Imagine putting yourself straight into the heart of a Bible story, approaching Jesus in real time prayer. Jeannie Blackmer helps us know how.
Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective On Prayer
By Jeannie Blackmer
I sat on my worn green leather couch in the quiet early morning hours before anyone else in my family was awake. The tears slipped down my cheeks as I agonized over how to pray for my oldest son.
As senior in high school, he was experiencing rejection from friends while he was also healing from a broken collarbone and a fractured leg from a skiing accident. He was making lifestyle choices that resulted in difficult consequences and he began disappearing into a dark world of depression.
My mother's heart ripped apart - seeing my child suffer while I felt there was nothing I could do except pray.
The Psalms is my go-to book when I want to pray Scripture but this morning the Psalms seemed too me-oriented. God is my refuge and strength. He holds my hand. He shelters me under his wings. All of this is comforting but I cried out to God, "I don't care about me right now. This isn't about me. Show me how to pray for him."
Out of this desperation I thought why not look for parents who approached Jesus on behalf of a child? I searched the New Testament for parents who talked to Jesus about their children and I found several - including a ruler, two mothers and a father.
I began to see these conversations as prayers. After all these parents were talking to Jesus, isn't that prayer? These dialogues, authentic and desperate, became my prayers. I read how these parents came to Jesus with desperate requests to heal, protect or direct the lives of a child. I imagined myself in their place adapting their pleas as my own. I imagined myself face-to-face with Jesus asking him to intervene in the life of my son.
I saw myself as that mom in Matthew 15:22 who desperately sought healing for her daughter. Her words became my words. "Lord, my son is severely oppressed, please heal him from depression and choices that harm him."
Jesus' healing words affirming her faith and granting her request became very meaningful and personal to me. I felt understood and experienced a newfound peace.
Thankfully, my son did rebound from this difficult time. He still has bouts of discouragement, loneliness, stress and all the things we deal with in life, but I discovered a new way to pray. I have continued to use this practice of prayer for my other two boys and those I love and care about in life.
Recently, I read this quote in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers: "One of the reasons of stultification in prayer is that there is no imagination, no power of putting ourselves deliberately before God." Imagining myself face-to-face with Jesus, putting myself into the scene of what was happening then and seeing how it's relevant to my life today has inspired freshness in my prayer life.
I do believe "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) And I'm learning to pray like I believe this too.
Jeannie Blackmer is author of Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer. She's authored other books, contributed content for more than 20 books, written articles for a variety of online and print magazines, and manages the blog for a large church in Boulder, CO. She's married to Zane and mother to three adult sons. For more information visit www.talkingtojesus.com.