Prayer- more than a Band-Aid

Prayer. You say that word and some folks think connection to a God they believe exist — 50% of the time.

Others, the word translates to overbearing religion. And still others, a confusing word of instruction that is given to them by perhaps well-intentioned people…but is still interpreted as weak as a Band-Aid that’s lost its stick.

I can’t speak for others. I never can. But I can speak for me. And for me, prayer has been taking on a whole new meaning, as recent as a few days ago.

My mind knows that prayer is meaningful. But my heart doesn’t believe it until I am suddenly finding myself desperate, mentally spent, and just very much at the end of my rope with no room to tie a knot and hang on, so to speak.

My God doesn’t want a well-rehearsed prayer, a speech of perfectly chosen words, free of the um’s and ah’s that plague my hesitant conversation with others. I’m being reminded that He wants an honest conversation of all that burdens my thoughts and my heart. Even if what pours from my mouth is tainted of melancholy and frustrated anger at life or with people.

I also am reminded that silence is ok in His presence. In God’s love letter to me, He reminds me that His Holy Spirit prays for me when I don’t know what to say: Romans 8:26 “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.”

You know what that means? It means that I forget that sitting in silence with Him is ok…He prays on my behalf because He knows what I can’t say or what my words might jumble up.

Prayer defined to me? It’s a lifeline. One that I know I don’t use as often as I probably need it. Everytime I have summed up the nerve to call on that lifelime, no matter what state I am in, He never tricks me into thinking I’ve run out of lifelines with him. I find it interesting and kind of sad that a lot of the world believes “There are bigger things in this world, God doesn’t care about my stupid little problems.” or even the lie that God is tired of hearing your voice and that His answering machine comes on when He sees it’s you calling…. again. That’s a lie and if you’re one of those who believe this, it’s my prayer that you’re freed from the ties of that lie, from whomever told you that. Take it from me, because I used to believe that same lie, too.

On the way to work, I heard a song on the radio that I’ve come to really like, not necessarily because of the artist or the melody of the actual music, but because of what the words say. It’s a song by Amy Grant called “Better than a Hallelujah”. It outlines what I have come to believe prayer, true prayer, really is. That sometimes a desperate, angry, or frustrated cry resulting from the trials, frustrations, and hardships of life are just as much a prayer He hears as a choir singing in perfect tune, with polished words.

He sees and hears me upset over the mess of various areas of my life, venting my fumbling, stumbling, jumbled prayer to Him..and He hears a song? Doesn’t make sense, does it? But that’s the truth. He loves a praise song as much as He does hearing someone calling out to Him in the not-perfect state their life is in.

He hears a soldier pleading for his life, a drunkard’s raging cry, a mother’s tears, the depression of a teenager, and even me, a 30 year old questioning God in the midst of the stress of life and search for meaning. He hears all of that and it is, indeed, better than a hallelujah sometimes.

“We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.” – A. Grant