Tonight I had to tell a friend, again, that “I’ll just pray.”
A friend who is hurting deeply. A friend I want so much to HELP. A friend who doesn’t deserve the pain she’s going through.
And for a moment, those 3 words felt cheap. Like praying is the last option and I'll have to settle for it. "I'll just pray." It felt like praying isn’t enough. I need to DO SOMETHING. Don’t I?? Wouldn’t a good friend do something? Something great? Something SUPER helpful? Something that would alleviate her pain at least a LITTLE bit?!?!
A good friend would fix this.
Circumstances right now are keeping me from doing something. And I feel like a jerk. So I’ve been wrestling with that all day.
And that still, small, faithful voice started whispering to me. It sounded just like this:
“Shea, I’m here with her.”
I know God, but I’m not. And a good friend would be with her. She just would. A good friend would’ve been with her two weeks ago. A good friend would’ve done more. She would have perfect plans and plenty of people in place to help with the pain. That’s what good friends do.
You know what, God? In our culture “I’ll just pray” sounds like a cop out.
This is the part where God should whack me in the face and give me a Sunday School lesson on prayer and trusting Him and about how He is sufficient and all that. He totally should.
But instead He whispers:
“Shea, prayer is powerful. She needs you to pray. Prayer is enough.”
I don’t know how He does it. I guess He’s God so I don’t need to try to figure it out but in that moment I just wanted to weep. In that moment I realized how small my view of prayer is and how BIG my view of ME is.
Me. The fixer. The one who wants to DO SOMETHING. So that I'll be seen as the "good friend." Good friends don't "just pray." Good friends fix things. They get to work. I realized how pervasive that perspective is. And how full of arrogance and error.
So my prayers for my friend's pain tonight started with prayers for my perspective to shift so that I would trust that God is with her. And that prayer is powerful. Because why pray if I don't think it's powerful? I needed Him to shift my perspective. So that I would know and believe and walk in truth.
And stop thinking I need to rush around saving the world when He already has.
I can rest in that.
And pray to the One who holds all things together. He is acquainted with sorrows, suffering, and grief. And I feel like I say this every day but HE is the ONE who is SO NEAR TO THE BROKEN-HEARTED. I probably say that every day because there are so many broken-hearted people. People who need prayer. Prayer before a Facebook page, a Go Fund Me account, a T-shirt, a campaign or hashtag or slogan or event.
Because prayer changes things.
It accomplishes things I could never do with my two hands and two feet and one mind... even when I'm thinking clearly.
Prayer changes things.
It shifts my perspectives and reminds me who is really, truly, radically at work in all of these situations. When I remember that God, the Creator of all things, is at work... I can rest.
And find peace.
Prayer draws me into the work He is doing through the right door. The door He opens when I pray. In the past, I just barged into situations with my agenda and then wondered when He was going to show up and join me. Prayer allows me to cease striving and know He is God and that He will show me where to join Him at the perfect time.
All other “work” is futile.
So I’m convicted tonight - but hopeful. Which I’m learning is the way of Jesus. Convicted that I thought I was the answer to my friend’s pain instead of praying to the One who is. But hopeful because His kindness toward me in my haughty heart drew me near to Him in repentance. I found that throne of grace to be so beautiful tonight. It’s what I needed… and what my friend needs... and where I will sit until He shows me where to join Him.
My prayer is that He is pouring out peace and strength and that I would trust that He holds all of us in His hands.
In His hands, I can be an instrument of grace. Of love. Of hope. Of peace. Working in His power. And for His glory.