I pray. A lot. I pray for my children and my Mother. I pray for my almost children. I pray for strength. Sometimes I’m praying for the strength not to lose it and poke someone with a fork. Mostly I pray for guidance and wisdom.
My favorite spot to pray is on my front porch. It’s quiet and still on my porch. I have a comfortable chair and our front yard is beautiful. We have this beautiful old tree that I love. It’s so tall, I can hardly see the top of it. It’s strong. Even though it’s been damaged by a magnificent storm, it continues to thrive. When the wind is up, it’s almost as if that sweet old tree is talking to me. The rustling of the leaves comfort me. Bird families and squirrel families make their home among its branches. The singing and chattering of its guests coax a smile from me every time I sit and listen. This is where I like to talk to God. I feel his presence all around me when I talk to him here. I sit at his feet and praise him and ask for answers.
When I was in my twenties, I counseled with our preacher, Don McLaughlin. I was an emotional disaster. In counseling one day, we started talking about prayer. Don asked me if I prayed very often. Of course I did. I prayed the prayers of a desperate wife. I also told Don that I had a hard time feeling the connection I thought I ought to be having. I felt kind of a void. A nothingness. The conversation made me sob. I was in such a state of hurt and despair and I didn’t think God was hearing me. So Don, being the spiritual teacher to lost souls, taught me how to pray that day. It changed my life.
Months later, I had been steadfastly praying for healing in my marriage. I prayed constantly for understanding and peace. I felt God’s presence, but I wasn’t getting any answers. I had an appointment with Don and I asked him what I was doing wrong. Why wasn’t God answering me? He used an analogy that day that has stuck with me. He told me about Slow Cooker Prayers and Microwave Prayers. Some prayers are answered slowly. They have to sit and cook. They are basked in warmth and love and it takes time to get them to the tender spot God wants. There are usually really big lessons in these prayers. It takes time for our mind and body to process and learn. It takes time for us to understand and soak up the lesson God is leading us to. Then there are Microwave Prayers. There are lessons to be learned here too, but they are usually prayers of relief. The answers to these prayers come quickly. God knows our minds and our hearts. He knows that we are ready to receive our answers and that we have the wisdom to accept the blessing. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get a Slow Cooker prayer and I’m aggravated that it’s not a Microwave Prayer. The answer in that conundrum is in the sentence above.
I had a Microwave Prayer last night. When I was praying it, my faith wasn’t in high gear. I was wallowing a bit and having a big ol’ pity party and I invited God to attend. Well he did, alright, and I got answers in waves. The blessings came in like high tide. I was bathed in comfort.
I think anyone who has a chronic illness gets frustrated. I do. I feel like a moose trampled me and left me for buzzard bait some days. Yesterday was one of those days. Actually this past week has been pretty bad. My family knows this. They watch me fall down emotionally and struggle physically. Some days I feel as if there is a wet, dark, heavy blanket on my soul and I can’t throw it off. It’s unnerving. The ‘want’ to do things is ever-present. The capability is not. It makes me mad. ‘Cos that helps…..Anger is an emotion that comes over me and swallows me whole. It’s hard to pray when you’re angry. I got mad last night. I called out for God. He popped my prayer into the microwave and as quick as you can say ‘hot buttered popcorn’, I had an answer.
First, Kennedy came home. We laid down on the couch and talked. About everything and nothing at all. Pretty soon I wasn’t angry anymore. My children all have the Herculean task of putting my pitiful woes into perspective. They all make me feel so mattered. They give me the drive to search for things that will make me better.
Then I heard from Ken. He made me laugh. He always makes me laugh. God gave me this incredible man who takes care of my every need. I needed to laugh and there he was. He is a mess and he can make my heart light with his wild hospital stories of things gone awry. His ability to turn even the most white-knuckled situation into a tale that will tickle me is a gift I am most thankful for.
After Ken, came my Mother. She called and we talked about my sweet cousin who was in a car wreck yesterday and the miracle of her walking away from it. We talked about how blessed we were. I hung up my phone feeling put back together. The pity party had ended and I wrapped up my night with prayers of gratitude.
Then this morning. That cup runneth over thing? Yeah, that’s me this morning. I got a friend request from an old friend. I accepted the request and we began messaging back and forth. It’s alway so sweet to catch up with an old friend. You suddenly realize that a piece of your puzzle has been missing. As we caught up on children and grandchildren and happenings in our lives, she began telling me about things that would benefit my health. The longer she talked, the more excited I got. God gave me another support system this morning. Someone with some answers.
Microwave prayers. How precious they are. The devil plays with me. He toys with my emotions and dangles darkness in front of me like a carrot in front of a horse. I fight the desire to blindly follow that carrot. It’s a fight for my life. God wiped all of that clean for me this day. He wrapped me in security and sent my faith soaring. My prayers are going to continue to yearn for certainty, conviction and sureness. It’s funny how quickly we forget that God is in control and to let go. Holding on to our fights with such inflexible rigidness always makes the passage to what God can do narrow. Today my prayers are full of serenity. The Holy Spirit has comforted me. It’s a wonderful day for peace. Amen.