"Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."--Philippians 4:5-7 (The Message)
Prayer has been on my mind a lot this Lenten season as I have continued to pray through my Facebook friends list as my Lenten discipline. It is hard to believe that I began this practice six years ago and still am continuing to live it out. It is incredible to look back and see the ways God has answered the prayers I have lifted up to God. So often those prayers have been answered in God's timing and not my own. I have seen friend's adoptions finalized. I have seen broken relationships repaired or ended peacefully. I have seen the numerous ways God has answered the prayers I have lifted up on behalf of my friends and family.
Yet there are times...like today where my heart is heavy....heavy with the news of the world around me. I want our fears to be relieved. I want peace; only the peace that God can bring about to be here. I want God's healing hand to intervene where healing is needed. I want to trust that God hears every prayer that is lifted up to God. (Honestly, I know that God receives every prayer lifted up to God, yet there are days that my faith isn't enough and even I question)
But in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness, prayer is a way that we can rally together. Prayer is a way that we can lift our prayers up to God. And collectively those prayers can make a difference. Prayer reminds us of the beautiful promise of the resurrection as God is a faithful God who continually walks with us and promises to never leave us or forsake us. God loved us so much that God sent God's one and only son to die on a cross for each and every one of us.
I know there have been times in my life when I have felt like perhaps my prayers have not been enough. But then God has shown me that they are. God has this amazing way of hearing and collecting every prayer that is lifted up to God.
When my mom was laying in ICU my senior year of college, I remember sending out a prayer request email to my camp friends asking them to pray. For me, knowing that I wasn't alone in prayer gave me so much peace and hope so I asked them to pray with me. My friend Ben called almost immediately and prayed on the phone with me. In just that brief interaction, I found myself clinging to the words Ben was lifting up to God for my mom and our family.
Sometimes friends, it seems prayer is all we have! And prayer is this incredible gift that we can offer up to God. As we sing these words from Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer during our Lenten worship services "Let our prayers rise up like incense," I picture all of the prayers being lifted up; just like incense rising, to God where God hears each and every one of them.
Together, as we gather at the holy table where bread and wine are raised to receive, our prayers too are raised and lifted up to God; the one who hears every prayer and promises to walk with us no matter what.
I love this quote I came across from Ghandi and so I am going to leave you with this thought today: "Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is a daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart."
And so my body exhales and let's out a sigh...a sigh that God sees and hears even without words.
I am linking up with these lovelies this week: Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, and Holley and Coffee for your Heart: