Why I Pray

When I pray for you it’s like breathing –
equal parts commonplace and extraordinary in its rhythm and repetitive motion.

Each morning I climb the stairs,
check the first of many trash cans,
and begin to pray as I move counterclockwise around the perimeter of the library.

Some days I am eager to pray,
overflowing with hope in the promises of God,
but most days I feel frustrated and weary of
praying and praying and praying
without seeing growth or change.

And yet,
a little voice inside says,
“Kelly, God hears you,”
and so, I pray.

While walking the length of the library I look out on the quiet quad,
taking in the steadfast clock tower,
the blooming hanging baskets,
and the construction projects strewn across campus in various stages of completion.

I pray for your work,
your family,
your mind,
and most of all, our friendship.

Rounding the southwest corner of the building, I often begin to sing,
sometimes as a force of habit,
and sometimes because I feel as though my own words are failing me
leaving me no option but to lean on those that others have penned.

When I head to the other side of the library
my prayers often deepen in intensity
as I pray away the demons that threaten to devour
all who choose to walk in their identity as children of God.

I finish my circuit
and sometimes I feel relief that this particular morning ritual is finished,
but more often I feel a sense of longing for even just one more minute
in the presence of a God who already knows,
but still listens
who doesn’t need me,
but still chooses to use me in continuing the work of His Kingdom
as I pray for you.

So friend,
I want you to know that while my words may be raw,
and my feelings fickle
I am praying for you
because I trust that the growth that happens beneath the dirt
is every bit as important as the blossoming of the flower.

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Classic Kelly

Written on 6/3/15

Today I started the process of packing for Nepal, and Classic Kelly showed up with a vengeance. Classic Kelly is Type A to the extreme. Organized and constantly running every possible scenario through her brain. For example, tonight I spent a solid ten minutes agonizing over which blank journal I should bring to Nepal. One is sturdier, but as such, heavier, and neither are quite perfect because the pages can’t tear out, but there’s no reason to go buy a new one if I have two options that will really work fine. I finally decided on bringing the one from my good friend Lauren because she was the one who gave me the journal I used in Romania and Moldova. But do you see what I mean? A journal is just one item on my extensive, detailed, way-too-organized packing list.

On one hand I’m marveling at the fact that I actually have enough time to pack the way I want to. As I’m sure you can tell, my version of packing is incredibly time-consuming, and I love that I’m in a season of life that allows me to take my time on this process.

But on the other hand, I feel this nagging itch of, “really Kelly?” Am I spending more time packing and preparing than I am on my knees in prayer? Truthfully… yes. And there’s something wrong with that picture.

When I went to the prayer room at my church right after the first earthquake in Nepal, the man who prayed for me told me that the single best way to prepare for this trip is to intercede on behalf of everyone involved – my team, the Tiny Hands staff, my support community, and the Nepalis we will meet. While that deeply resonates with me, I haven’t been living it out.

So this is a promise, that I’m making public for accountability purposes, to change my ways. More than anything I want to be a woman of prayer, but I’m not going to magically become that woman without putting forth any effort. There’s a new song out by Hillsong United that says, “I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.” What a beautiful picture of the power of our prayers!

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Written on 6/4/15

I’ve been reflecting on what I wrote yesterday, and there’s one critical point I wish to add. Lately I’ve been incredibly frustrated with my seeming inability to pray, so today I finally decided to just sit and listen to God. And in the space I gave Him, my Father whispered “be.” How fitting! Here I am striving and struggling to pray more, which is what God wants, right? No! He wants me to be still and increase my awareness of His presence, goodness, and voice. At its heart, prayer is turning our attention to God, and ultimately, prayer is not about my ability to pray (or lack thereof.) So instead of trying to force myself to pray, I’m going to give myself space to be still and know that He is God, and I am not!

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