So I pray often.
It was out of my broken-heart over our very real race problems back in August that I came up with this:
I sent the sentences into jail to our son. I wanted his opinion on it since he has such a hard time being dependent on anything. Shame and scarcity have driven him most of his life which is why he now has a future of prison. Shame and scarcity do not allow anyone to become dependent on anything. To become dependent means that you “might” be “not enough” so you just hustle to do more so you are never dependent.
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Unprompted, this is what our son wrote in response for you all:
Letting go and letting God seems like a simple task and a passive approach in situations we feel may take calculated moves to overcome. My logic wouldn’t allow me to link God dependency with bravery until I was faced with a trial which rendered me totally helpless. In this helplessness, there was no more logical option than to trust God after numerous attempts on trying to finesse through it.
God is omnipotent! If I believe this wholeheartedly then my actions would reflect God’s infinite power that has no need for my help, but to ask in prayer and believe that I’ll receive. Mark 11:24.
First of all, you can hear the struggle that has become his life pattern, right? Second, you can tell he was raised by me because “be brave” is also in that pattern of thinking. He has lived with a lot of conflict inside himself, you think?!
Prayer can be difficult because our minds wander so much. This is true! Don’t shame yourself for thinking you are the only one. This is a fact. Pray anyway and anywhere your mind leads.
Just last week my prayers were so muddled and random and lost as I was overwhelmed with a vulnerable situation. I don’t think I produced a full sentence ever. Just emotions and “rabbit trail” thoughts became my prayers. I considered those prayers too.
The more truthful difficulty about prayer is that it is an act of dependence. It is saying…
“I can’t fix this.”
“I am lost.”
“I am overwhelmed.”
And this one…”I need help.”
These are vulnerable statements.
But what is the truth about vulnerability again? “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” ― Brené Brown, Rising Strong.
So we pray. Because God is omnipotent and cares about what I am vulnerable over so much that he will hear and answer my prayers. I have no greater hope. Because on my own I am overwhelmed and need help. My struggles have led to this hope of prayer.
As a further encourager, I give you this story from the master storyteller, Max Lucado.
The devil was soundly defeated by Christ on the cross. Jesus outranks him in every situation. He must obey Jesus, and he knows it. Prayers offered in the name of Jesus have ‘divine power to demolish strongholds ‘ (2 Corinthians 10:4). Demolish! Not damage or hamper but demolish. Prayer falls on strongholds like lit matches on a grass hut.
The devil fears prayer. Imagine this scene. He sat in the back of the room during a strategy session. A dozen demons had gathered to hear a report on the life of a particular stalwart saint.
‘He won’t stumble,’ groused the imp responsible for his demise. ‘No matter what I do, he won’t turn his back on God.’
The council began to offer suggestions.
‘Take his purity,’ one said.
‘I tried, replied the fiend, ‘but he is too moral.’
‘Take his health,’ urged another.
‘I did but he refused to grumble or complain.’
‘Take his belongings.’
‘Are you kidding? I’ve stripped the man of every penny and possession. Yet he still rejoices.’
For a few moments no one spoke. Finally, from the back of the room, came the low, measured voice of Satan himself. The entire council turned as the fallen angel rose to his feet. His pale face was all but hidden by the hood. A long cape covered his body. He raised his bony hand and made his point. ‘It’s not enough to take his purity. It’s not enough to take his health. It’s not enough to take his belongings. You must take what matters most.’
‘What is that?” asked the subordinate.
‘You must take his prayer.’
Prayer slaps handcuffs on Satan. Prayer takes problems out of the domain of the devil and into the presence of God. Max Lucado, Before Amen, pp. 96-97
So I pray. You can too. Be brave.