She looked at me, this young pastor’s daughter, and said, “Tell me more about prayer. I know about prayer. In fact, I do pray. But I’m afraid to say that prayer is actually somewhat difficult for me.”
It is her words that lead to glass shattering for women everywhere. Because haven’t we all wanted to say,
“Tell me about prayer.”
And then there is the woman in her 60s who looks at me in banks of wisdom and whispers, “I have not arrived. I am still learning. I am learning to listen in prayer. I am giving way to new ways of walking intimately with my Savior. I am learning from the younger generation about vulnerability. I simply will not ever arrive while I live on this earth.”
Returners. These women are good returners.
In our returning, we are declaring our need for Him. For one another. For continued learning.
And yet for some reason, we are terrified to say we struggle with the return. To understand prayer. To give way to its importance. In a recent survey, 55% of Christian Americans say that they pray.
What stunned me is the way that the article was penned. The author spoke in such a way that we should be in awe at that number. Fifty-five percent. Majority. And yet, what about the 45% who don’t pray? And to go even further still, is it even about the quantity at all?
Or is it about the quality? The relationship? The intimate whispers between a child and her King?
In Kingdom work, quality will always trumps quantity. Quantity is works based, quality is heart based. And for sake of prayer and the importance of remembering “it is by grace we’ve been saved,” prayer at Imperfectly Brave will always be quality-based. This is where we will stay rooted.
Today, as we talk about returning in prayer, we are going to use the term “dwell.” The word dwell means “to remain for a time.” We will use this definition for the topics of Dwelling Alone and Dwelling Together. The other definition is “to live as a resident.” We will use this definition for Dwelling Consistently (and this is the one I am learning and praying over the most.)
Last week we discussed returning to our Bibles. We swung open the door to being simple returners to sacred pages. We reviewed what it looks like to create time and space to dwell in His Word alone. So what about dwelling in prayer alone? To remain for a time alone in prayer?
If we believe His Holy Word is inspired for us today, then the time we spend in His Holy Scriptures is meant to be a conversation between ourselves and our God. As we all nod our head to this, it’s the “how” that lurks in the corner.
When we read, let’s all take time to pause. As you pour over words, take moments to stop and speak them back to your King. Again, it’s not about the quantity of words read, but the time spent dwelling in community with your King. It’s not about hearing the boom of His voice, but the whisper of His truth over your current circumstances. It’s in the gratitude you bring back to Him. It’s the faith worked up in you as we remember the miracles, the holiness, the grandeur. It’s the quiet holy space that keeps God real in a 21st century life.
This is worth returning for.
And dear daughters, I must note, I understand praying in the car and praying while in grocery store lines (and we will speak about this below), but a holy God is jealous for wholly us. Can we make time set aside to pray out loud? Can it become a secret place? Just like Daniel made time to meet with His God (and don’t you know that man saw God move in mighty ways?) Can we set aside to pray out loud to our God?
This dwelling — this is my passion place. It’s what I read about in the early church. Men and women that met together and prayed. And only prayed. And worked themselves over in prayer.
I craved this community.
But to create time to pray felt scary. In asking others to pray together meant we would have to face our fears head on. We would have share where we needed prayer and we would have to actually pray out loud with others. And believe it or not, our consumeristic church has lead us away from this type of community.
The solution? This type of community must be cultivated.
Can I challenge you, dear friend?
If you are feeling lonely. Or if you are feeling like your group has gotten a bit too gossipy. If you are feeling far away from God, what if you rallied your girls to pray? Together. Out loud. What if you were the brave one and gathered your girls and reminded that them that God’s Holy Word says, “If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray, then I would hear from Heaven and heal their land.”
What if you did?
Well, God would begin to heal your land.
He is faithful, after all.
This is the challenge I am currently facing. To dwell — remain as a resident — with God. Now I understand that because of the blood of Jesus, I am a resident of Heaven, but my question is do I dwell here?
In the grocery story?
As I clean my home?
As I read the umpteenth story to a little girl in pigtails?
In the car?
Folding jeans and shirts and unending piles of clothes?
I am praying to learn this kind of dwelling with God. This “remaining” with Him throughout the hours of my whole day. How? I am taking pauses in my day to remember Him. I am learning to write down when I see Him work. I am saying out loud the words,
“God is here.”
I am learning to practice the art of the return before I have ever left the building.
I would love to hear from you about prayer and what area you thrive in and what area you want to learn more about. Let me know. It is my heart to give women everywhere a space to dwell with their King. Are you an alone girl? Community girl? Or all day girl?
I can’t wait to hear …