Daily Beauty, Day #23: Prayer

There are some nights when the loneliness of life seems to close in on us. We feel without voice and without friend. In these nights, God waits with us. He listens tirelessly to our complaints, our woes and our worries; the sorrows yet unspoken and tears thus far masked. He offers comfort and provides pure peace.

In times of hurt, we turn to Him, to ease our suffering. In desperate wanting, dreary dissatisfaction, anger, fear, uncertainty… we call His name and cry for things we think we need. We ask for what we do not know to come. We wish for a future unfolded and fair, for dreams brought within our grasp, lowered to our height. We pray for peace and healing for the ones we cherish most.

But after these prayers leave our lips, do we ever dwell on them again? Do we remember the things we once wanted? The problems or concerns that once consumed our lives? As we enter a new season, our circumstances may shift, bringing new rain and new flowers, dispelling the old from our mind.

Perhaps we need to spend more time reflecting on our own journey. I don’t mean to say that we should become swept away in the past, or that we ought to experience all our pain again in the present. But I do think that sometimes we focus more on our prayers of petition than we do on prayers of gratitude. That is to say, we cry to God in our hours of need and then fail to see how He has fulfilled that need when the heat of the moment has passed.

I think if we look back on the past seasons of our lives, we will see God’s presence in every experience. We will see His hand in the times of joy and celebration, as well as in moments of sombre suffering and sorrow. We will also see how He has led us from those days of darkness, days when we were unsure of how we would or could continue, to light and warmth and laughter yet again. I think we need to remember how God has answered our prayers, rather than merely asking them.

This leads to a different form of prayer: one of gratitude. There are so many little gifts, so many moments of beauty that He places in our path: reminders that He is with us and that He will never leave our side. As we humbly approach Him with the things that we want, we can also thank Him for what He has already given us.

It sounds simple, and I’m sure it has all been said before. But I think there is something innately beautiful about how simple and pure and real our relationship with God can be. He listens. He understands. And the gifts He gives us are greater than the ones for which we asked.

Sometimes we just need to remember to see them.