There’s an answer to an unprayed prayer.

Yesterday, I needed something and I couldn’t quite figure out the words. Yesterday, I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, much less hit the nail on the head. I went to get ready to leave and right there in the shower is a bottle of Philosophy soap. Amazing Grace. That is the name of the soap and exactly what I needed. The bottle says: “Life is a classroom. We are both student and teacher, each day is a test, and each day we receive a passing or failing grade in one particular subject: grace. Grace is compassion, gratitude, surrender, faith, happiness, good manners, reverence and the list goes on. Being the smartest, the prettiest, the most talented, the richest or even the poorest can’t help. Being a humble person can, and being a helpful person can guide you through your days with grace and gratitude.” Lord have mercy. I needed grace.

Life ain’t fair. Sometimes we get overlooked. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes we get the short end of the stick. Sometimes no one hears our voices. Sometimes we get passed over. Sometimes we’re practically invisible. Other times every single thing we do is criticized and scrutinized. Sometimes everything feels like it’s falling apart. We hit rock bottom, more than once in our lives. Sometimes everything we want gets handed to someone else.

Still, thank You. Lord, we do not understand Your plan. We ask why these things happen. We beg on our hands and knees for that answer. Still, thank You. For plans I don’t understand. For sending what I needed instead of what I wanted. For saving me for something different. For revealing Your light when the darkness seems to overtake me. For forgiving me when I surely didn’t deserve it.

In a sermon, a while back, titled: God is a faithful God, the preacher said: “God’s not fair. I’ll take His mercy. I’ll take His goodness. If He was fair, we couldn’t survive. We don’t know better than God. God is still in charge. We don’t belong to ourselves, we belong to Him.” Later in the sermon he said: “He cares more about us than we care about ourselves.” If life were fair, I would get exactly what I deserve. There would be no salvation, no cross, no Savior. If life were fair, Your Son would not have been sent. He would’ve never been on that cross. I would have been. I have made more mistakes than I care to count. I would get life without parole. There would be no second chances and no saving grace. There would be no growth and learning and experience.

Still, thank You. Lord, life ain’t fair. I have far more than I deserve. I have a roof over my head and more than I need under that roof. I have a purpose and people who love me. I have family to keep me sane and make me crazy at the same time. I have friends to share my life with. I have ways to give back to the community I love. I have a church to attend and serve at. Taylor Swift said: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” I am beyond blessed with people who are good to me and I need to start looking for ways to be better to them.

So, here is my prayer. I shouldn’t get to have such a blessed life, like the one I do. I don’t know what it is you see in me. It’s a real good thing that life ain’t fair. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for thinking I was worth saving. Thank you for the cross. Thank you sending your son. Thank you for grace. Lord, I can be sooo selfish. Help me to show grace to those around me. Help me to offer help to those around me instead of causing more of a burden. I pray that I lift weight on other’s shoulders, instead of piling on. Lord, I pray that I share your grace. Lord help me to show compassion, gratitude, surrender, faith, happiness, good manners, and reverence. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for mercy. Thank you for goodness. Thank you for always being in control, for always being in charge. I don’t thank you for that nearly enough. Lord, I don’t know better than you. Thank you for that too. Thank you for allowing me to belong to you. Thank you for naming me of your chosen. Thank you for naming me your child. Thank you for calling me yours. Thank you for allowing me to serve you. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I bow down to pray, I try to make the worst seem better.

I was thinking the other day about prayer. I wondered how prayer changes things if You’re all knowing and You already planned it all out. Then today I was hit with some wisdom. Knowledge I already had but shown to me in a different way. You’re all knowing so You knew I was going to pray for help long before I even knew there was a problem. You showed up before the storm ever hit. You showed up before the wreckage, before the rain, before the wind, before the sun rolled away and the dark clouds came out. You showed up before James Spann told us to take shelter.

