Why am I surprised when God answers my prayers?

GRAPHIC God can use fumbling

I read through some old journals tonight and rediscovered why I love keeping journals. Our memories are so fickle. But our entries are indisputable records of what we saw or knew or felt at a given time.

In the middle of a bunch of angsty entries that made me roll my eyes, among lots of words and questions and awkward play-by-plays of my spiritual growth as I saw it at the time, I found this.

I don’t remember asking God for this, at least not twelve years ago. I always thought I started asking God to use my writing about five years ago, and that I had never really thought that my focus would be on prayer. And yet look what I wrote on July 13, 2003. If you’re in a hurry, just read the bold parts.


I want so badly for God to use me, to keep working through me. I feel him doing that, and I am so honored and touched and moved by it that I cry whenever it hits me. It overwhelms me and scares me. I want to be a servant but I don’t feel like I know how to serve. I’ve always thought of myself more as a leader. I feel like I’m out of my element, a beginner, fumbling along towards the light. Sometimes I feel so close to God, and sometimes I feel like I know nothing.

…I need to be open and willing so that people will continue to turn to me, and I keep praying for God to give me the words. I never feel like I know what to say—but God can even use an awkward, fumbling person like me for good. I thank him for that! The days when I feel like I’m being used in that way are wonderful, and I wish I could serve like that all the time.

I never would have believed there would be some kind of ministry role in my life, but there is. I feel so moved to pray and to help. If my role is to somehow lighten people’s burdens, I take it gladly. Lord, please help me. I pray that you will continue to let me feel useful and good, but more important, that you will use me to make a difference, to show other people how brightly your love shines in my life. I love you and want to worship you, and I want people to see and feel your touch in their lives. Thank you for finding ways to let me do that.

I thank you, Lord, for all these things and more. I thank you for this time I have spent talking with you, and I thank you for caring enough about me to take the time to be with me. I’ve basked in the glow of your presence long enough, seeking the good feelings and chills down my spine, but not really offering anything back to you. I pray that this is just the start of it. I pray that I will find new and more ways to offer my life back to you. I love you, sweet Jesus. I love you.


 

Oh, Lord, You have been so good to me. Thank You for knowing the desires of my heart, even before I knew them myself. Thank You for letting me write, pray, and help people pray—and for allowing me to tell them about the things You have done. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to write Praying Upside Down. For accepting my offering to You, my whole-hearted act of worship. For being in the middle of it and showing me the fruit of my labors through sweet messages and encouraging notes from readers. Don’t ever let me stop worshipping and praising and offering myself to you. It would be impossible for me to ever thank You enough. In your sweet name I pray. Amen.

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