One of the most difficult seasons of prayer in my life was during the summer of 2015. I was living in St. Augustine, Florida. I had left both my wife and our home in Texas with the intentions of our marriage ending in divorce. The fact that she was pregnant with our daughter only added to the difficulty.
I don’t remember a whole lot of that summer other than I was a wreck. Instead of being a man and doing whatever I could to make things right, I decided to conduct myself as a child, giving in to every temptation the enemy had for me. Needless to say, he didn’t need to focus a whole lot of attention and effort towards me. As a recovering alcoholic, all it took was the first six pack, and Satan was able to have his way.
I am not going to be a coward and use that as the sole excuse for the way I behaved those few months. I made my decisions and am the only one I have to blame. The shame and guilt were more than I could stand. The mere thought of the situation I had created led to more drinking and whatever it was that would make me feel better about myself on any given day.
During one afternoon while waiting for just the right time to open my first beer for the day, I received a phone call from my wife. She had been admitted into the hospital due to complications to both her own health and the condition of our unborn daughter. She was having severe issues with her sugar levels and it wasn’t a good idea for her to be somewhere she didn’t have someone checking up on her.
I am not even sure why I am writing about this. Just thinking back about the situation makes me feel pathetic, worthless, and undeserving of the blessings God has provided for our family. At a time when my wife needed me the most, I was at the beach enjoying a 12 pack of beer. That night was some what different though. I wasn’t drinking to have fun and escape from reality as usual. I was drinking because I was more scared than I had ever been in my life.
Because of the fact, my wife can tell if I have been drinking by the tone of my voice, I didn’t even call and check in on her that night. I can’t remember how long they kept her at the hospital, but I am sure it was longer than just 24 hours. Despite the agony I was creating for myself, it was the next day when my prayer life would be drastically changed from then on.
Nowhere else to hide
Not only was I too ashamed to speak to my wife, I didn’t know how to even begin a conversation with God. I’m sorry simply wasn’t going to cut it. I know I know. We are forgiven and he knows everything before it happens. If you are comfortable using that as an excuse for your actions and behaviors, you must feel just as low about yourself as I did at the time.
I gathered up all the courage I could find. I pulled all my strength together. Then I bought another 12 pack and headed to the beach. After the third or fourth beer, I finally felt comfortable enough to start talking. I can imagine how crazy I must have looked to the other people at the beach that day. Sitting there with a cooler and an open beer, talking to what they must have seen as just the wind.
I’m pretty good with words. Nine times out of ten, I can talk myself out of any situation I have put myself in. I spent some time pondering what God would want me to say. The two of us talked about it over a drink, and nothing seemed to sound legit. We drank another beer or two discussing what I thought my pastor would want me to say. However, I am not a preacher, so I wasn’t able to put the words together that made sense.
Victory through surrender
Finally, it happened. I stood up, opened another beer, and looked God square in the eyes. “Screw it. Whatever you think needs to be done, let’s make it happen.” “Finally,” he said. “Now we’re getting somewhere. However, before I decide what needs to happen, why don’t you look deep within your heart and tell me what’s really going on? What is it that you really want?”
That might not be exactly how it went, but it lines up with the point. Prayer is one of the strongest weapons we have been given in life. It is strong enough that Jesus spent much of his time here on earth alone in prayer with his Father. However, even when Jesus was at his weakest moment, his prayer was for God’s will to be done.
Allowing God to take control
I don’t think the right words have been created to explain the power we have access to when we pray for God’s will. Several amazing writers and theologians have made an attempt at providing a description. I still don’t think they have the ability to paint a respectable image.
Yes, what we want and what we are looking for matters to God, just as any loving parent with a child. He wants to be a part of these discussions in order for us to create a higher level of intimacy with him. However, as his creation, our minds are only able to comprehend so much. If we are not willing to allow him to have his way, we block ourselves from possibilities we have yet to even consider.
Don’t believe me? It’s been a while since I’ve had a drink of anything you need to be a certain age to purchase. My daughter smiles at me almost every time I walk into a room. My wife and are moving to the part of the country where I grew up. This is something I never thought would happen. And people like you read the words I write about our God. His will had to be involved. Never in my wildest dreams could I have painted a picture this beautiful, not even after a couple of beers.