Updated: Apr 10
I wrote a prayer journal by the leading of the Lord to inspire people to spend consistent time with God. I felt like people needed an opportunity to set a spiritual goal, cast spiritual vision, and track their commitment with a practical tool (such as a journal) to catalogue their journey of growth (and failures even) to be able to make significant strides in their relationship with God.
What many don’t know is that this journey was just as much for me as it was for anyone else.
I know that I’m called to pray.
Yeah. We all are.
But my spiritual makeup is built for fellowship with God.
It's tied into everything that makes me come alive as a person.
It is what bred and birthed my belief outside of religious practices.
God became real to me when I started to pray....on my own.
This is why it has been fought so.
From the moment that I TRULY became aware, it has been fought.
It has been fought by my own internal dialogue that I have with myself more than the enemy raising his fists.
Whenever there are times in life where I have questions that cannot be answered, or haven’t been answered, this is a REALLY tough place in my relationship with God.
It is very difficult to pray over or under answers that you are not getting. After all, we believe that we are praying to the all-knowing, all mighty, every present, EVERYWHERE God. And to not have answers that you believe that you need is a hard thing to ignore, especially when he readily answers other things that you pray about, and even sometimes the ones that you haven't prayed about! So there is no mistaking that he hears you when you pray, and the contents of your heart.
But the thing about revelation and truth is that it doesn’t go away, even if it’s more convenient to not be aware of it.
I am reminded of the statement by Pastor Bill Johnson that says:
“God is not preparing an answer for our prayers. He’s preparing us for the answer that already exists.”
In short: If you don’t have an answer yet, it’s not because God doesn’t have one in mind. It’s usually that our hearts have to be developed to see or accept that answer that already exists.
Typically, when we are struggling with communion with God, it is because of something that we believe about Him or ourselves. And there is NOTHING that God would have you to believe that would result in you believing that you cannot come to him in prayer. Even on your worst day, he wants to hear your voice.
As for me……
My father has been ill since 2014. He suffers from Parkinson’s and a digestive condition that have greatly affected his mobility, and our entire family's lives. Initially when he was diagnosed, I was on my "Holy Mountain" calling down fire from heaven, and commanding the sickness to leave. I have vivid memories of looking at him in the hospital bed before we knew what was really befalling him, telling him to "rise up and be healed"! My faith, (or was it even that?), was in action. I prayed for some time. But when I saw my father getting worse, I started praying for other things. And in seasons where things progressed to a far more debilitating place, I realized that I'd stop praying altogether, for anything or anyone, until the shock of his condition wore off after a few days, where I was able to sink back into denial about how bad things were, enough for me to approach God with prayers about other things.....almost always NOT about my Dad.
This past Friday I spent the day with my Dad. He’d fallen the night before and had a huge knot on his head. It broke me down to look at my father hurt and wounded. There were many moments where his condition stared me in the face, and I could look away and tell myself that it wasn't so bad. But this time, as I stared him in the eye with a big knot in between his eyes, and his left eye somewhat bruised from the fall, IT DID SOMETHING TO ME. He looked like a child who’d fallen off a bike and hurt themselves. I saw sadness in his eyes. I saw that he was genuinely tired of suffering. His wounds made it impossible for me to tell myself that my Dad was "ok". His previous stature of being big, strong, masculine, protective, and in control were all invisible in this moment. And the reality was, I’d given up on them ever returning. And looking at him, I saw that. I realized that I'd given in to helplessness. I'd somehow accepted that I could not help, and that God wouldn't. And I saw the lie that I believed that had settled into my heart. And looking my father in the eye, and seeing his pain, something in me snapped.
I sat in my car, and for the first time in a while, I decided that I was going to ask God the hard questions about my Dad. I was no longer willing to not give it everything that I had to see him become free. I decided that I was going to pray with intimacy, fervency, and honesty. I was going to pray everything that was on my heart, this time confronting my feelings about my father, and not skipping over them. I was going to take the courage necessary to ask God WHY, HOW, and WHEN. And I would not be afraid of the answers that I don’t get, or the ones that I do.
I was going to ask God to heal my father again....over, and over, and over until it was not necessary anymore. I was going to actively go after his healing without a fear of the disappointment that would ensue if it does not happen. I would not fear what would happen to my relationship with God if my father's healing is delayed, or not answered. I was going to actively position myself for victory, whether that was an answer to my prayers, or simply my ability to climb the mountain of denial and defeat it.
So for the first time ever, I took my father through communion. I acknowledged the death of Jesus, and what it accomplished on our behalf. I prayed, and gave myself fully to believing God again for my father’s healing. And I will stand in this without retreat.
This in itself can be one of the hardest things to do.
If you are one who has been let down, abandoned, forsaken, or disappointed many times.....the thought of having it happen again, especially by your SOURCE, positions you to have to answer hard, theological questions that are even hard for a Pastor.....sometimes worse.
And it’s a position that I subconsciously feared....for at least 7 of the 8 years that my father has been ill.
But I dare not challenge others to surrender to a consistent prayer walk with God, and behind closed doors, I’m being a “FAKEY PANTS”. (There is such a thing. I made it up.)
NAH. I just can't.
I say all of this to say: There are MANY reasons that we struggle to fellowship with God. But none of them are good enough for them to become a permanent part of our lives.
At some point we have to look this problem in the face.
I encourage you today, no matter what it may be for you that has hindered your approach to God, CONFRONT it.
On the other side of your confrontation rests a miracle that you’re being prepared for.
Don’t you want to see it?
I’d give every second of my day away in prayer just to see it manifest.
This is bigger than seeing my father come into healing.
It's about me seeing God correctly.
And what could possibly be more important than that?
The fight of our prayer lives start with us, but end with God.
Take the step.