I believe in the power of prayer, and I know prayer works. I pray often for my family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. To be honest though, sometimes (many times) I pray-vent and tell God all the ways he is wasting time and disappointing me. However I keep praying, because I know prayer works. Some of my prayers are more than a decade old, and today I am sharing seven things I have prayed for consistently for more than a decade and the story behind each one. The list is both inspirational and aspirational, but don’t get it twisted I am also praying that all my clients pay on time, to meet Idris Alba, for a billion dollar in my account, a year on the beach, a nice apple bottom and the tall, dark-skinned and thickums bae that seem to be eluding me.
I probably started praying specifically for joy in a dark penniless season. My thought was probably I’d rather be broke and joyful than broke and depressed. Being a business owner has the audacity to suck your joy, and couple that with the cards that life deals to all of us...I definitely need the Joy of the Lord for strength. It has remained a constant in my prayers. If you know me, you’d know save for legit sad/dark days here and there, joy is a constant in my life. I’m so glad God lavishly blesses me with joy, because my world would be sour without it.
My first encounter with peace happened a few years after I moved to Washington DC. I was experiencing immense inner turmoil about an important and life-altering decision. It was a beautiful summer afternoon, but everything in my life was dark, and I needed to make a decision that day. So I said a little prayer for wisdom and took a nap. I woke up a few hours after with a deep inner knowing about what to do (it wasn't the option I wanted) and an equally deep rest within my soul about the choice. It was truly my first romance with peace, and I vowed to have, if I can, for the rest of my life. Peace is another constant on my prayer list. Let's be honest, life can be hard. All around us, the earth is giving way, mountains are trembling and collapsing, skies are falling down, and oceans are swelling and bellowing. Still, it is possible and a blessing to stand at the center of the quake and be at peace. I strongly believe that peace is medicine for the soul. It shields you regardless of what the earth, mountains, and oceans choose to succumb to.
I told a lie in my early 20s, and the ripple effect swept wide and deep. It was a burden I carried for five (5) years until I came clean to one of my besties. We were in her bathroom when I blurted out the truth. She was taking a shower, and I was putting makeup on. That was eight years ago. After that first confession, I spent the next 2 years gathering up my courage to call everyone else involved to confess and apologize. The first time I prayed to be a woman of integrity was probably more than a decade ago. Every time I did, it felt and fell flat. Not because God wasn't listening, but because I knew that part of being a human with integrity and impeccable character is speaking the truth or doing what was necessary to correct a lie. We are all always a work in progress, but integrity and character are things I constantly ask for in my prayers because well, why not? You breath easier, sleep better, trust deeper and love harder when your integrity is intact. Additionally compromising my values drains my JOY and PEACE!
Every time I pray for patience, I roll my eyes, and I both regret and hate praying for it. Why? Because I am pretty certain that God leaned in the first time I prayed for patience, snapped his fingers and said: “it is done.” I resent that he moved pretty quickly to answer this prayer and to keep answering it (I am assuming, but I am sure my assumption is right). It will be super nice if he answered all my other requests quickly. However, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that patience is what has kept me going all these years. A lot of people who know me intimately commend me quite often on my resilience. I know underneath resilience is an answered prayer called patience. ⠀
AUDACITY - GRIT + BOLDNESS + COURAGE
I once led a small riot in high school outside the dining hall over food. It was so long ago, but I remember standing on the frontline looking Ms. Adedokun in the eyes and asking for more food. I also remember our matron once telling my dad that I was arrogant. The ride home wasn’t fun, but I never did like her, so I didn’t care what she thought of me. A lot of people were scared of her. I wasn’t and I let her know without saying a word…she could read it in my eyes and at the tilt of my nose. I knew it bothered her that I didn’t scurry when she walked. However, she was still in charge so I had little say or power. I was just an audacious teenager. As I got older, a trait I didn’t want life to suck out of me was courage. I pray often to remain audacious in asking for what I want and in being myself, but with better intentions, balance and humility. I pray for grit and audacity often. ⠀
ABILITY TO DISCERN NEEDS AND TO FILL THEM
I started praying to embody this trait before I knew exactly what I was truly praying for. However, one of my besties, Tracy Boswell, will forever remain dear (amidst other things) to my heart, because she pretty much did this for me when I needed it the most. In the hardest seasons of my life, she covered me financially, gave me rides to place I couldn’t get to and gave me access to rooms I didn’t have access to. She taught me the importance of stepping up especially when people can’t ask or are either feeling shame or pride to ask for help. I pray often to discern the needs of families, friends, strangers, and acquaintances especially when they can’t or don’t know how to ask. I pray that I’d reach out boldly and cover it anonymously when possible. I also pray that the people I reach out to would hopefully be in the right place to receive, because pride be a sucker sometimes. I know! I will probably pray for this for the rest of my life.
CLARITY OF VISION [WISDOM]
I don't necessarily see in grand visions except when I'm writing. Most of my life, the path opens up as I take one step at a time through the fog. I constantly engage the things in my heart, head, and hands with the people and things that are in front of me. However, I constantly pray that even though I may not be a visionary, I will have wisdom and clarity of vision on how to move and execute even if it is the very next step.