advent | day eighteen.

It’s the 18th day of #samjyogaadvent and today’s theme is PRAYER.

I’ve said it before, but in case you missed it, I’m a person frequently riddled with anxiety. I’ve learned plenty of ways to cope with that anxiety, and prayer is definitely one of them, as Philippians 4:6 advises:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)

Being heard when I’m struggling or hurting is huge. Sometimes, just getting it off my chest (literally, it feels like a weight on my chest most days), and feeling like someone else is bearing that burden with me, in and of itself is what I need to find relief. And His word assures us that He’s listening.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:12 NIV)

In these most recent seasons of my life, I’ve wrestled with this doubt in being heard. So much doubt that sometimes I say nothing at all. I’m comforted knowing though, that He hears me though, even when I don’t have anything to speak out loud, because the Spirit that knows my heart and knows God’s will intercedes for me:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 NIV)

What’s complicated though, is that our prayers are not always answered the way we imagined or hope. Sometimes, it seems like they’re not answered at all. And it’s in these moments that I always look back to Paul in 2 Corinthians, when he prayed for the Lord to remove the “thorn from his side.” Paul writes, Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (12:8-9 NIV)

When we face these seemingly unanswered prayers – prayers for deliverance, prayers for relief, prayers for acceptance, whatever it might be, we can remain confident in that we have been heard, and He promises that despite what we’re going through and despite how we feel about it, His grace will cover it. It is sufficient for us, no matter what.

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