Prayer life has its “ups and downs,” sometimes you’re just having an amazing prayer time that you wish could last a lifetime, but sometimes it could also be monotonous and very quiet to the point when you ask yourself, “Is anyone really hearing me?” “Are you there God?”
You try your best to pray through all of it because you truly believe that God listens, is present, and truly loves you, or at the least, someone told you that God loves you. So you continue to ask for things and complain. Searching for meaning and comfort in the circumstances of life. Then it hits you like a slap in the face. You wonder to yourself, “What is this all about?” “What’s the point of praying?”
I go through these stages a lot in my prayer life, and even though I can consider myself experienced enough in prayer to know that perseverance and faith win in hard times, I always end up at some point standing up from the ground on which I was kneeling and walking away. I go outside and take a long walk or do something that needs to be done or worse do something I shouldn’t be doing in hopes of avoiding the call to prayer. In this way, I have a side of me that just wants to provoke God, test Him, shake Him up as if I’m trying to say, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139: 7).
Is this stupidity? Is this really the right way of treating God? (I am not proposing or endorsing testing or provoking God) Yet in all of these troublesome provocations, God does show up. He wakes us from our rebelliousness and says just as Jesus said many times to His disciples, “Ye of little faith.” He makes Himself so visible that now the trouble maker becomes the one troubled. He moves us to stillness where we can no longer turn our heads or walk away from Him and makes true the cry of the psalmist: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” From then, He expresses the meaning of it all: “I love you.” Everything makes sense once again. He warms the heart in which He was always with us, even as we thought we were walking alone. He gives meaning to our duties and work which had become meaningless, but now everything we do, He reminds us that love should be the goal and movement of every work.
Returning in the same way we had left, we see the trails we had marked on the path and see that He had followed us.
So what should we do?
Treat God with love. Don’t just pray to ask for things, or to find meaning for certain things. This way of praying can quickly make you lose the point of prayer. Prayer is about having a relationship, but not just any kind of relationship or anything really comparable to the relationships we already have and can experience in our life. Prayer is about learning the love with which God actually loves you and in turn learning to love God with the love He has given you. Try praying by just being with Him, knowing that He is with you and that He loves you. With the heart, ask God to help you know His presence in every moment and ask that He helps you return that same love to Him. When these are practiced in our prayer life, it becomes not so much about the words we are saying, but what our heart hears from God and what it longs to say in return: “I love you”.