On The Journey, Judy Bowman

Prayer can be risky

I’ve been blessed with a very good friend whom I love dearly and who never fails to build up my faith and teach me how to more fully follow Jesus Christ. She’s a wife, a mother, and a grandmother who works full-time and volunteers at three different charities. Somehow she also finds time to be a great cook, a talented painter, and her house looks like something out of “Architectural Digest.” She kind of makes me sick—-but in a good way. Being around her calls me to do greater things. She lifts my heart and spirit in so many ways. This woman’s whole life is a prayer to God. And that’s her dearest example for me. Her life is so full of good fruit because her heart is always seeking the Lord.

Over the years, I’ve learned about her prayer life by watching her live it. She doesn’t particularly enjoy talking about prayer, she’d rather just pray. But I think we all need to know more about prayer, so with her blessing, I’m sharing some of what she’s taught me. Learning to pray is like beginning any relationship. It develops over time and deepens through growing intimacy. There are times when it seems no one is listening to you, but this is a deception. Our Lord is always there. Are you?

Begin the day with prayer. Catholics pray a “Morning Offering” in which we give thanks and offer our day to God, in our words, our thoughts, and our actions. We beg Him to do His will through us. My friend finds ways to “pray without ceasing” throughout her day. These ways are not new prayers, with many of her favorites well-known to most Catholics. She says she’s a “dabbler” and doesn’t pray the same way each day. Her secret is to keep at it.

Just pray. But what does that mean? It means opening your heart and mind to God. It means seeking Him out and inviting Him to breathe His Spirit into you and to know you. It’s an active reaching out to Him. And it’s a quiet and receptive listening to His leading you into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Praying is loving the Lord with your thoughts and emotions as well as your intellect and your will. It’s a process of surrender and submission in which we discover our purpose in life. Prayer is building a relationship, but not like a relationship with another human being. People can disappoint us. People can betray and deceive us. Building an earthly relationship contains within it a seed of doubt. That’s why we treasure our lasting friendships so much. True friends are priceless. But a relationship with the Lord is built upon the rock of Truth. He will never disappoint us. He cannot betray our trust. With God, there is no doubt of His love and faithfulness.

The only risk in our relationship with God is that He will transform us into the person He created us to be. We risk being truly and honestly and completely known by someone, and still loved by Them. We risk having to change, to conform our will and our actions to that of our Blessed Savior. And there will be pain in that changing.

Ultimately, when we love God we risk giving ourselves away. Loving God makes it hard to walk by a hungry person. It makes it hard to ignore a homeless family standing on the side of the road. Love makes it hard to keep ourselves safely self-involved. This explains why my friend spends her life away in the love and service of others. And how her ceaseless praying is at the center of all that humility and sacrifice. The more she prays, the more she loves, and the more she has to share with others.

So, pray. And ask others to pray for you. Ask the Saints to pray for you. Ask the Blessed Mother to pray for you. Read the Gospels. Choose a chapter and read one every day. Ask God to reveal Himself to you in that chapter. Pray your way through the Psalms. These are the prayers that Jesus prayed, after all. Pray the Angelus at noon each day. When you get ready for bed, review the day you’ve had and see those things you could have done differently, and with more love. Go to confession. Spend time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Take the risk to give your heart to the Lord in prayer.

“The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love.” — C.S. Lewis

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Come and worship with us. You are always welcome and we look forward to your visit.

Pastor Flood’s message was from God’s Word, Genesis 22. Many of the events in this chapter are typified and connected with the cross. Abraham was a type of the Father and chosen of God to be used to bring into existence the priesthood nation. Abraham believed God in His promises and in His waiting. God is always faithful. Even though Abraham sinned, God remembered and blessed Abraham. Confess your sin, believe in Christ finished work on the cross for you, His resurrection, and receive Christ into your life by faith in Him. Be sure to listen to this message of encouragement.

Continue to pray for members Mike Cross, Denise Pitts, Betty Pitts, Pastor and his family, and all who need our prayers. Pray for our shut-ins, Carolyn Denton and Lula Petty, in hospital. Pray for those who have lost loved ones. Pray for our churches, missionaries, and evangelist. Pray for all of our government representatives, state or federal, desperately in need of prayer. Our wonderful country founded on God and freedom is facing perilous days. PRAY! Souls needing to be saved with time growing short.

Pleasant Valley Baptist continues to practice social distancing with mask-wearing being optional. Visit or view our services for encouragement from God’s Word.

Join us Sundays at 11 am and 6 pm for in-person services, Facebook or YouTube. Wednesday night Bible Study, 7 pm Facebook or YouTube, Brother Cody Cranmore.

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