I wrote a blog a couple of years ago now titled, “to pray.” You can find it here! It was June 2017, just two months after I had started at The Dale. In it I described how I don’t feel adequate when I pray out loud, and was often insecure in doing so in fear of saying the wrong thing or not asking something in the right way (whatever that may look like). However I concluded in writing that prayers can sound so different, can evolve and they can be varying in shape, size, and length. God hears us in our words and in our silence.
I still believe that this is true – that God hears us no matter what our prayers sound like. In words and in tears we can find Him next to us listening. And if we stop to listen in return, we can find some wisdom or direction from His Spirit. What I am also learning as I walked deeper into my work at The Dale, is that God can call us to do all sorts of things that we think we are incapable of. That can be anything from my work here that I truly feel I was called to do (and was the first time I heard God’s voice so clearly). To finding our voice in prayer and in speech.
Recently, Joanna and I went to visit a community member. We see him pretty often at his home as his decreased mobility makes it hard to get out to the store for groceries. This time around, he just needed some encouragement. Finding himself lonely, down on himself, and struggling he asked that we pray together. A couple of years ago, this would have really scared me to do! I would have found myself nervous, waiting until the last minute to pray – if at all. I didn’t think my voice could or should be added to the praying session. However since coming back from maternity leave especially, I have come across some boldness from within. I was not anxious to pray, and instead I found myself speaking boldly and confidently, praying over our friend with honesty, hope, and gladness.
He thanked me for my prayer after we had finished, and said that it was really helpful. I quietly thanked him, and Jo and I went on our way chatting and giggling about something else. That night as I ran on my route, I got a text from Erinn: “I spoke with P on the phone after you went for your visit. He felt you were “very strong in the spirit” today :)”. I stopped running, not surprised by her message after hearing something similar from our friend earlier, but confused. Me? Strong in the spirit? After praying? Out loud? Huh?
It got me thinking, maybe I can be bold. Maybe I can find the words. Maybe prayer has been coming easier. Maybe affirmation from friends is the very thing you need to make a realization about God’s mercy in calling the meek to speak in boldness. These are things I did not think I would find within myself. But God thinks bigger than we ever could. His Grace covers all things – my meekness and my bold tongue. He calls us out AND gives us what we need. What a great gift.
God has called me to do something else. Every year in August Erinn leaves for the month to take a much needed holiday. We miss her soooo dearly. Her presence is a huge part of all of us. And we celebrate gladly that she can rest during this time. While she is away, Joanna usually leads church service. Erinn has always made the habit of inviting me to participate in any way I feel that I have the capacity to do. This usually means I do not participate (in the way of speaking, I mean)! If I didn’t think I could pray in front of people, how could I do the teaching time also? No way!
This August, God has taken my no way and quietly whispered, “try.” I said, “Are you sure about this?” And He said, “Yes.” And so on August 22nd I will be leading the teaching time during our small outdoor church gathering. I have feelings about it – they are still mixed up! I would appreciate your prayer as I prepare for this biiiiig step.
I am grateful for a God that knows. That walks alongside and listens. Whether they are tears or bold words, I am heard and I am beloved. I am called… and I am trying to answer. Only by His strength.
Peace to you this week.
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Toronto! In order to continue doing this work I must fundraise my salary. If you would like to come alongside me financially and partner with me in supporting my work here at The Dale please leave me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.