Many years ago, I told my mom that I hadn’t been feeling the presence of God. I longed to hear from Him, to be wrapped up in His loving presence. I prayed and prayed, and for a month or more, it seemed like my prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back.
I had a long talk with Mom, hoping she could help me figure out what was happening and why. She reminded me that God never leaves us; He’s always with us. Great reminder! Her next words weren’t so great, in my opinion. She said, “Sister, maybe you’re praying wrong.” Immediately, I told her, “No, I can’t pray wrong. Our Father already knows what I’m thinking, so I am free to take everything to Him in prayer.”
My precious mom died in 2000, and her comment has had me asking the Lord for years, “Can I pray wrong?” I’ve taken each side of the inner debate; wanting a definitive answer from the Lord.
This morning, my husband and I were talking about Mom’s “praying wrong” statement. He’s a straight-forward, get-to-the-point” kind of man – very helpful to me with my endless questions. His words ended the inner debate once and for all. He said, “We can’t pray wrong, but we can pray for the wrong things.” Yes!!!
Now I know: Our Heavenly Father knows our every thought and encourages us to take everything to Him. Absolutely nothing is off limits when we are seeking His will and guidance. We are often in need of help. Seeking God’s answers pleases Him, even though our thoughts are not always pleasing. We may be wanting someone to apologize to us, when we need to offer the apology, or we may be angry about a situation that’s really not our concern, or maybe revenge (just for a moment) entices us to plead with the Lord. We are not wrong to tell Him what we are thinking.
Our Father wants us to communicate with Him, and that includes listening as well as venting to Him. As we sit quietly in His presence and willingly keep our hearts open, He will help us let go of the out-of-control emotions and ungodly thoughts. He alone is able to show us how to serve Him and love each other in whatever circumstance comes our way. His love allows us to pray with grace and love for one another.
I am blessed this morning – really big! Thank You, Lord, for continuously providing exactly what I need at just the right moment. Thank You for my husband’s words today.
Note: As I mentioned, the lesson from the Lord all those years ago lasted about one month. (I didn’t want you to think that particular lesson lasted all these years.) The Lord showed me why He sent that time of quiet to me. I have never forgotten the amazing night I prayed again, expecting no answer, as had been the case for many days. That is the night that ended that lonely feeling; my Father said to me very clearly, “When you can’t see me, hear me, taste me, touch me or smell me – I am there. My presence is not based on your feelings.” God’s promise never to leave me became engraved on my heart after that time of quietness. (Joshua 1:5 NIV No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.)
And now, today, more than 18 years after my mom’s comment, I have the answer to “Can we pray wrong?” settled in my heart. I’m thanking the Lord for His loving mercy and kindness as He teaches me.