The Next Time You Pray, Pray For This
When I was in third grade, I went to St. Louis Catholic School.
My teacher was Mrs. Stenvall. She’s the first person to ever really put me onto country music. I’ll tell you that country music has some of the best lyrics ever -- those country songwriters are able to paint a picture with their words.
When we’d have homework time, she’d play Garth Brooks’ No Fences album. The entire class would sing along to every song as we worked on our homework time. It’s one of my favorite memories of elementary school.
One of my favorite songs on the No Fences album is Unanswered Prayers. In this song, Garth sings about how he and his wife go to a hometown football game and run into his high school sweetheart. The lyrics recount how he had always prayed to God that his high school flame would be the one for him and that he’d never ask for anything again.
However, God always knows better.
The song goes on to say, “Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs that just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care. Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
Just like you, I’ve prayed many prayers over my lifetime. Some of which were answered and many of which didn’t. I now look back at some of my requests and I realize that if God had answered my prayers back then, I wouldn’t be here right now.
My path, with all of its twists, turns, and tangents, has brought me here to this moment, where I am able to lock eyes with my daughter and tell her that I love her. My path, with its bumps and potholes, made me stronger and taught me that I am capable of falling down and getting back up, time after time. My path, with its roadblocks and detours, taught me that I am creative and resourceful and that I can do great things. Without my path, I would not be me and I would not be here.
Now when I pray to God, I tell him what’s going on (as I see it from where I am), what I think the options are, and what I’d like to see happen. I imagine that my omnipotent God finds my scenario analysis, option offering and final recommendation rather amusing. God is God and I am not. He has an eagle’s eye view of life and I’m here in my little rabbit hole. However, deep down, I know that God loves to hear from me, just as I love to hear from Lyric. She can come to me anytime and tell me what’s on her mind (which she does!).
This is how God feels about all of us.
One thing I’ve learned about praying is that after I tell God about my situation, I give it to Him. I then ask for something that my teacher, Gabby Bernstein, taught me: I pray for the highest good of all.
In her post, How to Talk to God, Gabby says, “Another powerful prayer is to pray for the highest good for ALL — instead of praying for what you think you need. When you pray for what you think you need, you start trying to control outcomes. When you pray for the highest good for all, you allow the Universe to do her thing and you can wait without anxiety.”
Being Lyric’s mom has been a very humbling experience. I realize how much I don’t know about pretty much everything. I’m grateful that I can google most of it. Real talk, I’ve never felt more inadequate. Honestly, I’m scared that I’m somehow going to mess her up unintentionally. I’ve never felt so inadequate before and, truthfully, it’s never mattered as much as it does now.
So I pray. A lot. Every time I see her. Every time she cries. Every time she laughs. When I am away from her. When I am uncertain how to proceed. When I am frustrated. When I am scared. When I doubt that I can do this whole motherhood thing. I’ve never prayed so much before in my life.
Praying for the highest good of all, especially for Lyric’s highest good, has brought me much comfort. It reminds me that I don't have to have all the answers or be the expert. It reminds me that I’m not alone and I don’t have to carry my burdens by myself. That I shouldn’t carry my burdens by myself. God is more capable than I ever will be. Praying for the highest good of all reminds me that God is in control and that his solution is better than what my human mind can conceive. It reminds me that, no matter what happens, God is working in my favor and everything is working out in my favor.
I’ve said many times that Lyric is my greatest teacher. Her presence here is teaching me how to trust God -- how to really trust God, how to believe and have faith that, no matter what happens, she will be okay, that I will be okay. That God loves me (and each of us) more than I love her (and I love her a lot).
Lyric is showing me that once I’ve done the best I can, I can turn it over to God. God will handle it way better than I ever could.
I share this with you because I want you to know that, when you talk to God, you can rest assured that He’s listening. Pray for the highest good of all in your prayers and trust that God is working on your behalf. When you put your focus on the highest good for all, you free yourself from the pressure of dictating the outcome and let God step in and do what you can't.
You don’t have to carry your burdens alone. You don’t have to feel defeated, depressed, or forgotten. Heaven knows you by name and the angels are cheering you on every single day of your life. Perhaps you haven’t experienced this in your life. That’s okay. It doesn’t make it any less true.
The time has come for you to hand over to God that illness, that relationship, that debt, that job search, that feeling of not being enough, that desire for a change in your life. Pray for the highest good of all and know that it includes you, too.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and let me know what situations have been heavy on your mind. As you type, release the situation to God and pray for the highest good of all.
I’m cheering for you. Like you’re thanking the good Lord for all the gifts in your life.