“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.” – C.S. Lewis
Back in college and high school I hated this quote. It seemed contrary to who I understood God to be. What’s the point of praying if it didn’t move God to do something about the mess I or the person I was praying for was in? At that point for me, there was none. I went to God with my requests like a daily list of intangibles (and who I am kidding–tangible things too) for a cosmic Santa to fulfill year round. I had good intentions sometimes; sometimes I was just selfish and earthly oriented. But the point was that I fully expected God to hear my petitions and do something about them.
But, in the last couple of months, prayer is different for me now.
At first I tried not speaking to God. I created a sullen wall of silence. I didn’t hear him speaking, and frankly if He wasn’t going to do anything about the messes–I didn’t want to speak to Him either. But then one day in the shower I had a realization.
Whether I feel God is good in this moment or not, wether (to be honest) God exists and is active or not – I don’t much care for the person I become when I am not looking for Him. And here was the double whammy: I found that ultimately I find myself looking for Christ because I can’t abide the person I am without Him. At the end of the day, it is not about whether God likes me or I like him – being in relationship with him is the only way for my life to function.
All this realization did was make way for conversation. These days I don’t make requests and I don’t expect God to do something. I try not to be vested in outcomes. I live. I feel. I rage at God. And at two in the morning when I wake up, I tell him I am sad. I am scared. I am worried. For me. For my dad. For my husband. For my marriage. For my job. For my own future.
For now, this is enough.