I have been thinking a lot in the last couple weeks about prayer.. I have been praying.. attempting to pray.. thinking.. talking... reading.. all on prayer. Part of it is due to the 21 days of prayer my small group is doing, some of it has to deal with the 21 days of prayer I did in January, still even more of it has to do with the lent season, and even MORE of it has to do with the fact that I have felt like this year is going to be about prayer. Which, I like this year's theme.. I would rather 2012 be about prayer and connecting with my lord and savior than just about anything else, especially after the challenges in 2010-2011.
What I find interesting, challenging, and frustrating all at the same is the cadence and pattern for which I have been praying this week. Earlier this week I was so frustrated at praying that I literally said two things over.. and over.. and over.. and over.. and over "Speak to me.." "Help me..." I fell asleep switching back and forth between saying speak to me on repeat, and then help me. I woke up the next morning feeling.. nothing. I felt no better, I felt isolated, and as I drove into work I literally had a mental picture of a cement block room. I felt as though there was this wall, this thing blocking me from talking to my love, my lord.. SOMETHING was in the way, but I had no idea what it was or what to do. In fact for the first time in I don't even know how long, I felt like my prayers were bouncing off the cement walls.. like they were hitting absolutely nothing. I remember getting about five minutes into my 30 minute drive to work and mentally tagging the wall with the back of my hand and saying "Lord, what is this?!.. Where did it come from?! And why do I feel like I am talking to a brick wall?!" ... Then, nothing.
I got to work and was annoyed because while I figured it was likely me, I wanted a clue as to what was causing it so I could make it better, so I could repent, find out what was going on, and right myself once again so I could be in the presence of my God once again.
About halfway through my day, I was taking a mental break from work and reading through blogs (I love blogs more than any other social media), I read this blog, and the title screamed at me: "God's Silence is Not His Absence." I had a wave of relief wash over me, and I mentally felt the cement walls melt away. Once again I was reminded that God IS working, I just have to be content always to let God be God, and for me... not to. Even if in order to let God be God, that means I have to sit in what feels like total silence.
This last week or so has been almost excruciating because I have been trying to pray, I have been working to build daily habits (which is part of the goal of the 21 days of prayer), and I have been trying to listen.. But, all week I have felt nothing but silence, which causes my mind to wander, and my focus to seriously struggle. Which is ironic since two of the big things I am praying for during this 21 days of prayer have to do with clarity, guidance, and a much higher level of familiarity with God's voice... Ironic that He's doing that through silence. Once of the comments that Pete Wilson says in his blog is, "Most of us have been trained to hear God speak, but we don’t know what to do with His silence." I had no idea how true that was until this week. The other thing that has struck me this week, that I am really working to guard my heart against is, "When we are waiting on God, that is when we are most prone to idolatry." I do not want my waiting in silence, my lack of focus, and my wandering mind to lead me down a path of idolatry of something else.
What an interesting 21 days of prayer this round has been, completely different than in January.