Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lent, Faith, & Prayer

A lot of people are walking through the Lenten season. 40 days and 40 nights of reflection and review, of sacrifice and sacrament, of prayer and more prayer. I am not formally following the Lent season. I don't think I've ever done so. I've never looked at this season as a time to stop doing something. I look at Lent as a season to start excavating my spirit.

This season I'm mining the depths of my soul and pouring the results onto the pages I am writing.

The only way I know how to go into the caverns is through prayer and meditation. My prayers are focused in the morning, but they're also wrenched from the pit of despair within my heart during odd times of the day.

I believe in the power of prayer, but not because I think praying is a way to get answers to questions and riddles we can't ever solve. I don't believe I guide my prayers. I believe God guides my prayers. And when I listen to God, the direction often goes into territory I hadn't expected, nor wanted. Often times I go there kicking and screaming and fighting. But in the end I yield to His leading and I bow down in acceptance.

I I continue to pray even when the woods become dark and scary and frightening. I continue to pray even when my faith is faltering. I continue to pray even when I know deep, deep, deep down the answer isn't what I wanted to hear.

Why? Why do I kneel and pray even when I know I won't like the answer? Because I have to believe that in praying I am coming closer to God and that He will guide me through the darkest hours. He will pull me out of the depths of despair. He will give me comfort.

My prayers aren't necessary for God. They are necessary for me. Prayer is His gift to me. Prayer is His way of drawing me near, covering my shoulders with his love, sheltering me from the storms, and bringing me peace if only for that moment.

And for that I give thanks. And for that I go back to my knees and pray again.

All faiths have their rituals and prayers. What are your rituals? Did you give something up for Lent? Do you believe in the power of prayer? If so where do your prayers lead you?


Jean Hovey said...

I am a huge believer in the power of prayer. I cannot tell you the times prayer has changed my life. I heard something recently in Sunday School that I really liked--"Prayer is not a vending machine. It's about forming a relationship with God."

And, yes, I did give something up for Lent. Red meat and all but one serving of caffeine a day. I started out with no caffeine but had a headache. Lent is not about being sick. It's about reflecting of sacrifice.

Christine said...

Hi Jean: We aren't eating red meat either. We decided to give it up for at least a month due to the health benefits. I haven't missed it at all.

And I am a huge believer in the power of prayer. But you're right. It's not a vending machine. It's a way to connect with God.

I hope you have a wonderful writing day!!


Cheryl said...

I do believe in the power of prayer. It has saved me many times over the years. I usually end up asking God to take the burden, that I am done and only He can fix my problems. It is very hard for someone like me to just hand it over because I want to fix things but I know that God will fix my problems better than I ever could. Great post Christine!

Lexi said...

Christine, this is a beautiful post. Yes, I pray and morning is also my best time, although I pray sporadically throughout the day. I love what you said about prayer being a gift to us from God. I never thought of it that way!

Naima Simone said...

Awesome post, Christine!
It made my morning. My husband and I usually fast during the Lent season. This year I'm not but he's fasting from meat.

I very much believe in the power of prayer. I pray before I sit down at my computer because I know I can't do anything without God leading me, increasing His gift. Thank you for this post today.

Melanie Dickerson said...

What a beautiful post, Christine! I definitely believe in the power of prayer. I was just thinking about this this morning. I don't pray enough. My mind is going a million miles a minute in the morning, and I've been trying to pray in the mornings and it's not working very well. I think I need to carve out some time at night, after the kids go to bed. My mind is less busy then.

In prayer we let go of ourselves and our desires and let God have his way. And his way leads to peace and joy. When I surrendered my writing to him, amazing things started to happen!

God bless!!!

Katherine Bone said...

Christine, very brave of you to post this on your blog today. Sometimes the things that are nearest our hearts are hardest to say. ;)

Prayer is so important, especially for our overall health. If I was perfect, which we all know is impossible, I'd like to think of my life as a living prayer to God. Prayer should be in every breath, everything seen and not seen, prayer is life itself, meaning and depth that sustains us. Though you may not be visibly or noticeably praying, it's possible to be in a prayerful state without speaking the words. Ah, I'm smiling now as I write this. There is nothing on this earth better than a kinship with our maker, being one in spirit and with each other as a collective praying source.

Sorry, I know I've waxed on too long but prayer is something so dear to my heart. I don't do it enough, I don't lean on God enough, but with each breath I give Him the glory. ;)

Christine said...

Hi Cheryl: I know prayer has pulled me through some tough times!! I understand the desire to fix things as that is also in my nature. So hard to let go and let God take charge. And then there are so many things we have zero control over. The inevitable events and challenges we face.

I hope you have a safe evening.


Christine said...

Hi Lexi: I love the concept of praying before we write. And before we send off our babies to the editors and agents. Not to get the "yes" per say, but to lift the fear of rejection from my back. I enjoyed your talk at the Southern Magic meeting in January and was touched by the fact that you consciously prayed before your writing sessions.

Many hugs! And joyous writing!

Christine said...

Hi Naima: I love that you imbue your stories with prayer and seed them with that ultimate love. I think it does reach the reader in a subliminal way. I really do. I always ask that the stories I write come through me from God. And I ask for the skill to bring them to life in a way that will make a difference. When the time is right and the story is right, I believe the prayers will be answered in mighty ways.

God Bless!

Christine said...

Hi Melanie: It's so easy to get swayed out of our prayer time by the busy dizzy days of raising a family and being a wife, volunteer, friend, writer.

I set aside time for after everyone leaves the house. For me that is after 8AM.


Christine said...

Hi Katherine: As always your eloquence inspires me. I love the reminder to be in prayer in all things. Every breath, everything seen, everything not seen.

Love that and needed the reminder.


Chris Bailey said...

Thanks for sharing this post. It's prayer and writing that keep me sane!

Christine said...

You're welcome Chris. I feel the same way. If it weren't for praying and writing I would not be in a good place emotionally.

Have a wonderful writing day tomorrow.