How My Prayers Have Changed

Psalm 34:4

Some days, I don’t even know where to begin. My vision blurs and senses dull as I look at the pages scrawled with prayer requests. The very ones I have penned for those He has called me to love. It seems so overwhelming.

There’s health concerns.
Financial struggles.
Unnecessary trials.
Unknown journeys.
Difficult decisions.

And I want to bring them all to the Cross and leave them in His capable hands. Yet, often, I don’t know how to pray.

Lately, I’ve simply striven to seek James’ advice:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5

Because I’m learning it’s in His wisdom the big picture is found. Pieces of pain and portions of trial all fit together to create a beautiful portrait of glory. And when you see how His grace smooths out the edges and melds each piece to the other, the feeling of overwhelming fear morphs into overflowing joy.

Even still, it’s difficult to ask for His wisdom without specifying what you want to know and how you want things to go.

Last week, I read this and my perspective on prayer changed dramatically:

“Are you in the midst of a situation where, as you pray, you find yourself putting the problem first? If so, you’re starting where you should end. You’re rehearsing the problem, making it seem larger than it is, when what you need to do is rehearse God’s greatness and bigness. Then the problem shrinks to its right portions.”
The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan

Suddenly, I could see…

Friends, it seems in my meager attempt to gain wisdom and insight in regards to the issues, I missed the point entirely. I was trying to see what He sees. Know what He knows. When really, all I needed to do was to seek Him. Know Him. Gain wisdom on how He moves through our everyday and intertwines all for His glory.

I don’t need to know more to do more, I need to Know Him so I can trust more.
I don’t need to solve the issue, I need to seek The Solution.
I don’t need to clean up the ashes, I need to watch Him transform them into a masterpiece.
I don’t need answers. I simply need Him.

And I’m learning as I reflect on His greatness and all He’s done for me. As I praise Him for what He has already done, and what I know He is capable of, my struggles don’t seem too constricting. The answers don’t appear out of reach. And the pain seems minimal in light of what He’s suffered because of me.

I’m starting to realize what David knew well. With each passing day, Psalm 46 becomes more personal.

“Be still, and know that I am God”

It’s in the knowing we find rest in our souls. It’s in the admission of Who Reigns that our iceberg troubles melt into stepping stones.

So today, I’ll strive to know Him a little more. I’ll praise Him in prayer and share how I’ve seen Him move. I’ll confess how big He is and how small I am in comparison. And I’ll rest in believing He’s got this next thing on my list covered.

How about you, friend? How do you bring your heart to Him in prayer? What comfort do you cling to as you walk through trials? I’d love to hear.

17 Responses to How My Prayers Have Changed
  1. Susan Stilwell
    October 2, 2013 | 7:22 am

    It’s a long story but I spend a couple of days a month with women battling addiction. Their stories break my heart and, to be perfectly honest, make my hair curl. There is such evil in this world! And there is such a need for people to know Jesus. I do the best I can to love them like He would, keep pointing them toward Him, and remember that He is bigger than all their problems.

    • Nikki
      October 5, 2013 | 10:21 pm

      Oh my, Susan. We just need Jesus, don’t we. He’s always the answer…
      Thank you for pointing them to Him…

  2. Joy Wombles
    October 2, 2013 | 9:08 am

    Hi Nikki,
    Loved reading these beautiful truths about prayer and our awesome God!
    I am praying for you and hope that all is going great.
    May you be blessed,

    • Nikki
      October 2, 2013 | 6:45 pm

      Thank you so much for joining me here, Joy! And for your prayers. (all is going fabulous — we are beyond blessed! thank you!)

  3. Paula Barnett
    October 2, 2013 | 9:12 am

    I strive to do what you do, Nikki; I become still ~ bring my full attention to Him ~ and allow Him to do that which needs to be done for His glory. Who I am to know what is best? Who am I to limit the unlimited? Instead, as I let go of my human thoughts and allow God’s infinite Presence, Power and Intelligence do BE ~ THAT WHICH IS ORDAINED is done ~ perfectly.
    Resting in this prayer with you, dear Nikki.

    • Nikki
      October 2, 2013 | 6:46 pm

      “Bring my full attention to Him” that’s harder to do than it sounds, isn’t it sometimes, Paula? It’s so easy to get distracted… oh, but when we achieve that stillness–what can compare? So thankful you get this and join with me in praying and praising, friend. Thank you!

  4. Becky Daye
    October 2, 2013 | 10:47 am

    “I simply need Him”. Yes! Love this, Nikki!
    I have been learning to truly pray “not my will, but yours be done”. Following the example of Jesus, it is okay to struggle in prayer. It is okay to cry and to rant and to be angry. But we must always come back to this- your will be done. Trusting God even when it makes no sense to me has been the biggest blessing for my prayer life. Because then my eyes are taken off of my situation and placed fully on Jesus- where they need to be!

    • Nikki
      October 5, 2013 | 10:23 pm

      Oh it is so much harder than it sounds, Becky! I have no trouble saying “Thy will be done”…but my heart often struggles to follow. Still I’m striving because, like you, I know that’s where peace is found no matter what comes my way. So blessed to know you and hear it is possible! {HUGS}

  5. Diana Denis
    October 2, 2013 | 7:15 pm

    YES, YES, YES I can barely stay in my seat tonight, Nikki!

    “I don’t need to know more to do more, I need to Know Him so I can trust more.
    I don’t need to solve the issue, I need to seek The Solution.
    I don’t need to clean up the ashes, I need to watch Him transform them into a masterpiece.
    I don’t need answers. I simply need Him.”
    And the cake topper for me…”It’s in the knowing we find rest in our souls.”

    Really, I can’t find the words to express how this resonates with me. Love you my friend. Love to hear His voice and His heart through you!

    • Nikki
      October 2, 2013 | 9:56 pm

      Diana — I thought of you when I wrote that line…because I know your heart feels the same way. Thank you for reading and sharing with me, friend! (and if you can sometime, this book I’m reading — The Rest of God by mark Buchanan — is so worth your time. So. Good.) {HUGS}

  6. Kari Scare
    October 3, 2013 | 7:04 am

    My comfort comes in remembering. I remember what He has brought me through & how it was always way better than I could ask or imagine, and then I remember He is faithful & will keep working in amazing ways in my life.

    • Nikki
      October 3, 2013 | 9:52 am

      Yes, Kari, the remembering. Reminds me of the Israelites. and He still works and moves like that in my life. Thank you for reminding me to simply…remember. He’s good all the time. I have proof if I look back… Thank you!!

      • Kari Scare
        October 3, 2013 | 12:10 pm

        God tells the Israelites many times to “remember…” so it’s exactly like them! They provide us with so many reflections of ourselves and with what God wants in a relationship with us. Love that their proof is also my proof!

  7. Melanie Wilson
    October 3, 2013 | 12:53 pm

    An insight I can relate to. Lately I’ve fallen back into overwhelm. Rather than focusing on Him, I’m focusing on to-do’s. Thanks for another reassurance that I’m back on the right track.

    • Nikki
      October 4, 2013 | 9:17 am

      Rejoicing with you, Melanie, that you’re back on the right track! What peace there is to be found on the simple focusing on Him, don’t you think? Thank you for reading my heart!

  8. Deb
    October 7, 2013 | 11:46 am

    Nikki, I’m so glad I reread this today. I needed it. Several dear ones facing very painful times. I needed this reminder. Thanks again for sharing words of hope.

    • Nikki
      October 9, 2013 | 10:42 pm

      Deb, thank you for sharing with me and allowing me the space to share. So blessed by you.