Father, I am lonely.
God, I want to feel loved.
God, please give me peace as I travel back home. I don’t want to leave this place.

Those above prayers have been swimming around my mind for about a month now. Because, to be honest, (even though I know my parents won’t exactly appreciate this next sentence), I’m not looking forward to the summer season.

There are certainly aspects I am looking forward to: no homework, waking up late, white-water rafting with my dad, sipping coffee and watching the Lifetime network with my momma, TV marathons with my brother, cheese fries at the v-ho—all that shebang.

However, there are most definitely parts of Oregon that I don’t want to wave good-bye to, even if it’s just for four months: midnight slushee runs, a college group that makes me feel welcome, my friends living just a few doors down the hall, the consistency of having open ears to chat with, pie shakes (it always comes back to the pie shakes), and so much more.

My heart has been in a tangled mess, and my prayers have been pretty selfish.

I’ve been asking God for peace.

I’ve been craving love and affection.

I want those friends I’m dreading leaving behind to hug me and tell me it will be okay.

I want all the comfort I can cradle in my two callused palms.

I pray as if I am the victim.

I pray with my palms facing inward, and then I wonder why I’m left feeling empty.

I need to pray like Jesus did in John 17: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one.”

Jesus was leaving His closest friends behind. I personally think He had the right to be upset. Only, His prayer was anything but selfish. Instead, He focused on the needs of those He was leaving behind, and I need to do that as well.
Instead of wishing my graduating friend would hop on a plane to Alaska… I can pray for her to have peace as she transitions into a new part of her life.
Instead of hoping my quiet friend would share her life with me more… I can pray for her to have peace and endurance in the situations I know nothing about.
Instead of being jealous when friends meet up without me in the lower 48… I can pray that their time together would be joyful and life-giving.

I need to pray for those I love in a positive light, like Paul did in Ephesians:

“I have not stopped giving thanks for you…” I want to thank God for the friends who have been willing to listen since day one.

“…that God may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” I want to ask God to grant my friends wisdom and that they would grow in faith as they stride along through this season.

“…that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” – – I want to ask God to open their hearts to His beauty, that they would find joy in Him.

Praying unselfishly and with palms upward.

Praying to feel God’s love both in the quiet moments of reading 300+ pages of a textbook and the loud moments of snickering and sprinting in the sunshine with friends.

Thanking God for my friend’s ability to listen to my chatty heart.

Thanking God for the laughter he creates.

Praying for my her protection as she dares to do the impossible or even just nail an Ollie.

Praying for God to give strength and stamina to finish the semester without collapsing under the weight of finals.

Thanking God for the ability to love even when it’s tough.

Praying for their safety as they travel to foreign countries.

Praying for him to find guidance as he makes decision after decision about summer plans.

Thanking God for the incredible friends I’ve found in this cool little city called Salem.

Praying that each and every day of their lives would be full of grace and love and joy, even on the days I cannot be with them.

I’m learning to pray with palms upward. I found that when my palms are no longer facing inward, when my thoughts are less focused on myself, then my heart and hands are ready to receive when God pours back into me. And at that point, the loneliness is a little more bearable, the anxiety is less overbearing, and the heart is a whole lot stronger.