I wish I could remember where I read it, or even what, exactly, I read about prayer that so significantly changed my prayer life. It happened within the last couple of months, but it could have been anywhere. A book, a blog, a comment on some of my favorite blogs…I just don’t know, but I’m so thankful for it.

I believe it started with someone saying they would be, “…holding you in the light.” I loved the imagery of that. I pictured that beautiful God light that filters down through the trees in a forest blanketed by pine straw. Rays of dappled light that look like beautiful streams of a loving God radiating down to earth. And I started thinking of that when I prayed and my prayer life grew.

In the past, I’ll be honest, when I said I would pray for you, I would, I really would (almost always). But it didn’t feel like I was really helping much. I believe that God’s will is best, but I rarely, if ever, feel that I know what His will is in a given situation. If someone was dying and a friend was sad, I would pray for healing if possible, but I don’t really believe that God intervenes too often in those situations. We are a finite people here on earth and a physical death, while my least favorite, is an undeniable part of the journey. So then I would focus on the feelings of my friend and on the comfort of the dying. But I just always felt like an imposter brought in to ask for things I didn’t understand. I never felt like my prayers really made much of a difference. It was very sad and frustrating, really.

But then I read that line, holding you in the light, and I began to think about holding someone in the light of God. From there, my imagination created a beautiful forested area with that amazing God light. Soon, when I told someone I would pray for them, I began looking forward to doing so. I no longer searched for the right words or worried if I was asking for something that was outside of the will of God. I no longer felt like what I was doing was without effect. I truly enjoyed taking people and situations to God in prayer.

Today, when I say I will pray for you, I picture us in that beautiful forest (although I always refer to it as a garden for some reason…). We are sitting in the light of God. I may be hugging you, holding your hand, or just sitting with you and resting my hand on you. There is always some form of touch involved. I believe God created us to not be alone and from the washing of feet to the anointing of oil, I believe he has shown the importance of touch. And I just kind of present you to God and ask Him to help you and me in this situation. Then I just sit with you in silence and know that God is with you in that moment. It is one of my very favorite things to do, to go to this garden with you.

Sometimes it is just the two of us, sometimes it may be you and a group of people impacted by the situation. I rarely can make anyone else out, but I know that they too are in need of God’s comfort. Sometimes I only see me praying and sometimes the forest is full of all the people that are all calling out to God on your behalf. I never see God, he is always in the light, but not in bodily form. So we are all always covered in God’s light, surrounded by the love that is God.

Sometimes I take time to be in a place of quiet and really spend some time. Sometimes I just run out to the forest with you in the midst of our conversation and ask God to see us right then. Sometimes I have so many people that I get to go from person to person and just sit in the light of God with each one. Sometimes I go by myself and just think about where my life is and what I’m struggling with. Rarely do I ever speak, but these prayers feel more profound that any I’ve ever spoken.

In all times, this prayer journey feels meaningful and real in a way that words in my head never did. I am a visual person, so maybe that is why this has so profoundly impacted me, I don’t know. Whatever it is, I would consider it the very best gift I received over the holidays.

I’ve always thought it was a privilege when someone would ask me for prayer, but now it is also such a complete and total joy.

So now you know, when I say, “I’ve been praying for you.” We have been spending some time in the garden and it was the best part of my day.

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