I am not sure when it happened, but sometime in 2017 or 2018, I stopped praying. It is not something I am proud to admit, but one day, I realized that, for the most part, prayer had ceased to exist in my life. I felt the lack of it everywhere, like a friendship that was once strong but had suddenly become unrecognizable.
If I am being honest, I knew all along that I was avoiding prayer and was very aware of its erosion from my life. I also knew that I had intentionally replaced prayer with other activities so that it was easier for me to avoid it. Despite my strategic distractions, I still missed the Lord the way I missed an old friend, but for a long while, I didn’t know how to begin our friendship again. I was not sure what to say, and as a result, my silence lasted for too long.
One day, around October or November of last year, I decided that the dull-persistent ache for fellowship with God had to end. I took some of the note cards I had purchased to help me study for the GRE and turned them into prayer note cards. On the side without lines, I wrote down the names of family members and friends and a few other people who came to mind, and on the lined side, I wrote down specific prayer requests for each person based on what I knew about their lives. If I couldn’t think of anything, I asked them. I added one more note card, called it “Thanksgiving,” and wrote down the things I was grateful for on the back.
I started to go through the note cards regularly, not everyday, which was my original goal, but often enough for me to notice that my friendship with the Lord was coming back to life. I liked the note cards because they kept my mind from wandering, helped me reflect on the lives of people who matter to me, and reminded me to be thankful. One day in either December or January, I started to notice that I didn’t need to pray for certain things anymore because the Lord had answered those prayers. Or, I noticed that I should keep praying and not give up because certain things were changing. I started to check off various items on the note cards and include the approximate date on which the prayers were answered. I remember smiling to myself when I realized that the Lord had heard me and was working in my life and the lives of people I care about. I was glad His still cares for me even though I neglected our friendship.
I felt sad and a bit ashamed of myself when I realized I had forgotten that the Lord listens and responds, and that I needed to be reminded that the He is not apathetic or absent. He is ever-present—even in those desert seasons in which the landscape never seems to change—and He is always waiting and ready for me to fellowship with Him.