It was one of those moments when bad news shocked me to my core, and I had no clear course of action except to fall down on the well-worn carpet next to my bed, sob my eyes out in my white cotton comforter, and pray the only word that came to mind: help. Over the years, the Lord and I have met at that bedroom spot too many times to count. We met there when I was pregnant with my daughter and yet another test revealed problems. We met there when the military moved us away from a location I didn’t want to leave. We met there when rejection and ugliness found a seat in my lap once again. The physical rooms have changed from house to house, but the place of prayer has not.
That spot is where I cry out all the things to Jesus, where I sense Him patting my back while whispering, Shh shh shhh, dear one. It’s where I come to the end of myself — again — and find the beginning of His strength in me. It’s where I hold onto the edges of His robe for dear life. It’s where I ask and beg and learn and accept, sometimes without saying anything audible.
When I’m on my knees there, I feel closest to the heavens. When there’s nothing I can do to change my circumstances, prayer is not just how I deal with those circumstances; it’s the way I move through them.
Not long ago, I read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke, a story illustrating how we ought to pray and not lose heart. As Jesus tells, there was a city judge who didn’t care much about people or God. A widow in the city came to the judge repeatedly asking for justice against one who had wronged her. For a while the judge refused to grant her justice, but then he thought to himself:
“Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.”
Luke 18:4-6 (ESV)
Jesus ties the story to you and me:
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.” Luke 18:6-7 (ESV)
It struck me afresh: our pestering prayers become the well-worn pathways we walk on through our circumstances.
God is not put out by our repeated requests. Quite the opposite actually. As the parable proves, God tells us to go right on ahead and talk to Him. Pour out to Him. Sob our eyes out in front of Him. Our prayers can tug on the edge of His clothing day and night, and He’s not exasperated or wearied by them. Instead, He responds to them and acts with justice. We can pester and pester and pester some more, and God is only too willing to answer them in a way that is always for our best.
On this new Sunday, I don’t know what road stretches in front of you, but if it holds difficult circumstances you didn’t see coming, as it does for me, and you don’t have a clue about where they lead, then stop and pray. Then do it again. Lean into Christ saying:
I will trust in You, Lord, not in myself.
I will believe You are moving in this situation even if I can’t see how.
I will know that no matter the outcome, You only allow pain that brings a bigger gain.
May you and I keep on keepin’ on through our prayers, the roads we take from our low places on the ground to the heights of heaven.
Your will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in heaven.
How can we pray for you?
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