Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What is prayer? Every prayer, in its purest form, is a second chance; it’s a chance to choose to believe in God and what He has promised.

The day I prayed for the first time — I mean when I opened my mouth, spoke, and knew God was listening — was June 9, 2007. It was my most important second chance.

Though I grew up attending church with my family, and I had uttered words in prayer many times before, I never really believed that God was listening.

That day, inside my family home, face down on my parents’ bathroom floor, I rested my flushed cheek against the cool, creamy tile.

I was 26, only a few years removed from my time as a college athlete on scholarship, with my eyes decidedly fixed on the typical measures of success: wealth, self-sufficiency, independence. A fierce competitor since early childhood, I had spent the previous years willfully separated from God, pursuing all of these goals, and doing so with a dangerous, overcompensating attitude that proudly declared, “I know exactly what I’m doing, and I don’t need help. I can do it by myself.”

A few months before that day, the doctor told me in the exam room, without having done one X-ray or MRI, that he knew it was cancer. My heart sank. I felt sick. Defeated. How could this be happening? How could it be happening to ME, the girl in control of her own life?

That moment on the floor was three months after my first cancer diagnosis and surgery. I had finished enough physical therapy to have the radiation treatment needed to kill any residual disease.

Only there I was, 12 hours into a three-day quarantine, on the floor. I was by myself, but I couldn’t do anything. Dizzy, I couldn’t breathe. I had worked myself into a frantic panic and, even though I had never fainted before, I suddenly knew it was coming. I felt it, and there was nothing I could do.

My body hit my parents’ bathroom floor, and I remember pressing my face against that icy, flat surface as the words escaped. “God, please,” I whispered, “I know you’re here.” I wept. “Please help me.” The words were like prisoners wrongly accused, released into the arms of their loved ones after spending too much time locked away under false truths. “God, please help me,” I cried. “I’m so sorry.”

Until that moment, I didn’t believe that God was really listening. As I softly spoke those words, the terror subsided. I sat up, and I knew God was right there with me. I knew He heard me. I knew that I was going to survive. It was my second chance.

After my initial diagnosis and four subsequent recurrences, I had completely written off the idea of being a wife or a mother. But as it turned out, He had both marriage and motherhood in my future. Even as I doubted Him, I prayed, knowing God was listening intently and guiding me toward His purpose, my destiny.

This prayer inspired me to take additional chances: one to become a teacher to impact the lives of children, and the other to create something for this world that would lead others toward Him. On the heels of our daughter’s birth, something I thought would never happen, my husband and I created and launched Bible Belles, a company dedicated to helping girls discover who God really is, and through our first book, “Hannah: The Belle Of Prayer,” helping them talk to Him and know He is there so they can find out who they really are.

Prayer is about talking to God, knowing He is listening, and trusting that we are never, ever alone.

Erin Weidemann is the founder and CEO of Bible Belles and author of the award-winning children’s book series “The Adventures Of Rooney Cruz.” She is also the host of the Heroes For Her podcast. For more information, visit www.BibleBelles.com.

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