Living On a Prayer: Medicine For the Soul
By Jenny Brandhorst
I have always believed in a higher power and throughout my spiritual journey, as a youth through adulthood, I have grown to become what most would consider a “prayer warrior”. I am notorious for tossing up prayers randomly throughout the day; for the blind man getting on the train, or for the hungry homeless woman people pass by without a glance. My Bible is filled with verses highlighted in pink, blue, and green. I try to read some sort of scripture daily, attend church services regularly, have served as a Bible camp counselor, and help facilitate High School Sunday School classes. I even say most of my prayers during my morning shower, it is a real cleansing experience (no pun intended).
With this spiritual pedigree, you would think I am in training to be a saint or something. Definitely not the case, I am just someone who takes comfort in knowing the Lord has a plan for me and although I may not always, if ever, understand the plan, I put my trust in Him. Yes, I have made some mammoth mistakes in my life, all which I take full responsibility, and on the flip side have been the victim of other people’s catastrophic decisions and errors of judgment.
Being no stranger to trials and tribulations, I know the sorrow of carrying a close friend to his grave after committing suicide, I know the grief of mourning loved ones, and I still have nightmares from a near-fatal jeep accident I was lucky to survive being able to walk away sustaining minor injuries. I also know the joy of being a first-time aunt to a nephew I would do anything for, and I know the enjoyment of sharing a delicious holiday meal with family and friends who love me. I am beyond grateful for both the challenges and the celebrations in my life. These experiences have shaped who I am today AND have brought me that much closer to God.
All in all, I have lived a very charmed life. Just when I thought I had seen it all, more zingers pelted me. Not so long ago, I endured the most torturous, abusive, soul-sucking experience of my life. Severe career anguish compounded with a harrowing life-threatening incident left me feeling worthless and weak. It was a grueling, debilitating, slow bleed…mentally, physically, emotionally and of course spiritually. Surrounded by enemies and on the brink of despair, I cried out to the Lord, “Why is this happening to me?!” Negativity and pessimism pulsed through my veins.
Begging to the Lord to release me from this torment, I reached for my Bible. I credit three chapters to keeping me alive: Psalms 142, 1 Corinthians 10: 13 and Ephesians 6: 11-18.
Psalms 142 A Prayer for Help
I call to the Lord for help; I plead with him. I bring him all my complaints; I tell him all my troubles. When I am ready to give up, he knows what I should do. In the path where I walk, my enemies have hidden a trap for me. When I look beside me, I see that there is no one to help me, no one to protect me. No one cares for me. Lord, I cry to you for help; you, Lord, are my protector; you are all I want in this life. Listen to my cry for help, for I am sunk in despair. Save me from my enemies; they are too strong for me. Set me free from my distress; then in the assembly of your people I will praise you because of your goodness to me.
Psalms 142 gave me so much comfort during a time when I was unable to muster the strength to face each day.
1 Corinthians 10: 13
Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.
This is probably one of my absolute favorite passages in the Bible and I have referred a few friends and family members to it.
Ephesians 6: 11-18 The Whole Armor of God
Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.
Without prayer and reading my Bible, I would have been in a mental health hospital or worse…my grave. As I put the recent zingers behind me, I am on track to getting my life back. Equipped with my “Armor of God”, I feel emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually stronger and happier than ever before. I feel refreshed, reborn and blessed to know that God is in my life. No matter where you pray; in the shower, your car or on the street walking to the office, I believe it is medicine for your heart, mind, body and soul.
About the Author
Jenny Brandhorst hails from Hudson, IA and has resided in Chicago since 1996. She has an undergraduate degree in Social Work from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA and a Master’s of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. She is a member of St. Pauls Church in Chicago and is thankful for her countless blessings.
This article is an excerpt from “One with Jesus: 16 Real Life Stories of Jesus’ Healing Power” published by www.GiftaBlessing.org.