What a privilege it is to pray, to audaciously summon a force beyond our personal capacity to move heaven to earth. As a child, I thought of praying only as a bedtime or pre-meal recitation of reverence and gratitude. This one was for meals:
God is great, and God is good,
And we thank Him for our food.
By His hands we must be fed,
Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.
And this one was for bedtime:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.
(That bedtime prayer sounds more like something from Nightmare on Elm Street. Though growing up, my siblings and I used to mindlessly hit replay on this prayer every night without questioning the words.)
Now with my own children, I borrow from the priestly blessing (Numbers 6:24-26), set it to a tune, and sing,
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile upon you and be gracious.
May the Lord show you favor and give you shalom, PEACE!
We sing it daily and so often that when my girls hear someone reciting the blessing from Numbers, they think that the person somehow borrowed the words from our song!
Although reciting prayers daily is a healthy habit, life has taught me to fully embrace the source and force of prayer. Suffering catapulted me into the reality of prayer. Deprivation allowed me to require the fullness of prayer’s power to give hope to my future and peacefully wage war over my affliction.
Before I became pregnant with my first child, I had been bleeding more than not for about two years. My blood count was extremely low. The normal blood count range for women is 12.3 – 15.3. My blood count was 4. The doctors said they didn’t understand how I had the strength to sit up, let alone walk into the appointment. Suspecting that fibroids had wounded my uterus, a myomectomy became the last option to remove the uterine fibroids after conventional and holistic treatments were not enough. Such a surgery was risky because my uterus would need to heal perfectly with no scarring in order for me to conceive and carry a baby.
The morning of the surgery, the surgeon said I did not have enough blood in my body for them to perform the operation, and I had to have a blood transfusion before the surgery could begin.
Amid this cacophony of trauma, prayer emerged like a trumpet, powerfully and passionately blown with precision to lead the way. Prayer became my instrument to desperately reach beyond my perpetual bleeding. But it wasn’t a solo. I was joined by choirs of praying women, inundating me with light and ushering me to hope and promise.
One praying woman said, “When I started to pray for the bleeding to stop, I was prompted to pray for your laughter and joy. There will be so much laughter and joy in your future!”
Another one said, “As I prayed for you, I saw a visual of you combing your daughter’s hair.”
And yet another praying women said, “While this is debilitating, it is making you stronger for your future. Your future requires a deep strength.”
Though my body was extremely weak, my spirit clung to those prayers and held onto them with vigor. Those prayers were life support.
A year later, I became pregnant with our first daughter. My husband and I floated into my first prenatal appointment on a cloud of joy only to have our happy bubble burst as the obstetrician listed all that might go wrong with a thirty-five-year-old woman having a baby. The forecast was grim. The news was deflating. With our joy of being pregnant at risk, with heads hung in defeat, we dragged ourselves back to the car. We sat quietly for a while, trying to adjust to the weightiness of the list. We held hands, took a deep breath, and prayed. In prayer together, we were refreshed. We remembered promises and reached for hope. We resounded joy! We zipped out of the parking lot and into what the doctors eventually deemed a “perfect pregnancy!”
Prayer is a powerful life source and force. And the great news is, we don’t have to pray alone or in one particular way. We can be joined by a chorus of praying folks as we align with one another and reach toward hope out of our desperate darkness.
Here at (in)courage one of our greatest privileges is turning to God together in prayer. Please leave a prayer request in the comments and then pray for the person who commented before you.
How can we pray for you?
We don’t have to pray alone or in one particular way. We can align with one another and reach toward hope together. -@brownicity: Click To Tweet