::NOTE:: As we were planning these summer devos, we rallied our current leaders and made a plan for everyone to contribute. But then something cool happened. Some of our alumni starting sharing their memories from their time at Two42. So we reached out to some of them and asked if they would be willing to jump in with us this summer and write some devotionals. They said yes. So, every Friday for the rest of June and July we will post an alumni devotional. We are confident God is going to use them to continue to speak into this ministry. This week Taylor Rietcheck (formerly Taylor Hatfield) is kicking things off. Taylor and her husband Aaron currently live in New Mexico.

For as long as I’ve been walking with the Lord, one of my biggest insecurities and fears has always been praying – mostly in public but even in my own personal prayer life. How do I pray? What do I pray for? Am I speaking eloquently enough, bold enough? Will God hear my prayers? What if I ask of the wrong things? What if I slur or stutter, pause or race through it? Am I coming before God in reverence?

The funny answer to all of these questions is to bring them to God in PRAYER! How gracious of a Father we have that leads us into all truth and understanding by seeking His heart. And that’s exactly what prayer is and does for us. It’s seeking the heart of the Father in order to align our hearts with His. So we can’t be wrong in how we pray or the things that we say.

Years ago, I was directed to Jeremiah 1:4-10

The word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” – Jeremiah 1:4-10

I found myself so comforted in knowing that all God has ever wanted is my heart and that He will be the one to lead me in the rest.

“Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now I have put my words in your mouth.”

This is mind-blowing and so incredibly humbling to me. He meets us where we are. BUT we have to be willing to obey, to be bold, and ultimately search His heart, His will, His desires for our lives.

Psalm 37:4 says

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

The key here though is as we seek the Lord, His desires BECOME our desires. So as we walk with the Lord, growing in our faith, we truly can never be wrong in the things we pray. We are only maturing into all that he has destined us to be.

[Got a little story for you, Ags!]

My husband and I love to have people over for dinner. It is by far one of my favorite parts of the week. At the Rietcheck residence, no matter who you are, ain’t nobody eats until we say amen! Being a military family, it is seldom we find ourselves surrounded by people with similar beliefs. However! What an awesome way to share our lives and reflect Christ as we open our home to everyone around us for ‘Mama Tay’s home-cooked meals!

Typically though, as we all gather around the table, my heart never fails to race as I try to think through my prayer to be sure I say the ‘right’ thing. I bow my head and quickly race through my prayer – stumbling, slurring my words and not making much of any sense of it at all. I then, sit in silence, regretfully replaying my words in my head wishing I had said something different.

Lately, as my husband has become more confident in praying in front of others, I love to just observe his heart and meditate on his words as he prays. And boy what I have learned as a result! He is so real y’all. He is patient with his words, honest and thorough with the Lord and just allows himself to be…well, himself.  Through a quick prayer before dinner, whether just the two of us or in the presence of guests, Aaron has unknowingly taught me so much in my own prayer life simply by not feeling pressured by these questions I’m sure so many of us ask time and time again.

Prayer is not about comparison, intimidation or fear but humility, boldness and faith! It’s not about accomplishing a task or speaking with some distant, far-off God. God is here, God is within us, God is all around us. And he just wants us!