Greetings to all of the King’s Daughters! My name is Denise and I am blessed to be a mother, wife, retired educator and crazy daughter for my King and His word. I wanted to share with you today my long, constantly evolving prayer journey with the lone goal that it glorifies Him daily. It has not been an easy trek but so worth the effort. I wait with great anticipation and excitement for the constant experiences He provides on this pilgrimage.
Like many habits in my life, the only thing constant about my prayer life has been its evolution. My prayer life began as a small child praying before bedtime and meals. I had one rote prayer for each daily occurrence. I prayed each prayer religiously with no reflection, no devotion nor true meaning.
Then, after my sacrament of confirmation, I would go to confession and list all my sins. My penance was prayer. Prayer for forgiveness. I remember three Hail Mary’s and two Lord’s Prayer daily for two weeks was often assigned. I would pray these prayers daily for two weeks. Again for me, rote prayers, no reflection, no devotion, no true meaning. It was a requirement for atonement and I wanted to be forgiven.
When I grew older, my bedtime ritual of saying my prayers began to change. Instead of, now I lay me down to sleep …., I would pray my wants and needs in list form. The prayer generally started with, “Please Lord I” and always ended with “Amen”. The older I got, the shorter my prayer time as exhaustion would always win the battle and my eyes would close before I had finished. I was in my early twenties and life was full of everything but time.
Next came a career, marriage, and children . My prayer life changed to petitioning God for the health and happiness of my family and friends. The majority of my previous prayer requests had been answered and I believed it was because God loved me and I was a good christian. The prayers that weren’t answered within the time parameters I had set, I accepted as God only giving me what I could handle. It was a common thought often expressed when God didn’t answer your prayers. I had heard it at church and read it on Pinterest, so it had to be truth.
Then I began reading my bible through different eyes. Previously I had been studying my bible for answers to fill in the blanks of my current bible study book or I would find a bible verse that was applicable to my current struggles and I would write it on notecards for reference and prayer. I saw prayer and my bible time as separate entities. I was restless and could not put my finger on why so I began to study my bible differently. I began to study my bible with a focus of asking Him to change my heart for His glory in all my actions. This was the catalyst to many changes; one of which was my prayer life.
I studied Daniel and began to understand that He doesn’t answer my prayers because of how good I am but because of how good He is: Daniel 9:18 We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
The book of Exodus revealed that the prayers I deemed unanswered are not because it would be too much for me to handle but because He has the big picture in His sights; a vision I do not own. And truth be told, I cannot handle anything life has for me without Him.
For me prayer is now a thread I weave into my relationship with Him. Through study and meditation, my prayers have become continuous and essential in my interaction with Him. My prayers are devoted and still comprised of commonality but with a different motivation:
thankfulness – Colossians 2:6-7 (overflowing with thankfulness),
fears – Isaiah 43:1 (Do not fear…. You are mine),
anxieties – Philippians 4:6(do not be anxious…. By prayer and petition ),
weariness – Matthew 11:28 (Come to me…..and I will give you rest) and
hope – Proverbs 3:5-6 ( trust in the Lord with all your heart).
My prayers have become communication from my heart to my Lord. My prayers to Him have yielded in me a patience to hear His will, a yearning for obedience, a sustainable joy and a reliable faith in my Heavenly Father.
I challenge you to examine your prayer relationship with Him. His word tells me that He loves you and rejoices when you call out to Him. He wants to communicate with you. He wants a deep relationship with you and delights when you sincerely pray to Him. For me that all started with His breathed word and my changed heart.