Sometimes, praying comes naturally to me. Not very often, but every once in awhile, I pray with only joy and thankfulness as my companions.
Other times, it is all I can do to even think a prayer.
Today was one of those times...
My family always eats lunch together. After we eat, we finish up with a silent prayer. So as my parents and grandma bowed their heads and closed their eyes to pray, I kind of sat there for a few moments, unsure of what to do.
Finally, I closed my eyes. Instantly, my feelings began to scream, and my heart rebelled. No! Don't pray! Don't do it! But still, I did it.
As silent prayers are (of course) silent, I began to form the words to the prayer in my mind. Dear...God...umm...
A long moment. I didn't even know what to say. And the voices I felt intensified thousandfold. Don't do it! Don't pray! Seriously, don't!
God...please...help...me...The simple words were drawn out.
I looked up. Everyone had finished praying. In the time it took them to pray a whole prayer, I'd barely managed one and a half sentences.
I got up. Cleared off the table. Put the dishes in the dishwasher. Went upstairs.
And as for God...I believe He was pleased. Grieved for my sake that I could barely pray, but still, pleased that I had done so at all. Needless to say, my prayers often aren't exactly eloquent, but I prayed. I prayed.
Yesterday, I said goodbye to a friend who's going away for about two months. We prayed together, and I actually prayed out loud - something I don't typically do, if you'll remember. And even though the prayer I prayed aloud was short and filled with nerves, my friend appreciated it, and I really believe God did, too.
Victories? They might be small and filled with doubts and questionings and frailties and nerves. You might be tempted to look back and think to yourself, I could've done better than I did. But that's just a recipe for self-condemnation. Lovely, your victories are beautiful, and God is pleased with them - even if they aren't exactly dramatic or eloquent. Even if they're shaky and barely managed.
God is so, so pleased with every fear you face, every sinful impulse you resist, every prayer you pray, every obstacle you overcome. Even if you almost backed down and ran away, God is still pleased.
I am sure of it.