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Praying: Can You Hear Me Now?

My prayer life was intermittent and too comfortable before, but my prayer life changed when my illness journey began. I first prayed prayers for the doctors to figure out what was going on to cause so much pain. Then praying was like a fight with God. Please don’t let this be true God! Why is this happening? Is this my punishment? I’m sorry…Oh God, please forgive me!

Then my prayers were angry. Why God!? Why would you do this? Why would you take my body?

Then I would cry out to Him: I can’t do this! Please rescue me from this torture! This is more than I can bear…

Then I felt alone: Where are you? You said you would never leave me. I’m in the depths here, and you’ve abandoned me.

That’s when faith was most important. Praying even when it felt futile and empty and intangible. Just kept it up into the chasm of silence.

This is extremely personal to share. I stayed in that state of feeling alone for a long time. It was then that I learned more about being a Christian somehow. Feeling very alone away from the Lord’s warmth and in incredible pain tested my faith like never before.

God can handle our anger and pain; God is big and strong and can manage the weight of all we throw at Him. Even when we don’t feel Him, it’s important to remember faith isn’t an emotion. Faith is not FEELING- it’s much more. There are times you CAN feel God and times you cannot. It doesn’t make God any more powerful the times you FEEL like being a Christian.

God is working in your life whether you see it or not. That’s what I mean. I continued choosing to believe that. That’s what faith is. And comfort did come with it.

They say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I think we are handed more than we can bear sometimes and we are forced to ask for help through it.

Later in my illness, more recently, in fact, I suffered injury to my brain and spinal cord causing me excruciating unexplained constant deep brain pain for years. I could barely talk or write or move. My thoughts were not processing. I could not scream at God. I could not sob and throw things because of my pain and anger. I could not go to church or put prayers together like I had learned to do all of my life.

Yes, I still communed with God. Without words I connected through my heart, through my feelings, through my pain even. I knew I was being heard. I believe it. It gives me a different idea about how the Lord listens to ALL of His children, no matter the age or handicap. God does not need proper language to connect with us. More pain, more alone, more vulnerable than ever before. But I didn’t feel apart from God, I felt great comfort and peace- more than ever before in my life.

Romans 8:26 says- “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Wordless Groans… This is a passage I happened upon last week. It confirms for me that my voice was certainly heard in my most downward state of helplessness. One doesn’t need to memorize special prayers from a church to be able to pray or to know exactly what you are praying for. It’s all right there inside of you- He gets it. Making the choice to connect with God is on you, but He has been listening all along.

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~WHEN THIS THING OVERTAKES ME~

God, can you hear the brainwaves,

The silent thoughts, desires and fears?

God, do you see me slipping

From peace and trust to unrest and tears?

God, can you give assurance

To not be out of touch

When this thing overtakes me

And life becomes too much?

God, what will happen

When I’ve lost every hope,

When I have no ability

How then will I cope?

-by Mary Jane Gonzales

From her beautiful book: Poetic Devotions for Those in Pain

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Mary Jane Gonzales wrote: “Thank you for this glorious post, for articulating the mystery of prayer and faith so eloquently. As I read about your journey, I was right there with you, relating to each step along the way; understanding the emotions, knowing the outcome; and joyous at the tapestry being woven. “

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