I love when that happens.
When something clicks.
When you realize the creator of the universe is sending you a direct message.
Our pastor was speaking about prayer.
Lately, I have been having trouble praying.
With my grandmother's illness, I find myself at a loss. If she is going to die, and has chosen to stop treatment, I often wonder, why pray? What do I pray for?
I don't know if I should pray for God's miraculous healing, or for His mercy in letting her go. I don't know if she wants to linger on longer, or if she is really ready. I try to pray God's will, and then I feel like, okay, then what's the point, i.e., just do what you want God, I'll stay out of it. (I have been meaning to study more on the how-tos of praying God's will). As horrible as it sounds, I have felt a little unproductive and pointless in my praying, and have had a hard time trying to put words together.
Because of this, I have been clinging to the promise in Romans 8:28...
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express....and I have been begging the Holy Spirit to intercede for me in prayer, and express the groans of my heart to the Lord, since I have been unable to do it on my own.
Back to today.
Ok, so this morning, we read a verse I have read at least a million times, Philippians 4:6...
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)Due to my life-long battle with anxiety and worry, I have often clung to this verse, and spoken it repeatedly. In addition, verse 8 is one of my very favorite verses in the world.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
As we were reading today, I noticed something for the very first time in verse 7.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)All of a sudden, it was like a light bulb went off.
It was like I had received a text message from God.
Right there, nestled between 2 familiar verses that I have read, studied, and quoted numerous times was a new answer for me.
I realized that it doesn't matter what I pray and it doesn't matter what the outcome is. Regardless of any of that, the act of prayer itself, and the relationship it builds between me and God, will bring about that awesome sense of peace.
That peace you can't explain.
That peace that only He can provide.
That peace to endure whatever might be.
And tonight, when I pulled the verse back up on the internet, as I was writing this post, I saw the NLT translation, which made it even clearer...
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Thank you, Lord, for sending answers, and for sending your peace, to undeserving people like me.