in her joy and in her bitterness. Instead of getting mad or complaining about the hand she was dealt, she took it before the Lord. And in verse 18 it tells us what happened..."Her face was no longer downcast!" Simply by taking her troubles to her Father, her misery was released from her. Now this doesn't always happen. Sometimes the Lord allows us to go through these difficult situations and uses them to teach us perseverance (James 1:2-5) and how to draw closer to Him.
In my study today it said "What do you typically do when faced with difficulties? Take them to God or complain to friends, get angry or upset, say things you shouldn't, etc." Dang. I felt convicted with that one. A situation that occurred just a few weeks ago came to my mind. I heard something that really hurt my feelings. I felt embarrassed, rejected, angry and sad. And instead of going to the Father with my hurt and disappointment I let that person know EXACTLY what I was thinking. It was immature and hurtful to him. It was not prayerfully considered. It was not edifying to him. It did not build him up, encourage him and it was disresepctful. It was directly said to make him feel as bad as I did-- and it worked. And I felt like crud afterwards. I didn't want to hurt him-- but I listened to Satan whispering "an eye for an eye..." in my ear instead of Jesus saying "come to me and I will give you peace". Thankfully, I swallowed my pride and was forgiven. But if I were to just automatically think to go to the Lord in prayer in every situation first then I would have never been in that position.
Unfortunately I don't think I truly believe that praying will help. I mean I constantly communicate with the Lord but I think sometimes I half heartily do it and don't fully believe in His power. I love Him so much and I know that He has my best interest at heart--so why don't I run to Him with my trials? Why don't I sprint to His side, crawl up in His lap and pour out my feelings? Why don't I take my heart ache or confusion to the author of my love story instead of complaining to my friends? I desire to be a woman of prayer. I yearn to be a Proverbs 31 woman who RADIATES Him in all situations... one that shows gentleness, isn't anxious and cries out to the Lord!
It is a process and I am so blessed that the Lord hasn't given up on me yet....