Don't pray like a widow. Pray like a bride.
My Tante Janie's pastor said these words and I have to admit that they struck deep. I asked my mom (who has been a widow in many ways for ten years, even though my dad still lives) and my aunt (who lost her husband twenty years ago) what they thought, and their responses are integrated in this blog.
So all three of us can all personally relate to praying like a widow.
For us, it means praying from a position of deep sadness, of mourning, of loneliness, even despair. It comes from a position of weakness, not one of strength. In many societies, widows suffer greatly, feeling unloved and often forgotten by society. For many places, widowhood is closely associated with poverty, losing not only the husband but children, home, and community. The expectation for the future can seem dark, gloomy, and empty. A new search begins for trying to find where to fit, how to fit, and with whom to fit. Widows may live in a place of self-pity, especially in looking at other couples around them, and sometimes they are treated with pity as well.
These feelings can translate to all humanity as we go through periods of darkness, loneliness, emptiness, and it can feed into prayers. As a result, we often spend a lot of time praying in a position of lament and supplication.
But, of course, if we know what it means to pray like a widow, we also know how to pray like a bride!
A bride is full of expectation. A bride feels full of joy, happiness, and fully understands the feeling of being deeply loved. The expectation for the future is bright and sunny. A bride has found the one who brings joy and a bride isn't looking for anything or anyone else.
When we pray as a bride, we pray with delight and favor. We pray with joy, expecting the goodness of God to come down. We pray with confidence, with laughter and with dancing. We are eager for intimacy, we are eager for conversation, or eager to just spend time together.
As the church, the people of God, the body of Christ, we are called to be His Bride, and that means that we need to pray like a bride.
I know I don't always feel like a bride nor do I always pray like a bride. However, I do believe that actions can influence emotions. It would be akin to a front-wheel drive car: the front wheels are the actions and the back wheels are our emotions. When we begin to act a certain way, our emotions can follow. We don't have to wait until we feel like it, we can act like we feel like it!
Thankfully, we have a God who does not forsake His bride, even when she disappoints. We have a God who deserves every bit of our adoration, delight, joy, and praise.