Supplication Standstill

My grand plans of dispensing wisdom on the topic of prayer hit a brick wall this summer. Make that a brick wall with cement and steel reinforcements. I whizzed through the first three words in the acronym A.C.T.S. in past posts:

A = Adoration
C = Confession
T = Thanksgiving

When it was time to talk about supplication, I decided I needed some time to think about it. That was back in June. It is now October. I’m still thinking. And re-thinking a few things. God has been kindly restraining me, pulling back on the reins, setting a guard over my mouth.

Back in January I boldly proclaimed that my word for the year was ASK and that 2021 would be the year I finally became a woman of prayer. I even had a notebook to prove it. I was going to crack the code and figure out this thing once and for all. God smiled and patted my head, then took me by the hand and led me down a surprising path.

This is not the first time. Twenty years ago (or more) I bought a book that promised me it held the key to living a life of powerfully answered prayer. The table of contents listed prayers of healing for everything from hay fever to hemorrhoids. It laid out an elaborate system of what to pray for every day of the week so the whole world was covered. Each chapter included lists with boxes to check. For real breakthroughs in areas of struggle, the reader was “prescribed a scripture Rx”: repeat certain verses three times each, four times a day, for two weeks, and the powers of darkness would be overcome. Readers were encouraged by these words, “There is no room for doubt or wavering faith.”

After four days, I quit.
Too many little boxes.
Too much pressure and guilt.
No joy.

My propensity for lists and checks and notebooks almost got me again. Almost — after all, I have learned a few things over the past twenty years. I still have my prayer notebook, but it has become a resource I turn to occasionally when I need a reminder or some help. As it turns out, the prayer I pasted on page one of my notebook is being answered. Just not how I expected.

Help me to ask for the things You want to give.
Help me to seek the things You want me to find.
Help me to knock on the doors You want to open.

I have no wisdom of my own to dispense on this topic.
(It’s taken four months of silence to make that obvious.)
Little by little God is teaching me how to
Ask, Seek and Knock.

This I know for sure:
“Teach me to pray”
is the perfect place to start because it is
a prayer the Father delights to answer.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.
Psalm 32:8

Next: God’s Prayer Notebook

A.S.K.

At the start of a new year, I like to ask God to give me a word to carry with me in the 365 days to come.
This year it went something like this:

Me: “God, I’m asking for a word for this year.”
God: “Ask.”
Me: “Umm, okay. Would You please give me a word for this year?”
God: “Ask.”
Me: “Again? Well, uh, a word for this year, please?”
God: “Ask.”

Then I got it.
My word for 2021 is ASK.

My verse for 2021 is Matthew 7:7.
Ask and it will be given to you;
Seek and you will find;
Knock and the door will be opened to you.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a call to get serious about prayer.
Give me a passage to study and I’ll dig right in.
Give me a class to lead and I’ll set up a schedule.
Give me a worship set to play and I’ll get to practicing.

But give me an hour to pray and I’m 😳

I’ve got a lot to learn.
I’m asking, Lord — teach me to pray.