I spent last Friday morning at my prayer bench. I hadn’t been here since about November or so when the temperature was the same yet felt so stinkin cold then. Now it felt warm. This was my bench. The bench where I prayed a lot. The bench where I over looked God’s creation and poured my soul to Him.
I started off my Friday morning, setting out early to walk the my adopted prayer path at the Snake Creek Recreation area just west of Platte, SD. The trail itself is almost hidden. If I hadn’t been looking for somewhere to pray back in October, I never would have found it.
I slowly walked up the trail, my boots kicking up the wet dew. The grass under my feet just barley turning green. Each once barren tree now somewhere had a bud either closed or in the process of bursting forth in life. The chill in the air was nice, refreshing, inviting my lungs to breathe deep; challenging them to exhale the goodness of the morning.
I knew this trail now. I’d walked it a number of times before. I knew where to go, my feet wanting to finish it fast. I had to remind myself I wasn’t in a hurry. I had no deadlines. I had no other place I needed to be for hours. I had time. I turned off my phone and turned on my music. Though I was walking through nature, praying to the one who had created it all, I still heard the trucks and traffic hurtling down Highway 44. I wanted to block that out. I wanted to only hear words glorifying God as I prayed.
And so I walked, praying as I went. I knew where my bench was. And I would be back to their later. Instead I took a turn to the left, following the path I knew would take me to the Missouri’s banks. The river was so swollen last summer, the very steps I was going to be taking soon were for a while being lapped at by those waters. I picked my way through drift wood left on the trail where the river’s water had spilled up and over onto my prayer path. Along the slight hillside, green grass was pushing through. Life itself could not be stopped nor denied.
I reached the banks and just stood there and prayed. What glory and majesty had carved out the bluffs on the west banks. What glory and majesty made the currents of the river go. I stood in awe of the power of this water, watching the water move and lap along the sandy shore.
I took my time back, heading to my prayer bench.
In October, I stumbled upon this bench. I found it as I was looking for a place to pray. I found it when I needed it the most. For some reason, the sounds of the trucks and traffic from the highway were muted. It could have been the placement of the trees. It could have just been the lack of traffic on the road at that time. Either way, it was a gift from God himself to me at that moment. A time of refreshment and peace needed to pray to my God, to my savior, to my comforter.
The wind picked up, the heat of the sun on my face being cooled. I breathed in deeply remembering the words of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is described with words of breathing. God breathed into Adam to bring him to life. The very word for the Holy Spirit in both the New and Old Testament comes from the word breath. And when I gave my life to Christ, when I found that forgiveness from sinning against my God, I received that breathe of life, of new life, given to me.
I knew my God was with me. He was with me before I stepped foot out of my house that Friday morning, and he is with me now. Yet at that moment, I knew my prayers were heard. I knew with assurance that what anxieties were on my soul, that twitch in my heart I needed to bring to Him and lay at His feet, would be taken and handled with care.
There are different types of prayer. Some prayers are from this morning, when I sat at my desk and prayed for my church and family and friends. Other prayers are like that Friday morning, pouring myself out to Him in groans lifted up by the Holy Spirit in words only God Himself could understand.
I walked my prayer path that morning. And I’ll walk it again. And He’ll once again meet with me, as he does daily, and my God and I will sit at my prayer bench.