Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Finding God's Presence in Prayer (On a Lonely Day While Scrubbing My Fridge)

Shutterstock photo 125718290
By Maggie Bartlett

I had a lonely day.

A day where loneliness was so pervasive even the distractions that usually make me feel better couldn’t disguise that weighty, almost sick feeling. I couldn’t seem to find the companionship I needed—nothing was comforting, nothing lifted my spirits. Occasionally I remember to look to Jesus on days like this. It seems so cheesy, but sometimes when friends don’t answer their phones or my favorite song isn’t doing the trick, I wonder if the Lord is nudging me to look to him instead. So, I tried looking to him this afternoon, through prayer. Just a simple, “Hello, I’m here. Are you?” while I cleaned the fridge. The immediate connection I felt made me cry sloppy tears, which led me to second guess my decision to pray because those tears weren’t helping my loneliness.

I started this 40-day prayer journal back in January. I’m still in the middle of it as we head into summer because I play fast and loose with discipline. It continues to be a challenging experience. 

Prayer and I have a complicated relationship; it can be scary for me. 

I’ve witnessed some crazy miracles after minutes or years of praying and I’ve also seen a lot (I mean, a lot) of unanswered prayers, too. Yet this prayer challenge keeps telling me to pray and ask for miraculous things. But it’s so vulnerable and precarious to pray big when I don’t know what the answer will be. What if I ask for too much and it’s unanswered? Will I question my faith or my God if he doesn’t answer a prayer in the way I expect or hope?

I’m still unraveling these and other questions around my prayer life and I think the Lord welcomes them. He’s inviting me into learning something new about him. Though these questions could prevent me from coming to the throne or to his feet in prayer, I’m choosing to show up anyway—questions in tow. I continue to pray; sometimes with trepidation as I ask for big things and sometimes with hesitation as I wrestle with unanswered prayers.

There probably isn’t a “best” way to pray anyway, even though we’ve all learned various approaches and methods for prayer. Prayer can be communion or meditation, intercession or begging. But I do know that on a particularly lonely day, when I paused to find my Jesus in prayer, he was there. I felt an immediate withness. He didn’t use a magic wand to make my troubles disappear, but I did hear him say he was with me in my sadness.

Sometimes all I need is communion and intimacy with him; that’s often what I find when I pray. 

I still feel lonely as I write this for some reasons explicable and others not, and I feel his persistent presence and comfort. He gave me his presence through prayer and, today, that was enough.

In this world you will have trouble but take heart for I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

Maggie Bartlett is a Colorado native, living in Denver with her husband. 
She works at a marketing agency and loves to write, climb mountains and travel in her free time.


  1. Maggie,
    Me too!! I understand the struggle you face. It is so easy to fill our lives with stuff to do & people to talk to, that God seems to slip quietly into the backdrop of our lives.
    Thanks for sharing! You don't struggle alone with this part of life!

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I appreciate your encouragement and I love hearing "me too!" Thank goodness for those words!

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