Become willing to see the hand of God and accept it as a friend's offer to help you with what you are doing. Julia Cameron
I have not grown up with the concept of a prayer shawl. This past Sunday my husband and I listened to a video talk by Rob Bell and he referenced the Jewish prayer shawl. In Numbers 15:37-41 God instructs Moses on the making of a garment with blue tassels to remind the Jews of all He had done. As they spread the garments over their heads and forward stretched arms, they created their own little tent/sanctuary(prayer closet). Here they could shut out the world as they conversed with the maker of the universe. When I was growing up, we had the all heads bowed and eyes closed posture as the evangelist looked over the audience to see who wanted to go deeper with God. My twelve year old hand raised then and at several meetings over the next few years, because I was guilted into uncertainty, knowing I always fell short of the glory of God. If I could but touch the hem(tassels) of his (prayer)garment and be healed ...
Fifty years later I still have my struggles with prayer. But I have learned a few lessons along the way.
That God shows up, when we earnestly seek him. Having him alongside in whatever we are going through will be enough. Sadly at times, prayer does not change circumstances, but wonderfully it does bring about His presence, which is of far more benefit in the life long term. And we are in this for life. Throughout my grief journey, I prayed many prayers that felt as though they went unanswered. But, the one thing I do know is that I did not walk the path alone. The God of the Universe was beside me. And when I needed someone with skin on, he brought different people into my life to encourage me.
Prayer is a conversation with God. Sometimes it is an argument, and often I need to be silent and listen to what He has to say. But God has also said “Come let us reason together” and I interpret that is an invitation to sort through issues.
Sometimes I have felt guilty because I said I would pray for such and such, and I simply forgot. Later when I'm reminded of that situation, even as the crisis is past, I can still lift it up in prayer knowing that God is not on the same time frame as humans are.
God helps us with our doubt. For years the James admonition crippled my prayer life. I have struggled over and over with the words—if anyone of you doubts, don't expect anything ... this pretty much eliminated all my expectations. I could see myself tossed about on that sea of doubt. I was more an I believe, help me in my unbelief kind of person. Somewhere along the way I learned that doubt is not the opposite of faith, but certainty is. As Anne Lamott said, “Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”
My prayer life has had its share of doubts, but am I chastised for that? No, I am not. The real question is, where do my doubts lie? This was an Aha moment for me. My doubts lay in wondering if anything would or could change. When I realized that even though I did not have a full understanding of the situation, God did. The question for me became: Will I trust God with this situation, no matter the outcome? When I can answer Yes, I pray in faith without doubting. This is a huge difference.
Oh Lord, let my life be like the prism of ice that reflects your beauty.
May my spirit be connected to your spirit
and reflect what it has been shown.
In my life, in my words, and in my actions may your radiance shine through.
May I touch the hem of your garment from time to time ...
Keep my heart from being cold as stone, make me soft and malleable
Keep me from the distraction of comparisons,
Knowing that you have given me uniqueness
As I lift my hand to you, keep hold of me when I do not have the strength to hold on to you.
And thank you,
You are faithful, even when I am covered with doubts.
The icicles of both pictures reminded me of tassels
Peace of mind as I
Release my control
Yes to God.
"True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that - it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth." - Charles Spurgeon
Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking out of My Head? Grief as an out of body Experience
Perhaps if she would pray more about her writing ... she would write more? She is busy with living her life as a prayer, and has a newfound interest in prayer shawls.
Photography by Jocelyn