My first prayers were unanswered. Heartfelt, pleading prayers given by my 8 year old self for the Lord to help me quit cussing. Cussing was learned behavior, picked up from the constant violent fights of my parents. I prayed for other things—for my dad to come back. That we would have food. That kind of thing.

My prayer life has evolved and been rather a roller coaster ride reflecting my life’s ups and downs and spiritual development. I believe in God.
Most of my prayers as an adult have been out of obedience, not faith. God truly has answered my prayers in stunning ways, despite my personal spiritual failings.

When I began to go to 12 step groups, I began to understand how God works in answering prayers and my own powerlessness in my life. My faith grew–baby steps.

But when I left Bill in March 2008, I took a giant leap forward prayer-wise. I was dealing with health, finances, and of course the myriads of personal issues related to the separation. The sense of freedom was exhilarating and I loved most of the aspects of living alone. But it was scary and my job was totally out of my comfort zone.

I worried constantly about being fired. I had a couple of co-workers who made life miserable for me—and for most of the girls. Feeling overwhelmed and helpless, I knelt very day and just poured my heart and turned my problems to the Lord. I was impatient—he didn’t seem to answer my prayers as quickly as I wished but dang, He answered them in startling ways.

My faith grew. I felt like a terrible sinner, having walked out on a temple marriage to a good man. I’d left behind a neighborhood reeling from the sex abuse scandal and the aftershock of one person bent on bitter interactions with every one of us. I felt like a rat deserting a sinking ship.

But the Lord poured His love upon me in a way that I will never be able to deny.

I still pray that way. Sometimes I’m praying by rote, especially if I’m exhausted. But I don’t often forget that I’m not in charge of my life and my best efforts can’t solve my problems. I need God. I pray—talk to Him all dang day long about everything. Sometimes I ask Him to remind me to pray about something later. Sometimes at work, knowing I’ll forget, I say a quick prayer in my heart for a caller who is experiencing pain in their life. I say a lot of “sparrow prayers” as Cheiko Okazaki calls them. He helps me find a lot of lost things :).

I also have to be careful not to forget Him when my prayers are answered. It’s so easy to think “oh, I’m having a good day, I totally rock!” It’s important to give the glory and gratitude to the Lord. To stay humble.

My husband is a doer. He’s a workaholic and task oriented. I shared my philosophy of prayer with him and he said “But I have to do everything I can first before I turn to the Lord.” I believe this actually translates to “I HAVE to do EVERYTHING.” Period.

Mormons are workers and doers. I suspect more people feel like Bill does rather than like I do.

How about you? Have any of you had a paradigm shift regarding prayer? What caused it? How do you approach the Lord in prayer—and do you feel there are trivial and unimportant prayers that impose on the Lord and waste his time? How important is prayer in your life?

PS–Can’t find the “more” link. Would one of my co-bloggers fix it? And why haven’t heard from some of you lately?