Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

“Is there a right way to pray?”

I admit I found myself asking this question.

I don’t think it is uncommon to ponder this while experiencing hardship especially when struggles are unable to be conquered but instead continue. We begin to wonder. Am I praying correctly? Am I asking the right way? Am I surrendering to my faith?

The more the darkness prevails the more we become lost in prayer. Yes, a deliberate and thought-provoking pun.

How do we pray when stress and fear overwhelm us?

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I am a testimony to one who became lost in prayer. I allowed fear to overcome me.

My divorce has been long, complicated and brutal. It has been an absolute implosion of all parts of my life. There would be no kindness and civility for a love that has run its course. On the contrary, once I conceded I had done all I could do to save my relationship, a war was declared on the other side.

In the midst of emotional, physical and financial insecurity I let fear silently creep in.

I then allowed restless nights to welcome it deeper into my life.

I would climb under the sheets, my head collapsing into the pillow and I would pray. I would cry. I would pray. And then I would cry while I prayed.

“Please,” I would beg. “God please, help me find a way out of this situation. Please give me strength. Please make these horrible divorce games stop. Please, I am begging you.”

As I rounded the corner into year three of what should have been a one year divorce, I was at a loss. Why aren’t things getting better? Why can’t there be forward movement? Why can’t there be a resolution? I am making the best choices I can. I can’t control another human being.

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I continued to cry. I continued to pray with fear. I continued to beg. One might call it ‘Pregging’ rather than praying.

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One day a friend from college called. She was also enduring a painful divorce. She spoke of Joel Osteen. She said his sermons brought her strength and comfort. I always loved listening to Joel Osteen and found his messages inspiring. I knew I needed to listen to him.

So I did.

I now climbed under the sheets, collapsed my head into the pillow and set my phone to Joel. I hung on each word. I could feel my body language shifting away from stress and towards peace. The tossing and turning and the punching of the pillow seemed to be dissipating. I was now able to fall asleep. It may have required two entire sermons to drift off but to this divorce induced insomniac it was an invaluable respite.

I began to change the way I prayed. I replaced my own prayers with what Joel Osteen has been criticized for. I thanked God for showing his favor in my life. I thanked God for his abundance. I repeated these as Joel teaches via his sermons.

I found myself breaking free of fear and finding my faith. I was no longer ‘pregging.’ I was praying.

I began to tell people Joel Osteen was having a dramatic impact on my method of prayer.

“You know they call him a prosperity preacher,” some would say.

“I know,” I would respond. “That is a misnomer. Joel Osteen is NOT a ‘prosperity preacher.’ He is not preaching positivity and abundance. He is reminding us that fear is an absence of faith. He is reminding us how to pray.”

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” – James 1:6

An absence of faith and the presence of fear, hence, ‘lost’ in prayer.

Joel Osteen ministers to restore faith not simply prosperity.

He reminds us true faith is believing.

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)
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