Tag Archives: prayer

Day 14: Dreams Matter (31 Days of Simple Truths)

Image Source: Unsplash

Image Source: Unsplash

This morning, these words arrested my attention:

“May He grant the dreams of your heart and see your plans through to the end.” (Psalm 20:4)

It’s a beautiful prayer, and I sat with it awhile, breathing it in and out, letting it unfold in my heart.

And I realized that sometimes I’m not sure if my dreams matter if they don’t seem spiritual enough or selfless enough. Would God grant the quiet dreams, the ones tucked away for only me, or the ones that maybe wouldn’t change the whole world but might change my world? Do those dreams matter too? Or do all my dreams have to be big, kingdom dreams?

I’m not suggesting that God is some kind of wish-granting genie. But as I let the verse soak into my soul this morning, I felt wrapped in a whisper from the Spirit that said, “All your dreams matter, Adela. Big and small. Simple and profound. All of them.” 

And the thing is, if I know my dreams matter to Him and I know that I matter to Him, it becomes a lot easier to trust Him with the outcome for all of it. Because it all matters to Him.

So, friend—what dream have you been afraid might be too silly or too small to dream? Go on and dream it. It matters.

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Filed under 31 Days of Simple Truths, Hope

A Prayer When the Future is Uncertain

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

“You, Eternal One, are my sustenance and my life-giving cup. In that cup, You hold my future and my eternal riches.” – Psalm 16:5

You, Eternal One, my sustenance—
Carry me.

Bear the weight of my uncertainty,
the wandering and the loneliness,
the tension of being caught between worlds and places,
the swirling, shifting colors of faith
and all I ever believed mattered.

Feed my starving soul.

You—my life-giving cup—
I want to drink deep.
I want to live
wholehearted,
unafraid and unashamed,
hope-filled,
fiery.
Pour the cup You offer
into every dead and dying place in me.

You are holding my future.
I cannot see it or understand it.
I cannot grasp it or shape it.

But

if it is in Your cup,
perhaps I could taste it?
Drink it in until it flows through my veins
and into my core?
It could nourish my way of being,
seep into my blood and bones,
until the hope and unfolding of something beautiful
defines my essence and existence
more than fear of the unknown.

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Filed under Change, Faith, Poetry

Desert Prayer (Meditations with Rilke)

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But you take pleasure in the faces

of those who know they thirst.

You cherish those 

who grip you for survival.

– Rilke’s Book of Hours: I, 14

I know that I thirst. I know it with a depth of certainty I have for only a few things. It is the desert after all – what else does one do out here besides thirst?

And grip You for survival. Do You see? I am gripping, clinging. All my life force is wrapped around You. I cannot let go. I will not let go. Do You see? I choose You. I am choosing You day after silent day, even when I cannot see.

I cannot see Your pleasure. I cannot see Your eyes light up with the truth of cherished. I cannot see.

But still I thirst. Still I grip. Because if I do not have You, I have nothing. This I know. It is all at once my torment and my hope.

You. Only You.

 

*I recently purchased a copy of Rilke’s Book of Hours and oh my goodness – it is so beautiful and so intimate. I find myself able to articulate things from deep places in my heart as I contemplate his words and have decide to write my way through some of them. It will be a series of sorts, as various poems resonate with me and prompt a response. Consider yourself invited to eavesdrop on my vulnerable dialogue with God here.

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Filed under Waiting

Coffee with God & Being Enough

1545558_715060141871468_1705256076_nIt has taken me too many years to realize what a sacred place this is.

It was my ritual for so long.  Wake up. Pour the coffee. Turn on music. Open my journal and Bible.  And there was God.

Every. Single. Time.

Even in seasons when He felt far or silent.  I could still find Him here.  Sometimes it was intense – tears, intercession, loving correction.  Sometimes it was silly – laughing and jokes (really, God told me jokes).  Sometimes I did all the talking.  Sometimes He did all the talking.  Sometimes there was a lot of quiet, simply sitting.

If the morning was crazy and somehow this didn’t happen, it was ok.  He was there in the afternoon or ready to keep me up way too late.  It was ok.

And then it all changed.  I was sitting in a class at church, taught by someone I deeply loved and respected and wanted to be like.  The topic had something to do with not being content to merely coast through our spiritual existence without engaging more deeply.  The teacher was encouraging things like more in-depth Bible study, doing more in prayer than just focus on our own wants, developing the discipline of fasting, etc.  All good things, healthy things.  But then these words were uttered:

“Just sitting there in the mornings with your coffee and your Bible isn’t good enough.”

I couldn’t tell you anything else that was said after that.  My heart shattered.  Years of building intimacy with God, and I had just been told what I thought I had with Him wasn’t good enough.

So I stopped.  And I began to try and find different ways of connecting with God, different ways of growing spiritually.  There was no shortage of spiritual leaders with their recipe: it needs to be in the morning, it needs to be the same time every day, it needs to be in the same place, it needs to be an hour, on and on.  I wouldn’t say none of the approaches worked, but most of them didn’t and no matter what, they never felt natural.  I couldn’t maintain any of them with any consistency.  Finally, I didn’t try at all.  I was so lost and confused – wanting to be close, always feeling far, trying to recapture an intimacy I had once known.

A few months ago, I heard His voice in the deep recesses of my heart say, “I miss you.  I never said your way of seeking Me was not good enough.”

