We were dressed in white dresses and veils on our heads. We clasped our hands together. We walked into the church in two lines, singing “walking in the light, beautiful light, come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright. Shine all around us by day and by night, Jesus, the light of the world. Jesus, the light of my world.”
I was around 12 years old when I received my first holy communion at the Catholic Church. I come from a Christian family so I’ve grown up believing and trusting God. Also, my mother is a prayerful woman and she’s instilled that spirit of prayer in her children.
At times in my life, I feel broken, lost, alone and confused and prayers have brought me to a place of stillness, peace, and joy. When I close my eyes, knell down and pray, what meets me is an assurance that my life will be alright. I want to share the reasons why my faith and prayer matters to me.
God Strengthens Me
Who I am now and who I was are two different people. If we could go back in time and you saw me then, you’d see a girl that lacked confidence. You’d see a girl that held on to others and things as a clutch because she was afraid of standing on her own.
The reason that I’m changing and growing is because of God. The reason why people who knew me then might not recognize me now is because of prayers. I always pray for strength. I always pray for courage, wisdom, and understanding. So what happens is that God will put me in situations, events, and experiences to develop those qualities.
God Gives Me Hope
One of my favorite prayers is Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd. On days that I feel less than, on days that my life exhausts me and I find myself questioning when things will manifest, this prayer saves me.
“The Lord is my Shepherd. There is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
As I recite the Psalm, I am filled with hope. I know that the challenges and fears that I have will not break me.
“Even though I walk in a dark valley, I fear no evil for the rod and staff protects me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. My cup overflows.”
I reflect on how God has kept me safe and alive to this day. I reflect on how he has blessed me to be in a family where I have the necessities to survive. I reflect on the people that he’s brought into my life whose words have lifted and inspired me.
“Yes, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever and ever. Amen.”
I think about the time he changed my path when I wanted to betray myself. I think about the time he brought me to a community when I lacked purpose. I think about the time he spoke to me to brighten my spirit when I was dismayed.
God gives me hope and peace of mind. To know that he gives me the strength to get up and carry on my days even though I’m uncertain is enough to be thankful to him.
I pray because my faith sustains me. I pray because my faith gives me hope. I pray because he gives me a reason. I pray because God is the way, the truth, and the light.