Prayer and Desire

photo 2 [“I don’t understand – what’s the point of praying? It’s not like we can change God’s mind.”]

When I pray — when I ask God for what I want — I am opening myself up for blessing.

I am trusting that God is capable of meeting my needs, my desires. Beyond capable, even. I am trusting that He wants to.

But, just as possibly, I am opening myself up for disappointment. For “no.” For dissatisfaction.

I am reminding myself that I am vulnerable. That I can be hurt and confused by circumstances. That I am at the mercy of my God.

[“So you’re telling me that prayer is all about our attitudes? It has nothing to do with God’s actions?”]

If I do not pray — if I choose instead not to commune with the Creator, not to bare my wants before the Lord — then I cannot say I am hurt. I cannot say that God withheld from me what I am convinced would be good for me. I cannot say that he told me “no” or directed my life down a path I never would have chosen.

If I do not pray, I can convince myself of my own strength.

I didn’t want it anyway.

Like the fox and the grapes, I will slink away in sadness cloaked in falsehoods.

I didn’t want to sing.

I didn’t want a home, a farm.

I didn’t want him.

I didn’t want little blonde babies.

I didn’t want to be a writer.

If I never want, I will never be disappointed. It has very similar outcomes to not loving, really: If I never love, I will never be hurt.

[“Don’t we choose? Don’t we get to decide what our lives look like?”]

I’ve gotten good at prayers of gratitude; ever since my blood clot, I look to the sky, see the peachy-pink shades of a sunset, and words of thankfulness tumble from my lips. It isn’t hard for me to remember the Lord’s goodness in what He has already done.

I haven’t yet mastered the trust that God remains good regardless of what happens. photo 2 And so, I come to the place I often find myself. The place where I must choose to live fuller – and probably be disappointed – or live safer, and walk the earth with shells of avoided disappointments.

Their very emptiness is enough to make me cry.

~     ~     ~

I prayed for the first time in weeks.

Yes, I’ve had random thoughts to the Lord, thanking Him, asking Him, talking to Him.

But I have been avoiding my desires. I’ve been avoiding admitting there are things I want. And I’ve been avoiding telling Him that I know He is in control.

Because if I don’t think He’s in control, He can’t allow (or not allow) things that will disappoint.

[“I just feel like He’s been removing all my reasons for going. All the reasons I thought I was doing this don’t exist anymore. I don’t understand.”]

I prayed for the first time today.

The first time in weeks.

And I asked Him for what I want. I do not know yet what the outcome will be. This could go the way of the beach house. This could go the way of so many of my life’s sister ships.

I do not know.

But I have prayed, and opened myself up to both the possibility of blessing and the possibility of disappointment.

5 Replies to “Prayer and Desire”

  1. I can identify with your honest questions about prayer – especially understanding the “point of praying”. I can’t change God’s mind anyway. Or can I? Does it make a difference if I pray or not? There are things in my life for which I have prayed for years (literally) and yet God has not answered my prayer. I tire of repeating the same things over and over to Him. I try to ask in different ways. I try to understand why I could ask for something which to me seems in accordance with His will, and yet He is silent – or asking me to wait. Then, the road can lead to questioning whether or not He even cares. That’s when I have to remind myself that God is by nature loving and omnipotent. If He loves me, He will answer my prayer in His time and perhaps in a way I would never have thought to ask. I guess that’s what it means to live by faith.

    By the way, you are a gifted writer.

    1. Norma, thank you so much for writing. This is exactly what I struggle with – sometimes it feels like a balancing act: well, God has answered in the affirmative x number of times, but in the negative y number of times…what does that mean? It’s heartening to hear that a woman I respect as much as I do you is still working through these things. Thank you.

  2. I came across this through Nora Kirkham’s “There Are No Enemies”. This is beautiful, and it’s a blessing. It’s hardest to bring desires to the one who can finalize hurts by saying ‘no’, confirming them into heart break. But, he builds us back. Sweetly, patiently, He does. And this helped remind me of it. He loves us dearest. Thanks for writing. [=

    1. Thank you, Carissa. I think the most important part is what you wrote: “But, he builds us back up.” God’s faithfulness lies not in what He allows or does not allow, but that He experiences it along with us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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