Prayer has been hard for me lately. There was a spell when I was feeling disciplined and focused and it was easy. The last couple months haven't been that way. I still pray, but my prayer is even more haphazard than usual. My prayers are often said in the car, but now they are felt instead of said, while I'm singing worship songs. (If there is anything that's happened over the last two years it's that I have become a person who needs song in her prayer time - it used to make me roll my eyes, or even make me slightly uncomfortable when someone busted out the guitar. Now I'm thinking I need a crash course in worship leading if I'm going to lead intercessory prayer for this [very small] conference thing this fall. Did I even tell you about that?)
So anyway. My prayer QUANTITY seems to hold steady, but perhaps my prayer QUALITY has decreased. Signficantly.
Or maybe not, because what I think that really means is that I don't talk so much.
I feel bad about this. I am supposed to be praying for Hugo! I asked some of you to pray for Hugo WITH me! BECAUSE I have been bad at the intentional focused prayer! But... praying for Hugo looks like sitting still and listening to a song, or reading or hearing things and a word or phrase sticks out. I totally believe God speaks through everything, but this is often so VAGUE. (Although, you know, God is vague anyway. WHY IS THAT. Would it be so terrible to just say, "Hey, Maggie, this is what's supposed to happen next"? WOULD IT?)
And actually, what I have heard as I pray for Hugo, in my own unstructured wordless way, is that we should worship. When things are good, we worship. When things are bad we worship. What do I do next? Worship. And what does that even mean? I used to hate hearing people say we should worship because that meant SINGING. And I didn't LIKE singing-as-prayer. I preferred to be very quiet, to LISTEN to the singing, to hide my face and bow my head and fill my mind with the cross.
But now I sing. I sing and I sing and it sounds GODAWFUL, but my heart is full and Jesus is there and it's worship. Something happened. I don't know.
And so: worship. In everything, we worship. This bad bad terrifying thing has happened and still, we worship.
Another thing: as I've prayed for Hugo, well actually this started happening just before Hugo's diagnosis, I have become interested in the gift of healing. Not for MYSELF. My goodness. That's, like, a five-star spiritual gift and for people way more holy than me. Honestly, I was more interested in, say, the MECHANICS of healing. How do you pray for healing (because I have done this in groups, because you don't HAVE to have the gift of healing to pray for healing), what are other people's experiences, what does the Catholic church say (I always have to look that up) etc.
I am beginning to wonder if I am supposed to pray for the gift of healing. HAAAAA. (And what a mystery! I understand praying for a gift/desiring a gift, but feeling CALLED to pray for a gift? SOMETIMES YOU DON'T MAKE SENSE, GOD.) (Example of not-holy-enough, right there.)
Okay, so beyond that, I was reading what was, to me, a very simplistic and not exciting blog post about praying for healing. I am pretty sure this person didn't have the GIFT of healing, at least I don't think she expressed it clearly, but she has prayed for healing many many times. Anyway, her thesis is: if you want to see healing happen, you need only pray for healing. The more you pray, the more healing you will see.
And I felt like: well YEAH. Doing anything "enough" increases the chances of whatever it is you're trying to do, right?
But then she said something else that has been resonating with me big time today. She said she saw healing when both prayer and pray-ee were believers. She saw healing when the prayer was a believer, but the pray-ee wasn't. She saw healing when the prayee believed, but the pray-ER wasn't! And the part that is sticking with me: she saw healing when NO ONE believed. Including herself.
I believe in God. I believe he can heal. I believe he DOES heal. But I have a very hard time believing that he WILL. I can sort of psych myself into it, you know, get into the headspace where YEAH, WE BELIEVE! But one time I did that, big time, and healing didn't happen.
I have something in my life right now that needs healing, but I'm doubtful if the prayee believes and I myself, the pray-er, am struggling. I feel hopeless and apathetic and tired. I've told God all of this, obvs. "I AM TIRED. YOU FIX THIS." But I'm not sure he will. Or maybe he'll start, but we broken humans will mess up the whole thing and nothing will happen.
(I am fine. Phillip is fine. Our kids are fine.)
That blog post was about physical healing and this is something entirely different, but it was so helpful for me to read that. In fact, when I remembered it today in the midst of my apathy I cried with relief. Even if our belief is shaky, even if our belief does not exist, God is there and he is real and he is moving.
Singing feels like the most I can do these days. Sing sing sing worship worship worship hear a lyric that makes me sob and OH God you are with me.