Now this particular storm might be a metaphor for my life but You showed up before the metaphorical storm or the physical one. You knew my heart before I had one. You knew my prayers before I had a voice. You knew my thoughts before I had a brain. You knew the path I would take before I could walk. Ohhhhh Lord I could sing of Your love forever. You knew exactly what I was going to do with my life. You were just waiting on me to catch up. You knew I was going to stay before I even knew there was a choice to stay or go. Just when I think I know everything You show me something I hadn’t seen before. I heard once: “where ever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” Lord, when I pray it gives me hope, it brings the rainbow after the rain, and the sun during the storm. You give me one good reason to stay when I try to give you a hundred million reasons to walk away.

Christian Cuevas might not have made it to the finals on The Voice but Lord you had a plan for him long before he even thought to audition. You gave him a million reasons to sing and he chose to sing for You because You are soo good. He was perfectly placed to bring glory to You, just like I am perfectly placed to bring glory to You. Lord nothing is without You. Nothing is without Your plan or knowledge or divine intervention. Every single thing is connected to You. Nothing is random. Every single thing is planned by You in ways that defy words.

Here is my prayer. Lord, today I’m not asking for anything. Today I am in complete worship of you. I am in complete awe of you. Lord, I give you my life. I give it all to you. Thank you for listening to my prayers. Thank for you hearing my heart. Thank you for guiding my path. Thank you for showing me the way. Thank you for finding one good reason to love me when I give you a million reasons not to. Thank you for giving me a purpose. Thank you for free will and for your crafted plan. Thank you for connecting the dots. Thank you for believing in me when I can’t find my faith. Thank you for showing up long before the storm. Thank you for intentional planning. Thank you for eternity designs and decisions. You placed me in the right place at the right time with the right people. Lord, every move was perfectly crafted to bring glory to you. Thank you for perfect placement at perfect timing. Thank you for showing me the light in the dark. Thank you for peace. Thank you for rainbows after rain. Thank you for sunshine during storms. Thank you for hope. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for giving me one good reason to stay. Thank you for making the worst seem better. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When I have no words left to say, just lift it up and sing it out.

When I was a kid, everyone ran around the playground saying: “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” That was the automatic response of a bunch of first graders when something mean was said. If someone had only told me how much truth was in that, despite hollering on a playground not being the best way to handle things. But sometimes when people say mean things to you, it reflects more on their character than it does yours.

Other times, we can do 100 things right and then one comment made without thinking can hurt real deep. Sometimes, the very people we hold closest can hurt us, even if that wasn’t their intention at all. Sometimes, we have to learn to let things go. We have to be strainers, keeping all the good stuff and letting the messy stuff slip through. Holding onto the messy stuff, is just gonna make us messy too. Drowning in the messy stuff is not going to help anything. It is our job to love and sometimes that means forgiving even when we really don’t want to. We are real quick to forgive ourselves for saying something off the cuff, without thinking. When others do it to us, it is a little harder. Orrrr there’s me and its hard to forgive myself or anyone else. I’m working on both. Lord, You taught us to love because You are love. You loved us first. Before we were even a thought in this world. Long before those playground days.

I’ve heard people say that we take Your teachings through a strainer too. We retain the stuff we like and pay no attention to what we don’t wanna keep. I believe and have been taught time after time that if we do what Luke 10:27 says then the rest will fall into place. Luke 10:27 says He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” I heard in a sermon once: “the Bible was right when it was written and it’s still right today. It doesn’t ever need to be revised.” That preacher also said: “the word is living and breathing in us.” Lorddddd. It’s so crazy to me that I can remember one verse I heard as a kid or something I heard one time in a sermon, but I can’t even remember what I had for dinner two days ago. Then again, DC Talk taught me how to be one of those crazy Christians back in those playground days. Lord, You are living in us. If we would only stop and listen for Your voice.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I listen to your words. I pray that I listen to your teaching. I pray that I love you with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength and all my mind. I pray that I love my neighbor as myself. I pray that I sing for you, Lord. I pray that I forgive myself and those around me. I pray that I get away from all the noise. I pray that I listen to you above all else. I pray that I hear your voice. I pray that I live for you and you alone. Lord, I pray that I worship you because nothing else matters. I pray that I let your truth soak down deep into my bones. I pray that your voice is louder than my own thoughts and louder than my own heartbeat. I pray that all the noise fades away. I pray that I find peace in the quiet. I pray that I find you in the quiet. I pray that my one desire is to worship you. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.