Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Day I Stopped Praying

I got the news that morning. I said a quick prayer but didn't think a ton about it because really, "critical condition" can mean so many things. It didn't even occur to me that she might not make it. But when I realized that I was glued to that spot in the kitchen where I first read the text, and that a heaviness had glued me there, I started pleading. And I didn't stop for a solid 24 hours.

With nearly every breath I sent up a plea. Save her life, Lord! Be glorified through the miracle! Don't take that boy's momma away!

Hundreds, maybe thousands, were praying the very same thing! Maybe some of them ventured into the "give them peace" type of prayers, but I spent little time there. I learned from Amanda's dad to pray bold. And that I did. For 24 hours.

Then I received the text I was sure would never be real.

She's gone.

And I stopped praying.

I didn't have anything nice to say.

I wrestled. Struggled. Cried. Repeat. And on my face I asked God, What good are my prayers??

Of the thousands of people praying, there are people so godly they make me look like a heathen. Why do I bother? Better, why on earth do You want me to bother?

But throughout that horrifying first day, in the midst of being angry furious with God for allowing something so downright awful to happen to an amazing family, I kept finding myself on my war room floor. The tears that soaked the carpet far outnumbered my words. All I could do was lay on my face with my hands open and cry.

God laid one particular family member on my heart so I sobbed for her. I told God that I knew He wanted me to pray for her but I didn't know how. So here I am, trying to obey! I don't know what good these prayers will do, but I will obey! Then the Spirit gave me words. Or gave words to my groanings.

Then God laid another family member on my heart today. I still don't know what He wants me to say or why He wants me to pray. But I'm choosing to obey. And He's been giving words to my groanings.

I didn't really know Amanda. But through her death I have fought through the thing about God that I have never been able to grasp: why He allows things that He could change. And I've come to a place - not of understanding, but more of acceptance and trust - a place God and I have never been together.

And through this senseless act of evil, which was only made possible by the sin that has ruled this world since the Garden, I've learned about a girl I've been acquainted with for years. And I'm different because of her. Her story has grown me.

And as this "year of prayer," I've been calling it, comes to a close with the worst tragedy our church has ever seen, I think I get it. I think I'm finally really praying.

 Thank you, Amanda Grace.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:26-28.

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