Monday, May 18, 2020


Prayer is a funny thing. Well, not really funny, but you know what I mean.

Most of our prayer centers around things that we hope for, changes that we want God to make in our lives. We pray for relationships, for careers, for finances, for stability, for family, for love, for blessing. Sometimes, we pray just to thank God, either for answering us or for protecting us, for providing for us. For taking away the anxiety of having to live in a broken world, at least for a little bit.

As I've reflected on prayer recently, I've wondered: are you still praying?

The pandemic has brought life around the world to a grinding halt. And that means that many of the things that we most often pray for no longer seem possible, at least right now. Businesses are closed, and there's more unemployment than we know what to do with, so it doesn't seem likely that you're going to get that chance to move into a different job. Nobody's hiring. Not yet, anyway. Medical care - even life-changing medical care - is being put on hold in a lot of places. I've seen office visits, simple procedures, organ transplant surgeries, and promising cancer therapies suspended (all in the name of health, mind you, as if that makes sense), so there doesn't seem to be much chance for God to heal you. Not through the doctor's hands, anyway. We're all six feet apart and in many cases, tucked into our own homes, so that relationship that you've been trying to repair is really feeling the distance right now. It doesn't seem likely that God is going to reconcile anyone right now. Or if you're single, how can you possibly meet someone in the middle of a pandemic?

It just doesn't seem that life lends itself right now to a lot of change, and yet, change is what we most often pray for. So are you still praying?

And I hate to say it, but the other biggest category of our prayer - thankfulness - also seems like it's on the downfall. Depression is setting in in a lot of places. Despair, even. We're isolated. We're fearful. We're confused. We're frustrated. We're anxious. We're weary. We are worried. We think about our families, about whether they're doing okay right now. We think about the loved ones we cannot see, even through technology. We're thinking about parents and grandparents in nursing homes and babies in nurseries in their own homes who are going without our faces. We're watching our bank accounts take a hit from missing paychecks and wondering how we're going to pay the next set of bills. We're feeling the effects of our own illnesses, even our non-Covid ones, and wondering if we'll ever feel better. We're dealing with severe weather and car trouble and dental emergencies, and by 'dealing with,' I really mean bearing through because there's not a lot of help for any of these things, it seems. And it's hard if you're not really looking to be thankful for much. At least, not on the surface. And yet, we know to pray in our thankfulness.

So are you still praying?

It's times like these that reveal to us what we really believe about God. It's time like these that show us how we really think. We are a people of prayer when we believe that God can and will help us, that God is near and that He is good. But what about times like these, when it doesn't seem things can even change at all and the questions seem to outnumber the blessings? Are we still a people of prayer? Are you still a person of prayer?

See, that's the thing about prayer. It's not really about the answers. We think it is, but we're wrong about that. Prayer is about the relationship that we are building with the God who loves us. The God we claim to love. It's just talking with our Father, telling Him about our day. And here we are, tucked away in our houses, craving the kind of contact that prayer offers us, the chance to just...share our day with someone again. Laugh over dinner. Cry together. Tell stories. And we have at our fingertips the opportunity for just that, yet I fear that many have stopped taking it because we believe that what we're looking for in prayer just isn't possible right now.

Really? God isn't possible right now?

Have you met Him?

Our God is the God of the impossible. He is present even when He seems far away. He is living and active in a world that seems dead. He is comfort in the midst of a storm and refuge in a raging sea. He is listening, and He is ready to speak. He loves you, and He longs to hear from you, and social distancing doesn't apply.

So are you still praying?

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