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



From innumerable scenes in childhood and youth, why do certain ones get crystalized in memory? Trauma? Certainly. A shift of understanding? Maybe. A moment of genuine connection with a parent? A spiritual experience? Likely.

memories can be goodFor me, particular scenes are intensely clear. Some are beautiful…like watching my dad peel an orange. His skilled hands worked the knife, while orange mist plumed in the sunlight. His kind presence surrounded me as we ate it together. I was only three. It is my earliest memory.

Some memories are hardOther memories left a pit in my stomach. There was the time our family picked up a kid named Buddy (not his real name) from a poor neighborhood in Cleveland. The program, called “Friendly Town,” involved volunteer families hosting underprivileged kids to give them new experiences for a week.

I was probably nine at the time, but I remember everything…Continue reading

The Silence of God

The Silence of God

I asked my husband if our son had recovered from a bad cold.

“Didn’t you hear me?” His voice sounded kind. “You asked me earlier, and I said ‘Yes.’”

“I must’ve been thinking about three different things at the same time,” I said. “Sorry.”

Original MixmasterMy mind has been noisy lately. Too much going on…countless things to take care of …many concerns tainted with worry…an eight-lane highway of racing thoughts. I try to sit still with God in the mornings, but I haven’t been hearing much. On the other hand, I haven’t been saying much either.

Distraction is a part of feeling silence with God. I’m restless inside. Lists start to form, creating a need to pounce on the day. But something else is needling me.

There are things I’ve prayed about for years—even decades—that haven’t changed for the better. “I don’t know how to pray about this anymore, God…” A seed of disillusionment gets sown.

It’s not disappointment with God. I believe with deep conviction that His heart is good. He can be trusted, no matter what.

Rather, I don’t know how to participate with God through prayer when what He’s doing is far beyond what I understand. I pray, ask, plead, and contend for things—as I see it—but it might just be my agenda to fix things.

Maybe God is waiting for me to run out of words.

Are you done yet, Susan? His tone isn’t antagonistic.

“I guess so. I don’t know what to say.” Prayerlessness feels like such a dreadful sin.

Just be quiet with Me.

IMG_0335I got up at first light and opened the front door. The world outside was still. No cars on the road yet. Snowflakes floated down, making the most beautiful soft tapping sound on the fall leaves. A blanket of white covered the landscape as far as the eye could see.

I am making all things new. He said, pausing to let the words stick. You’ll see…

imagesMy eyes teared up. “But Lord…Continue reading