Very recently I have had the great privilege of trying to discover the true power of prayer. The past three months have brought me one of the most difficult times in my life, and because of this trial I have had to re-assess my faith in God and my prayer life. During this time I have been able to take a look at what my perceptions of faith were, and how they were formed. Sifting through a lot preconceived ideas about prayer, I have begun to challenge 24 years of beliefs. Needless to say, it has been a very enlightening three months and my growth as a Christian and as a member of the gay and lesbian community has been tremendous.
My life as a lesbian has taken me through a lot of different stages in my faith and in my walk with Christ. When I first came out at the age of 19, I was ostracized from the prayer group that I belonged to and was shunned by many of my Christian friends. These events led me away from God because I figured that if that was what Christianity was all about, I wanted nothing to do with it. The God that I had been raised to love was not judgmental and accepted everyone for who they were. Why now were people condemning me in the Name of Christ? My prayer life particularly suffered because the loss of my prayer network left me feeling alone and unsupported. Approaching God with my concerns and desires seemed a very frightening and overwhelming thing. It took me a long time to recover from that, and when I did, things began to go really well in my life. I believe that it is in the good times that people tend to let their relationship with Christ and their faith slack. I know I did. Because I was not in a state of despair, it did not seem an urgent task to rekindle my desire to know God. It has not been until now that I have fully regained the realization of my need for Christ in my life, and that the best way to let Him in is through daily time spent with Him in prayer.
Three months ago my domestic partner of four years and I broke up. It was not something that I wanted, and it has been devastating. From the day I moved out of our apartment I began to pray to God for my every need. Where would I live? How would I eat? All of these needs have been met, and more. Matthew 6:25-34 tells us that we need not worry about our lives; that God will never let us go without the necessities that we need. I have never found this to be more true than now.
In the beginning I called out to God to restore my relationship. Though that has not happened yet, something even more wonderful has. In wanting desperately for God to hear and answer my prayer, I took it upon myself to learn all I could about prayer and having faith. While I poured over books, I learned very basic yet important things that I suppose I had known all along, but never fully realized until now. I learned that God wants to have a personal relationship with us, and that He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. I have learned that it is through prayer that we grow closer to God and it is through prayer that we can hear God’s voice speaking to us. Because I was hurting and went to God with one specific request, the restoration of my relationship, I have learned to go to Him with everything. My relationship with Christ is now growing deeper every day, and I look forward to my prayer time with Him. By learning to wait on the Lord for the answers to my prayers, I am deepening my faith and my love for the God who has never forsaken me and never let me down. I have seen the answers to many prayers, and have learned that persistence pays off. I now look with excitement and expectation around all of life’s corners, waiting to see how God will answer me next! The power of prayer is not just how God will answer our prayers, it is the realization that the actual power comes as we learn how to love and communicate with Him better.
Is there such a thing as homospirituality? I would have to answer a resounding yes. As an oppressed people I think that we have to dig even deeper into our faith lest we be convinced by the religious right that we have no business looking to God to fulfill our needs. I think that we have to be that much more in tune with God’s will for our lives as we pray daily, because it is harder for us to turn to others and say “Hey, my partner and I are having problems. Could you pray for us?” I do not know if the gay and lesbian community has necessarily been given “special” blessings by God, for I feel that God truly blesses all those who love Him. I do think, however, that because I have to work just a little bit harder to express my faith, I am more aware of the blessings that I receive, and a lot less likely to take them for granted.