Remember that? It was the first prayer that I ever learned …
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
God Bless Mommy, Daddy …
And a whole list of other people.
As I got older I didn’t pray as much because I told myself that I didn’t know how. After I moved to Boston I learned quickly how to cry out to God.
Get me outta this mess!
Lord, if you save me from this, I swear I’ll be in church every week!
My prayers had turned into constant cries for help. I made bargains with God on a regular basis. After I left Boston and moved back to Connecticut me and God didn’t really talk that much except for the occasional time that I would thank Him for the food I was about to receive.
I don’t think it was until after I got divorced the first time in 1990 that I started to have regular talks with God. Looking back on it, if I had consulted Him before I got married … things may have been different. Anyway, after that I spoke to God a lot. I asked Him for help with my son. I asked Him for help in my finances. I asked Him for everything.
That was our relationship. Me taking and Him giving. Sounds a little lopsided, don’t you think?
Then at some point I began to realize that God would not only provide me with material or tangible things but He would also provide the intangible things like,
Peace (Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27)
and comfort (I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you John 14:18)
and strength (The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalms 18:2).
Then I realized that nothing could separate me from His love. I am always protected. Even when I didn’t know I was protected, He was right there.
Now, my prayers are more personal and more frequent. They are conversations. It’s more me thanking Him and giving Him praise. I have every material thing I need, so these days I ask for things like wisdom and guidance. I ask Him to bless the ones I love. I thank Him for just being God.
Prayer comes easier these days. When you know who you are and more importantly, whose you are, it’s very easy to be grateful for the gift of life. It’s easy to not get so caught up in the day to day. It’s easy to just … be.
The following is from The Message version of the Bible. Romans 8:31-39:
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.