Prayer & Petition

When did I stop praying? Praying just to pray, just to talk. Not as a favor to anyone else. When I was little, I would pray before every first bite and every time my eyes would close or open. I opened and closed my day with peace, giving it all to God in a few words. Somewhere along the line, prayer became a task. Something I do only when people ask me to. Prayer became a mental process for me. More often than not, I found myself thinking through my prayer instead of saying it aloud. It was a mental process for me, rather than an open conversation. Every word was rehearsed. I was too busy telling God what I needed to listen to what he was telling me.

As a child, I would kneel beside my bed at night and say a prayer. As a teenager, I would bow my head before every meal and whisper prayers to God before bed. The same prayers every time. When I entered college, prayer was all I had. It was my only friend. Every second I could get, I would talk to God. Every day was a prayer opened in the morning and closed at bed time with a thank you note to God. I asked Him to bring me peace before sitting through every class, I would take breaks mid-paper to ask for strength, and I would ask him daily to bring me friendship rooted in him. When things started looking up for me, I started praying less. I called out to God quietly. He had given me the friends I had asked for, so I stopped asking Him to intervene in my relationships. I stopped asking him to bring me peace and started expecting life to do it for me instead. And oddly enough, when I felt overwhelmed, I would load up on coffee.

So often, God answers our prayers and we forget to keep praying. He does it so subtly that is seems like life is just working in your favor. So prayer becomes an accessory, like a first aid backpack. Instead of taking precautions before we get hurt, we wait and try to patch it up later. We let ourselves get sick instead of applying medicine directly. But, prayer doesn’t have to be our aspirin, it can be our lifestyle.

Prayer is such a necessity for college students. It’s like having free therapy, especially through the busiest times. When we get bogged down by tests and homework, we don’t have to pull our hair out. God gave us another option. A better option. Talk it through with Him, start before the test season comes and keep going beyond that season. He wants to hear you and He can help you through it.

Think on these verses when you start feeling overwhelmed:

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Psalm 4:1

“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.”

Romans 8:26

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Remember this: prayer is a conversation. God hears it all, even when you don’t know what to say. So, before you take a bite of your cup of noodles or rip your hair out over finals, take a minute to pray, it just might ease your soul.

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