is among one of the first scriptures I recall memorizing as an adult that had great meaning for me. I found this verse after our wreck and it became my daily mantra.
Be JOYFUL always, pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you. 1 Thes 5:16-18
In the midst of the chaos from the wreck, moments after the crash, I remember praying both audibly and internally for God to help us. As the pain increased and my consciousness drifted, my prayers began to decrease until they were unintelligible moans. But I knew God heard me.
I came upon this scripture one day, while confined to a hospital bed, and it stirred within me. It gave me such comfort, such drive and purpose that I wrote it out and stuck in in various parts of the house. Those index cards reminded and pushed me forward. As I made the painful, but joyful, progress to be back behind the wheel, that index card went with me, attached to my sun visor. Though I was healing, I didn't want to forget the lessons learned on my journey. The biggest of which was to pray continually.
This revelation changed my prayer life. Of course, in the beginning, my prayers were self-centered. I needed help, healing and recovery. Most days, my prayers did begin with my needs. But over time this constant "telephone line to God" became much more. I realized that prayers were not just in times of need, nor were they to be done only at meals and bedtime. God desired to have my connection all the time.
Never stop praying...
Because of this strengthening in our relationship, I began to seek him frequently for others.
Prior to the wreck, I had joined the fire department, and though responding was delayed due to my injuries, once back in the field, I found my greatest purpose on the scene was to pray. As soon as tones would call us out, I began lifting up prayers for scene we would face. Kneeling beside someone to do early medical care, I was whispering prayers with every movement. Holding back loved or little ones from a trauma or fire, praying internally made me feel I was helping them even more.
Pray without ceasing...
When we lost Austin, I remember prayers were the first utterances I made. From the moment they placed me in a car to follow the ambulance up until I mustered the strength to enter his room and face the worst news of my life, all I did was pray.
Never in my life had I prayed a more constant and continual prayer. Again, I remember that at times my prayers were simply spiritual moans. I was comforted in knowing the scripture...but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Through this child loss journey we've said prayers beyond counting, for ourselves, our son, our family, and others.
To this day what touches me is the number of prayers that were -and still are- said on our behalf. People I've never met, strangers, acquaintances prayed for us. Friends who continue to share that they pray, even eight years later. It is most certainly, without question, what has helped us survive.
And so we do the same for others, those who walk this same dark path. Because I know prayers are the only thing that lights it enough you can see to move forward.
In the position I'm in at work, I consider it a great honor for God to have placed me in these families lives. It is a privilege to pray for them and I do so regularly, usually on the way and leaving their homes. Some mothers, knowing my faith, even text outside our normal visits asking for prayer.
Lately, given the state of this world, our upcoming election and the state of our nation, turmoil within my family lines, and so many struggles I see and hear daily, I feel the urge to be in nearly constant prayer. Often "pray without ceasing," will whisper across my soul.
Sometimes, the amount of those in need of prayer overwhelms me. How can I? Where to begin? What if I leave someone off this never-ending list? Who first?
Then God reminds me, "Lay it at my feet. I have this. And you."
Having a constant line of prayer isn't meant to be stressful, but instead a source of peace. Our burdens can't outweigh the power of God and they will never be too much for Him to carry.
So, when your prayers become a source of stress, remember the beginning phrase of this scripture...
Be JOYFUL always. Even when troubled in prayer.