We ran into a beautiful young woman last night that we've had the opportunity to talk to a few times before. She was very friendly, and willing to engage in conversation for a while. But what really stood out to me was when I offered to pray for her.
She got this sly smile on her face and told us that while she didn't necessarily MIND prayer, but the last time she let us pray for her - she got a lot of thing she wanted, but she also got a lot of answers to prayer in ways that she didn't want.
This got me thinking about my own prayer life. My own relationship with God. How often do I dumb down my own prayer life because I am afraid of being bold enough to ask God for things. I think this plays out in two ways:
First, because I am afraid I won't get what I ask for. I think this will be a reflection on my stupidity to ask in the first place or my unbelief in being able to bring it to fruition. So I just avoid it. If I am not specific in my prayers - then I don't have to deal with disappointment. I avoid praying for healing. For vision. For clarity. Because when I don't get these things - It is less disappointing when I haven't specifically asked for them.
Secondly, I am afraid of how God will bring about the answer to my prayers. If I ask for greater faith - what sort of struggles will I have to go through? If I pray for humility how is He going to bring that about? If I pray for an understanding of God's great love for me - not seeing my worth through the eyes of others - what sort of situations will I go through to truly grasp and understand that?
So I could totally understand why this beautiful young woman didn't want prayer. Why she actually FEARED the bold prayers of those of us who believe in a God that deeply loves her and has an amazing plan for her life. A God that will never give up on her and desires to see her flourish in freedom and communion with Him.
That's a frightening thing if you don't believe it for yourself yet. If you're afraid of how those prayers will be answered.
While we were with her last night we said a prayer of blessing and protection for her children (that much she would allow!). But tonight - and in the weeks ahead - I will be praying for her - for her life and purpose - and I am excited to see how God begins to answer those prayers. And I'm excited for the next time I run into her and can check up on how she continues to be fearful of the power of prayer. Because prayer IS powerful. And we forget that a lot. It was nice to be reminded.