“Ok God. I’ll do this. I’ll pray but,” I paused, “But I really don’t think you are listening. It’s like I’m talking to myself here.” Feeling ridiculous, I went on spilling my awkward, choppy garbled thoughts in the privacy of my living room. It was spiritual baby talk, no eloquent profound revelations. When I ran out of words, I simply said Amen, opened my eyes and went on with my day.
That night I struggled to fall asleep. It was well into the early morning hours and I stared a hole into the ceiling, unable to quiet my mind. I mentally recited the alphabet over and over. A B C D and then back down, Z Y X W… Nothing worked. I tried to remember the bedtime prayer my father taught me when I was a little girl. Our Father who… What was the rest? Start in Heaven? Hallow by thy name…? Each time the words eluded me, I started over again from the beginning, as if getting a running start on the prayer would get me further. Eventually my thoughts melted into a hazy blur and finally my body relaxed.
As I sank down into a comfortable darkness, a sense of awareness grew, spreading out on the surface of my mind like rays of sunlight reaching down into the depths of a dark ocean. I felt prompted to get up, more specifically, to go into the living room and open my bible. At our last bible study meeting, we’d learned the Holy Spirit works in this way. It’s a thought that is not quite your own, a persuasive urging that is coming from inside you but pressing in from somewhere else.
“If you experience it, obey it,” our study leader had said with a serious smile. “That’s God calling.”
But I didn’t want to obey it. I struggled against it. Getting up at that moment was the last thing I wanted to do. I was finally drifting off. I had to work in the morning. Even if I fell asleep right at that moment, I would only get in a good three hours. I ignored it but the sense grew stronger until it was pulsing right along with my heart beat. Conceding finally, I thought, This is crazy. I threw the covers back and went into the living room. Groggy and dazed, I sat on the rug with my back to the sofa, bible in my lap.
What now? I thought.
Open it and look.
So I did. I opened it randomly and immediately my eyes fell to Matthew 6;
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from the evil one.
There it was, the prayer I was trying to remember more than an hour ago. Then, undeniably, the Lord spoke directly to my soul.
I am listening to you. I hear your every word and know your every thought.
The hardened shell around my heart crumbled. My heart broke. I buried my face in my hands and cried, overwhelmed by an encompassing sense of peace that had eluded me for years while I’d struggled to cope with life on my own. Who am I that the God of the universe would care to reassure me? But miraculously He does. I’ve learned so much about Him since that night when my life changed forever, I could never turn back. God’s love is so pure, just a misty essence of it will bring us to our knees. Whatever else you’re are chasing, stop. Realize God is chasing you. Let Him catch you. I promise, you will never be the same.