on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Freedom Prayer

This is the ninth in a series on My Faith Journey.  If you prefer to listen to me telling it, not verbatim, click on the arrow below.

On January 16, 2003, I wrote the following words in my journal late one evening when I was alone:

Tonight, I got on my knees by my couch at home after feeling a strong urging in my heart, to do so.  This was not something I did regularly.

I prayed out loud, “God, I am ready to be free from the effect that my mother’s death has had on me when I was 10 and how it has affected me in my relationships since.”

You see, even though it’s not logical, throughout my life I had held back emotionally from giving all of myself to another without reservation.  I loved my mother so much and then she died, suddenly, and it was almost like a subconscious reflex was set up in my emotions, “Ok, don’t give all of yourself to another because they will leave.”

This prayer was simple, clear, concise . . . straight from my heart.  One of those “I prayed like I really meant it,” prayers.  🙂

Inwardly, I felt it was time to accept this truth by faith and begin living “as if” it was true.  I really could let go and love another without reservation.

I wanted to love someone with my whole heart, holding nothing back.

How could I know that years of psychotherapy had prepared me to be vulnerable enough with God finally to pray this prayer and mean it?  I had unconsciously locked a corner of my heart around the sharing all of my feelings (mad, sad, glad, afraid) in a significant relationship, thus choosing not to be totally vulnerable and therefore blocking the possibility of the intimacy I so desperately needed and wanted.

How could I know that I could be changed with a prayer that was so simple?  It wasn’t magic, but rather a decision to risk saying whatever I felt.

How could I know that less than two weeks later on January 29, 2003 I would be swept off my feet by Mary Beatrice Sullivan in Chapel Hill, NC who picked me up at the airport in order for me to facilitate a care team training for her non-profit, and then marry her nineteen months later?

Vulnerable prayers create intimacy with God and with others.

Since then, for me the purpose of prayer is not so much “convincing God to give me something I wanted” as much as it is for me to ask for help for me to be open and willing to change for a prayer to come true.

And then, begin living as if it is true.

What have you been preparing to pray for awhile?  What areas have you locked away due to hurt, or grief, or anger?

Go ahead, speak it from your heart, let it go, be not afraid.  This is how prayer for me becomes true.

Amen.

2 Comments

  1. kathy

    I am ready to live free of the devastating effects my mother’s mental/emotional illness has had on me for almost 49 years now, and continues to have. I am ready to be free of it, let go of it, and live the abundant life I was created to live.

    Malcolm, thank you.

  2. Malcolm

    Kathy, thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable here and sharing your readiness to be free. My experience is this is about 90% of the journey.

    The next step for me was to thank God for the answered prayer and then making an internal shift to start living into the new reality.

    Peace and grace to you,
    Malcolm

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