Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the people around me - offering number six

recently, i decided to tap into the incredible wealth of thoughts, insights and experiences 
of the people around me. i wrote to a buncha these different people asking for their insights
on different subjects to share on my blog. i hope to be posting one of their responses
here each wednesday.

this post is from my lovely friend, diane. diane has a grace and gentleness about her that i
really admire. she is one of the most thoughtful, loving people i've ever met, i've witnessed
her prayers in action and have always liked her deep, quiet faith, and respected how she turns
to prayer in times of struggle.  while we're of different faiths, we are certainly sisters of the stars.
i asked diane to tell us about what prayer is for her. this is what she had to share. thank you,
diane for all you offer those around you every day!

I feel honored and blessed to have been asked to join terri’s “the people around me” - guest responders. 
My question was about prayer – thoughts, insights, feelings. . .
Well, prayer, like breathing, is something I could not live without. Perhaps I should start back at the beginning – well, almost – I was raised an Air Force brat, moving with parents, siblings, widowed grandmothers every couple of years. . .something difficult for a quiet introverted middle child who didn’t make friends easily or quickly. Wherever we lived though, we’d attend church – sometimes on base, sometimes off base. . .always we’d go to a protestant church – or if on base, the services would be some variety of protestant depending on the military preacher assigned at the time. I was probably in third (of three third grade classes – Germany, NY, and Virginia – told you we moved a lot – this all in one school year) grade when I really learned about prayer and faith. We were attending the Congregational Church in Falls Church, VA and I had an amazing Sunday School teacher – I listened hard to her words about an all-loving Lord, his Savior son, the Holy Spirit. . . how no matter what, she said, they always loved us and were always there for us. This was so comforting. While there, and in subsequent churches as I grew up, I did learn and memorize formal prayers. Equally important was that my teacher said prayer could be simply talking to God and, as in any conversation with a loved one, it could be an asking, thanking, praising, casual, specific, whispered, shouted conversation – believe me, I have long remembered those words and have prayed probably every way as well.
I grew into a woman of faith – made choices about what churches to attend, how to raise our children in faith. I feel my faith and practicing of it every day, has helped me to get through a medley of highs and lows, joys and sadnesses, births, deaths, losses, and while I know many have had harder paths to follow in their lives. . .these helped me every day to survive and grow.
How do I pray? What do I expect? Are my prayers always answered? Am I just talking to the wind (I have been asked that)? Where, when do I pray? I pray anytime, anywhere I feel the need – it might be a ‘formal’ or memorized prayer. . .it might be a ‘thank you God for that awesome sunrise you painted’ . . . it might be a request for a friend who is suffering to hurt less. For me, it is so very comforting knowing and believing that I am not ever alone, that I am loved and watched over, that I can ask anything. Do I expect my prayers will be answered – yes I do and yes, I know sometimes the answer will be NO or Not Yet. . . I think the most poignant song I’ve ever heard about the answers to prayer is Collin Raye’s ‘I Get What I Need’ (link below).

To me there is such comfort in prayer – if I can’t sleep, my mind recites memorized prayers. . .what a gentle way to fall asleep. I pray for people I don’t know, people who are lost or making choices/decisions I truly don’t understand. . .I also pray for anyone who asks me to – several years ago I got a spiral notebook to record those requests (so I wouldn’t forget any). . . I am now on my third notebook – I list the date, whom the prayer is for and the reason and who requested it – I pray for them and their concerned kindness as well. And my prayer requests are there too, along with a TY (thank you) next to each prayer that I’ve known has been answered. I hope, and yes, pray, each of you reading this has a comfort like this in your life.  

Diane in Arkansas


Sorrow said...

Thank you for sharing! It is always a gift to read how a persons faith has evolved! I am thinking it's amazing that you have to keep a journal of all the prayers that you are asked to facilitate! from your heart to Gods love! :)

Sherry said...

Oh, I love the idea of a prayer notebook! Thank you for sharing!