Without A Prayer

Without A Prayer

“If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.” 

― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

My friend Robin and I had a long talk one morning about prayer. Going to God with a list of needs and wants brought some answers. Still, in her experience, many requests seemed unresolved over the years and left her discouraged.

I know what she means. I’ve been caught in that same cycle of disappointment. Some of that pointed to my own flawed beliefs and patterns.

fretful prayer is a revolving doorFor starters, my prayers were often a revolving door of fret. Instead of releasing concerns to God, I’d keep them and remain weighed down.

God spoke to me recently through the word “crease.” The dictionary definition says, “a wrinkle or furrow in the skin, typically of the face, caused by age or a particular facial expression.” Surely, fretful prayers produce wrinkles!

But a crease is also like a rut—“a long deep track made by repeated passage,” or “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.” Fretting prayers can become a dead spiritual habit. We do it because we don’t know what else to do. But unanswered prayers can stoke the fires of discontent and unbelief.

Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding California said that many of God’s people are like a dislocated arm. They are alive but not functioning because of disappointment. And so our prayer life actually becomes another tactic the enemy uses to keep us dismayed and far away from God.

How did this happen? Prayer should connect us to God in ever increasing ways!Continue reading



Several months after my friend Terry died, I pulled out an Early American songbook to play something familiar on my piano. It was an ordinary afternoon. I started with the marching chords of The Battle Hymn of The Republic. As the opening words streamed through my thoughts, I considered their meaning—as if for the very first time.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord… 

I realize those printed lyrics aren’t going to have the same impact on you as they did on me that day. It’s hard to describe the rush of emotion that came over me. I couldn’t play another note. I folded my arms on the piano and wept with great sighing sobs.

It was so unexpected.

The cross of GolgathaThe Holy Spirit suddenly overwhelmed the grief rising up in my heart—with hope. He melded together His plan for good with my earthly disappointment, surrounding me with a tangible presence of love. I was undone.

In a way, the cross itself was an intersection love, hope, and sorrow…

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

God is known for surprise visits.

Depressed woman on a benchHe moves us beyond the natural to the spiritual, from the temporal to the eternal, from the loneliness of sorrow to the fullness of His love. He doesn’t give up when we do. Author Gregory Boyle calls it the “no-matter-what-ness of God.”Continue reading