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Prayer Journal Post: Living In Christ

I think one of the most important parts of prayer is Listening.  People often associate prayer with a conversation with God that is basically you doing all the talking and then waiting for an answer.  Let me tell you a story about a lesson I had in listening to God.

I grew up in a Christian home.  When I was born, my parents were living in Germany and I was their 2nd child.  My brother was born a muslim and I was born a Christian.  He was named Neva, but I had to be given a Christian name, so they handed me to their German (bestfriend) Preacher and said, could you please bless and name her?  What could be more Christian than Mary?  So I was born Mary Ozel in Wiesbaden - Germany, to two Turkish parents who were now, new Christians.  (If you haven't snooped around very much yet and don't know who I am, my legal name and the name I go by today is, Marylou Lovely.)

I was devout and even became a Teacher's Aid at Sunday school at the age of 9.  I loved God so much I wanted Holy Communion every night, I sang hymns all the time and did a lot of praying out aloud.  (That sounds so much like my 4 year old daughter...)  Then when I became a teenager and was totally sick of being called a Bible Basher... I gave up and left Church, I ran so far away from Jesus, that I started worshipping false idols through Fung Shui and worshipped many Gods in Paganism.  Starting to sound a little bit like our Forefathers who were trying to divorce themselves from the surrounding Pagan customs and worship.  Thankgoodness for Leviticus!  Lol.

God waited a long time...  He waited, and waited, and waited and waited, until my ways became so sinful that I was getting close to being so far from the Kingdom of Heaven that I was knocking on the doors of no man's land in Hell.  My life was full of fear, dread, loneliness, despair, self-loathing, hatred... just to name a few.  My friends know what the details of that existence were.  Not a pretty picture.  In a sense I was already dead.  (All the while, God never left me, but I was not listening.)

Finally after getting so close to physical death in more ways than one, I heard his call.  I was listening to The Shema, I had been listening to it for a few months, morning and night. (The Shema is Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 sung in Hebrew.)  I still didn't have any friends, but was listening.  I felt protected and in the end it made me long for closer proximity to God.  This longing is hard to describe.  It's like I wasn't breathing and I needed God to breath air into me again.  

So I did what anyone does when they are longing for the presence of God.  I went to Church.  I spoke with a Preacher who listened to me as I told him my story, through tears, while Sophia (my 4 year old daughter,) made a huge mess of the Church toys.  The Church didn't make me feel the intimacy with God that I was longing for, (I was so messed up,) but the instruction and lessons on prayer that I would receive from Church Elders and my mentor were the things that drew me closer to the God that waited.  My God who loves me, with an unfailing, unchanging love that satisfies every longing desire that's in my heart.  My mentor prayed with me every time we were together, she gave me sermons to listen to that were specifically on prayer and they always emphasised listening instead of talking.

So now whenever things are going wrong in my life, I ask myself...  Was I listening to God or did I take matters into my own hands again, thinking I could control the outcome? 

God has given me a new motto:

Listen, Praise, Listen, Ask, Listen, Intercede, Listen and be Guided.  Prayer is the beginning of relationship with God.

Below is a picture of an Israeli Soldier praying before he goes into battle or possibly before he goes on guard duty.  Either way, he's entering a warzone.  Aren't we all doing that when we step out into the world.  I think the first most heart-felt prayer happens when you know your life depends on it. 

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Fantastic article so true and real exactly what Christ asks us to be:)

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