Talk about tears.  Lots of them.  And even better – hope.  I decided to believe Him.  To sit with Him again.  Of course, there are things that are different.  I have two children now, for starters.  The early morning hours aren’t always an option.  But He’s there whenever I come, and we sit together, friends meeting in the morning over coffee or in the afternoon over tea or in the late evening over wine.  We talk, we laugh, we cry, (sometimes I yell), we are still.

And I share all this because someone needs to know – when you take a step towards God, He is not standing there telling you it wasn’t a good enough step.  Your journey into His heart will not look exactly like anyone else’s.  We share our stories with each other, not so we can duplicate each other’s experiences, but so we can marvel at the way He uniquely meets each of us exactly where we need to be met.

I don’t know what it is about us that wants magic formulas and precise explanations and specific checklists.  But any time spent in Scripture will show you there is no formula for how God encounters our hearts.  There are so many stories, and none of them are the same.

So take a deep breath and take a step towards Him again.  He will be thrilled and He will be there.  You’re His.  Your heart is enough.

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Filed under Faith, Hope, Prayer, Presence, Uncategorized

Heard & Accepted

Image Source: Jennifer Upton

Image Source: Jennifer Upton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has heard –

my quaking heart.

confession of my fears.

admission of my anger.

cry for help.

hunger to know.

 

He accepts –

my questions & struggles.

imperfections.

offering of love.

passionate prayers.

Me.

 

“The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” – Psalm 6:9

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Filed under Faith, Hope, Prayer

A Sliver of Hope

We’ve had a lot of craziness in our lives recently.  I’ve had a major project at work reach its climax.  I started taking care of a friend’s little boy 4 days a week, in addition to my own munchkins.  Any routine or schedule I’d been fighting for has been thrown to the wind.

Last Tuesday, I came the closest to having a productive, normal day I’ve come in several weeks.  It seemed we were finding a rhythm.  I managed to get a few things done around the apartment.  I managed to get some work done on my project.  I got all the little ones tucked in for naps.

And then the phone rang.  And after only a matter of moments, my world as I knew it was turned upside down.  I was left, struggling to breathe between the sobs.  (And I will write more about this change soon.)

The rest of the day was a fight to take care of the children and not alarm them, even though I only wanted to lock myself in the bathroom and cry.  It was a fight to face my friend when she came for her son and not come off as a deranged nutcase she should never have entrusted her child too.  It was a fight to be present when my husband came home, to not crawl into bed and refuse to come out.

In the middle of the fog and chaos and discouragement descending on me, I received this Facebook message:

I got up this morning around 6:30 to have my time with the Lord . . . I couldn’t get comfortable in my spirit . . . your face came before me in prayer . . . Please know that someone who really doesn’t know you other than saying hello in the parking lot was going before God for you . . .

God knew what my day held, and He stirred someone who is basically a stranger to spend the morning in prayer for me.  Why was it a stranger?  Why not a friend or my pastor or my own husband?  I don’t know.  I don’t care.

Or maybe I know a little.  Because in the days that have followed, I have often felt like maybe God has forgotten me, maybe He doesn’t see me.  It wouldn’t be that odd for someone I know to think of me in prayer.  But in moving the heart of a stranger on my behalf, the very day my soul was crushed, He emphatically declared that He does indeed see and know and has not forgotten.

This is my only hope right now, and I am clinging to it tightly.

And perhaps you, friend, have endured a heartache and disappointment recently.  Perhaps you feel abandoned or forgotten.  Tonight, I whisper a prayer that your eyes would be opened, that astonishing signs would be sent your way to have an assurance that He sees and He knows and He’s moving on your behalf.

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Filed under Grieving, Hope, Pain, Prayer

Facing the Hard Things – One at a Time

There are prayers I can’t pray right now.

Do you know how hard this is to say? I mean, I’m the prayer coordinator for our church, for crying out loud.   I work for a prayer ministry.  This should not be an issue.

But it is.  Because when you have prayed for something hundreds of times and still there is no answer, sometimes it all dries up inside of you.  When you have quoted every Scripture and absorbed every teaching and mustered up the guts to be vulnerable enough to ask others to pray, and still the years roll by with no answer, sometimes the words no longer come.

If you need prayer, I’ve got it.  No problem.  I’ve got the faith for it.  I will stand by you and believe for your miracle.

But these days, most of my time spent with God is spent in silence.

And to be utterly transparent, the condemnation over this has been layered on thick.  I’ve been tangled up with guilt because, well, I’m supposed to be the prayer person or something.

Until the other day, when I sat down to try again, and after a few empty moments, only managed to whisper, “I don’t know what else to say.  I’ve said everything I know to say.”  And I braced for His lecture.

But that Voice (oh, how I love that Voice) – not a shred of condemnation – simply said, “I know.  But you’re here.  And that is enough.”

I don’t know how this story ends yet.  This seems to be the messy part of it, the dark part when all hope seems lost.  But I share it because maybe another quivering soul is out there, weary with persistent prayer and feeling like a spiritual failure because of it.

And maybe you too need to know – your willingness to seek Him, even if it is groping for His hand in the darkness until you find it, wordlessly holding on as He leads you down this unknown path . . .

it is enough.  You are enough.

 

Our focus for the past week of Story101 has been on writing our hard thing, whatever that may be.  This entry is a small piece of that process for me.

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Filed under Faith, Miracles, Prayer