Ericka Goss: “Prayer”

Okay, I’ll say it…

I’m a daddy’s girl.

As a kid, I always had a really wonderful bond with my dad. He was kind of my idol — who I wanted to be when I grew up. He was always loving, always giving. We used to say that he would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it.

My relationship with God first started because of what I saw in my dad’s life. Praying to my heavenly Father felt so natural…  so hopeful. Connecting wasn’t hard.

Besides that, my dad and I are two of a kind. I inherited his ability to worry about pretty much anything. I also inherited his eyes, his love of action movies and his inability to admit when he’s fallen asleep in front of people.  

It’s safe to say that growing up, we were always very close. I felt like I could share anything and everything with him. And typically I would.

When I was 18 I made a big move — not only leaving the house I grew up in, but also the state, my family, and the only world I had ever known. The only communication I had with my family was through phone calls.

Another thing you should know about my dad and I: we’re terrible at phone calls. My mom, however, has been blessed with the ability to talk to anyone and everyone for hours on end about pretty much anything. For example, she once had an hour long conversation with the phone operator while trying to call my dad at work. Yeah, I don’t know how she managed that…

When I moved out though, it’s safe to say that my mom was sort of my lifeline to my family back home. She always made the effort to call me and drag me into a conversation that would slowly turn into hours of recounting the day’s details. My dad, however, was more aloof. Occasionally my mom would pass him the phone and we would stumble through a one-worded conversation that normally would last no more than 5 minutes. Then we’d hang up. Naturally, I started calling my mom more and my dad less.

A God Who Wants Relationship

One day, I received a text from my mom, asking me to call her. When I finally did, she mentioned that my dad was worried that I didn’t like talking to him anymore. He felt that I didn’t care if he knew what was happening in my life. He was really heartbroken about it.

Turns out, as awkward and as one-sided as those 5 minute conversations had felt to me, they meant the world to him. My dad just wanted to feel like he was still a part of my life. Even though he heard all of the stories from my mom at some point, it was always different to hear it from me.

I feel like sometimes we treat God the same way.

Occasionally, maybe even once a day, we set aside some time to “pray.” It might be early in the morning before work, or on the bus ride into the city. Sometimes, we get so busy that we put it off altogether, kind of like my phone calls with my dad.

However, what is different about those two situations is that my dad is 600 miles and 8 hours away. God is with me all the time. And what is prayer but a conversation? If my dad on earth wants to hear from my lips what I ate this morning for breakfast, how much more would my Father who created me want to know? And, get this, it requires no phone, no technology, not even an audible voice to communicate with my Father. Just my thoughts.

That, to me, is prayer.

There is no ceremony. No protocol. Some days are great and I’m thanking him from sunrise to sunset. And some days suck. I can’t even count the amount of times that I’ve cried to him. God already knows how I feel, knows what happened, knows even beyond what I know about my situation. Nevertheless he still wants to hear me tell him about it.

We Are Known and Valued

A lot (read MOST) of the time, I don’t notice a tangible response back from the Lord. Like phone calls with my dad it often feels one-sided, like I’m crying out and no one is listening. The Bible says though that God loves us so much that he knows the number of hairs on our heads.  

Luke 12:7, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to count the hairs on your head, but let me tell you right now that it’s pretty freaking impossible. My dad, as much as he loves me, couldn’t even make an educated guess to the number of hairs I possess. I’m sure the number is ungodly.

But God knows it. 

When you love something, you want to know everything about it. Take your hobby, or your favorite band for example. How many hours have you spent on Google reading about such things? Acquainting yourself with such things? Once again, the total number is probably insane and simultaneously embarrassing. But, that’s love.

Now imagine, that you created something. A living breathing person that you’ve had a plan for before time even existed to plan for. You know the number of hairs on her head. You know how she feels when the lights turn off at night and what scares her the most about life, even if she doesn’t know herself. You know her weaknesses and her strengths. When she succeeds and when she fails. You know how she grows because you watch it and also make it happen.

In the age of social media, my dad can 100% see what’s going on in my life from the Internet. He can, and typically does, stalk my pages for information on what is going on. However, it means so much more when I tell him. I can’t help but feel that God wants the same thing.  

Let Him Hear Your Heart

In his prayer the writer who penned Psalm 56:8 said so poetically, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” This is beautiful. It assures us that God loves us so much that nothing is too small for him to care about. Really.

Your feelings are valid.

Your concerns are heard.

Your tears are collected.

So if you ever feel like you’re not being heard, pay attention. Maybe the wind gently kisses your cheek when you walk outside. Or the sun shines down into your car as you drive, warming you up. Maybe you meet eyes with someone on the subway and they smile at you. Every little wink from Heaven counts…

I promise you, God hears you, so keep talking. He always listens.

More from Ericka
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