As we are getting into the beginning weeks of Spring and final weeks of the school semester, I thought I’d pop by and give an update. When I first began this blog, part of my intention was to provide an account of my post-undergrad experience. Seeing as the job market is lacking (although somewhat slowly improving) and many of us twenty-somethings are experiencing the same emotions and experiences, I thought it’d be a nice way to offer my own advice and share how I’ve been dealing with things without being too invasive or too impersonal. My always-and-forever disclaimer is that I definitely don’t know everything, nor do I think I’m more special than anyone else. But community and communication always seems to help ease the discomfort of the unknown, right?
Recently, I realized that I am coming up on a year of having started this little blog. So much has changed in these brief 12 months: I was accepted into graduate school, I did an internship in Birmingham and discovered the pains of 1 hour commutes on I-20/59, I began graduate school and have been on a major learning curve ever since, I’ve made new friends in my program, I’ve continued to question what I want to do when I graduate, I’ve enjoyed being with my family, I’ve learned more about the Holy Spirit and God’s presence, I’ve been to LA, Chicago, and New York, and I’ve been blessed with an incredible boyfriend to help make all this more fun.
It’s been a lot. It’s changed my expectations of what the Lord can do in short periods of time despite my mistakes and human error. You see last year, I didn’t know as much about how to pray and what to pray for. When my sister passed away, (after so many prayers for healing), and after a less than stellar performance in college (after tons of prayers for help), I began to think that God just didn’t answer my prayers. Perhaps I wasn’t praying enough, or correctly. But I just wasn’t seeing His hand after I prayed. Now, when my mom prayed, it was a different story. She always gets results. So after a while, I stopped praying as frequently for things concerning myself. But that wasn’t good at all. I was allowing Satan to feed me a lie that seems to be catching on other places as well.
Case in point:
I saw this online several months ago. It’s clever advertising, I’ll give it that. But the statement is 100% NOT true. And I’ve certainly learned a lot about that this past year.
A. It minimizes God’s power in a huge way. He breathed the Universe into being, so I’m pretty sure He can answer the entire population of Earth’s prayers at once.
B. I get that it’s about parking and yes, sometimes we do pray about things that are kind of silly. But I hate the way that it generalizes how God works. If you want to pray for a spot and you need it because you’re late for work or something important, by dern do it! I know that I’ve prayed about parking before, and laugh if you want, but it’s worked. Surprisingly, He does care about the minute details of our life. Know why? Because He loves us, wants all parts of us and is present in ALL walks of life, 24/7. Lately, people have been quick to call out the falsity of the “Prosperity Gospel”. But with that I feel like people have also been diminishing the ability and desire the Lord has to prosper His people in SOME (not necessarily all) walks of life. He loves us. LOVES us. He’s not some high God that just sits on His throne all day looking down at everyone in disappointment. Yes, He is grand and holy and good and wonderful and we don’t deserve Him, but He LOVES us and gave His son for us. So even if the prayer is as small as “God, please bless me during the test because I need a good grade” (and you’ve done your dead-level best), or “God, please help me during work today while I’m working with this client” (And you’re putting forth effort) He’s not going to dismiss your prayer. Chances are, He’s going to answer you.
And if none of that is good enough for you, Paul even says it in the Gospel “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Philipians 4:6 That says all. Not some. All. Meaning that we don’t just have to pray about lofty things.
The other half of that lie is that it’s selfish to pray for ourselves. WRONG. Jesus prayed for himself, and if it’s good enough for Him then we should do it too. See John 17. It even shows the order in which He prayed.
Now I will follow all of this up with something very important. If we aren’t living first and foremost for His glory and our lives aren’t centered around glorifying our Savior, chances are our dreams and plans aren’t 100% bona fide. I’m not saying they’re totally wrong, I’m just saying it’s wise to consult the Lord on our dreams and plans first. If you don’t and you expect Him to answer your prayers exactly, then you might be disappointed. Also, don’t put boundaries on how the Lord can go about answering your prayers and getting you to where need to be. Again, you might be disappointed.
Granted, this is all something I had to learn personally on several different levels. I still don’t claim to know it all. But I have learned that prayer is important, all day ‘errday. Prayer is important even if it’s about something small. Above all, God loves us, He wants us to talk and be with Him, and prayer is His form of communication for us.
It’s a little funny. I mean, here I am a communications major. I study how humans communicate on big and small scales, and yet prayer has been something that I have had to learn a lot about over the past year. Funny.
So as I’m coming up on a full year since I began my blogging journey, I hope it’s helped or at least entertained some of you. I’ll probably continue to blog since this phase of my life isn’t over. Feedback is always welcomed 🙂