I never knew the purpose of prayer, or what the word even meant. As a child, I was taught to pray in another language, word for word with gestures that couldn't have any mistakes or then I would have to start over. I believed that God wouldn't hear me if I prayed incorrectly. I never knew why I had to cleanse myself three times per gesture before praying and why I had redo it if a male accidentally touched me, even if they were my brother or father giving me a hug. For many years, I thought of prayer as meaningless and for a long time, I looked at it as a difficult way to be accepted or rejected by God. There were too many rules to even start praying that it was hard to understand who God is. He just seemed like a far away ruler that would never love me or bring me to heaven.
As a child, I always knew I had an old soul. I couldn't be any older than seven at this time because I was still living in Indonesia. I knew there were real and truthful answers to my questions... What happens if we don't have access to water to cleanse myself, can I still pray? What does the words that I'm praying mean? Why does the men pray upfront separate from the women? Why do I have to pray on a rug facing a certain way at a certain time before it can count? I thought God was everywhere, but to me, it seemed as if He was nowhere. God, why are You this way and why do You feel so far away? I believed God was unloving and that prayer is of no matters of the heart, but still somewhere inside that belief didn't feel right.
As humans and children of God, we are born with a clear seeing ability to know what's right or wrong. It is just up to us to listen to it or not, to believe it or not, to hold on to it or not. I don't know if the thoughts in my mind were God speaking to me or if it was random thoughts a child thinks... but those thoughts led me to want to know God, so I listened and searched. Today, I went to Costco to do my normal grocery shopping and I knew it couldn't be held off any longer. I also knew it was going to snow and if you know me... the thought of driving in the snow gives me major anxiety. I love snow, but not to drive in. As I was driving there, I prayed to God, "PLEASE don't let it snow yet!". It was such a a little thing and it does feel silly sometimes because I don't expect God to listen to something so small because of my past beliefs... but prayer is just another word for a conversation with God and He hears me, oh yes, no matter how small or big, He hears me! I am now in my thirties and that errand I had to do today that caused me to pray that little snow prayer... well, it brought back that memory in my life as a child. Now I know!
It was God speaking to me then.
You'll see, You were loved then and you are loved now. I am everywhere and I heard You. I created you a path to find me. You'll go through dark places before You can find me because I have been forgotten. You do not have to pray to me in a language you do not understand. You can talk to me anywhere and anytime because You are already perfect in My eyes however and wherever you are. All my sons and daughters, They are all My children and I love them all the same. I hear you, child. I am a God of love and you will soon understand the meaning of that Love.
As I was driving back home from my trip to Costco, it started to snow as I was a few minutes from my home. I thought of it as coincidence, and it may be but that was the exact moment that specific memory flashed in my mind. He heard me then and is it silly to believe He hears me now? Because then that just means I'm a silly gal! I love knowing that God hears me. What is deemed a coincidence, I think it's God being God... using a little thing such as my fear of driving in the snow to remind me of that time when I was a child when I went to God for answers. He heard me then, and He heard me now.
God IS a God of love. He plucked me out of a place to find Him and it is not by accident. It was a plan that He planned for me because I prayed it. No matter how big or little our needs are... pray it. Talk to God like it's your natural ability to breathe. Share with Him all your thankfulness and struggles in your life. Even though we feel we are not worthy to pray to Him, you ARE worthy. He went to great lengths to show love to you. I know this because He did it for me. I like to think I am of no matter, and an unimportant person to be heard by God... but if He heard me, He will hear you! He loves us this much. The greatest gesture of love that God has ever shown us is through Jesus Christ. That's why I believe. That's why I know that prayer is a matter of the heart. Believe. Speak... And see!
PSALMS 66:17-20 I cried to Him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!