I needed to urgently get in touch with a woman whose address I didn’t have, and every part of my being seemed to throb with anxiety. I felt as though I would fly to pieces if I didn’t get some word to her. As I prayed about what to do next, suddenly a paraphrase of Scripture came to me. Just be still. Get quiet and know that I am God.
Everyone has an idea of what peace and contentment look like to them. I think of green rolling hills and a cottage in the woods with a beautiful garden. I think of spending evenings on the front porch swing watching the sun set, sharing a conversation with friends and family. I think of a healthy balance in our savings account. In my “happy world,” my kids are all leading productive, satisfying lives and will grow up to start happy, healthy families, and all my loved ones are flourishing. That sounds peaceful. That sounds like a good life, and I just know I would be the very model of contentment!
As a child, I often heard the saying, “Prayer is not the least you can do, but the most you can do.” I thought that any situation could be solved with earnest prayer. When my dad told nine-year-old me that our family friend Jim was diagnosed with cancer, I decided that I was going to pray really hard for him to get better. Jim had a wife and three children in elementary school—surely God wouldn’t be so cruel as to remove him from so many people who were depending on him. Every day, I set aside 10 minutes to pray for Jim. At first, there were encouraging signs that my prayers were being heard. The tumor was getting smaller, and he was feeling stronger. My prayers were working!
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”1
I love this prayer because it expresses a need for God on a primal level, like a deer searching for water. Thirst is an involuntary reaction, and a need that requires fulfillment.
Over the years that I have dedicated to Christian service, I’ve had the benefit of receiving very good input in how to maintain a vibrant prayer life—not all of which I have followed consistently, unfortunately. As a young Christian, the book Streams That Never Run Dry1 had a profound effect on my view of prayer. Even though I didn’t feel very talented in many areas of my life, I saw that I could pray. It’s one form of Christian service that’s open to anyone—no specialized training required! Two quotes I read that deeply inspired my prayer life are: “A praying life is never a wasted life,” and “Prayer is the beginning of every miracle.”
Prayer shows your faith in Me—faith that I will bring the solutions, show you the way, work in people’s lives, and even do the impossible when necessary. It also shows that you are depending on Me, and this pleases Me greatly.
After four years and a 44-hour bus ride, I was finally visiting my daughter and son-in-law and seeing my young granddaughter, Giovanna, for the first time. She had my heart instantly—so cute, so smart, so active. Other grandparents will understand if I say that my granddaughter is the most adorable, wonderful girl in the world!