By Valerie A. Lucas-
Looking back on the path that has led me here today, I realize there are 3 major things that have shaped my prayer life: unanswered prayers, the bold prayers of others, and living in the word of God.
14 years ago my dad suffered a massive stroke. My whole world collapsed, the man who always been my hero was lying in a hospital bed, paralyzed and unable to speak. I have never prayed so hard in all my life, with great prayer and petition I submitted my requests to God, I cried out from the wilderness. I begged for a miracle, promised God so many things…NOTHING…I heard absolutely NOTHING. 6 months passed, then a year, Dad was still paralyzed, still unable to speak.
All the things I thought I knew about MY God and MY faith had changed, it had all become too small, and my world no longer fit within its constraints. At that point, my prayer life ceased.
Fast forward six years, and my two best friends were deep in their own Wilderness. Kristin was in the middle of a divorce. Andrea had just been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. But instead of being angry with God, as I clearly still was, my two friends were deep in scripture telling me how God was revealing himself to them. Here they were, rock bottom, but both saw God. Oh, I wanted that, I wanted to feel God in my own life. Of course, I didn’t pray about it, because I had decided prayer didn’t work for me. BUT, oh how I longed for that peace.
The next fall my neighbor invited me to a bible study, I immediately said YES. Little did I know the daunting commitment ahead of me, a 26-week study on no other but the book of Revelation. But during those weeks, something happened; being deep in the word helped me make sense of my defunct and crippled prayer life.
Fast forward to 2012, that year I lost both of my parents within 2 months of each other. Once again I found myself in a desperate place, praying. But this time something had changed me, although desperate, I felt God, saw God in the acts of others. I’ll never forget the last night Dad was with me on Earth. The deacons of our church circled around his bed, and holding hands, boldly prayed over him. I still remember the peaceful look on his face. It was what he had been waiting for, a few hours later he went to his eternal home.
I know that prayer is not an ala carte option on the menu of faith. There is so much more. My path of unanswered prayers, witnessing the bold prayers of others, and living in the word of God has led me to embrace Psalms 145 “the Lord is near to all who call on him, on all who call on him in truth.”
Valerie Lucas is a follower of Jesus in Louisville KY. This witness was given in the context of morning worship.