Today is the National Day of Prayer and so I wanted to write an extra post today about what God has been teaching me over the past three years about what prayer really is and the impact it can have on our lives—–
I walked into the break room behind my coworker that had just gotten off of his last shift before moving away to college. I closed the door behind me and mumbled nervously,
“I want to pray for you before you leave”
I think I completely astonished him. Even though he has grown up in church, people just don’t do that. He consented, and we stood there awkwardly looking at the floor while I prayed in a shaky voice for his future, for God’s will to prevail in his life, and for all the people he would be able to be a light to on his university campus. I finished and he left, and I haven’t really talked to him since then.
That’s a silly story, but it was the beginning of an incredible journey for me. The beginning of God showing me the power of prayer, and that He really does know what He is doing.
I knew that day, I’d known for that whole week, that I was supposed to pray over my friend. To this day, I don’t know why, but I am so glad that I did. That was the catalyst that made my prayer life something beyond whispers in my bed at night.
That is one of many poignant experiences with prayer I’ve had in my life. I can point back to five off the top of my head that have taught me how powerful prayer really is, how it draws people together, and how it shapes and molds our hearts to be sensitive to God’s plan for our life.
Prayer changes my heart. Jesus understands me when no one else can, and He is more than faithful to work in my heart when I ask Him. Sometimes, I’m limited to a few broken words,
“Jesus, I don‘t know how to pray. Help me.”
And He always, always answers. He give me the words to say, and I can point back to so many times He’s asked me to pray for faith, and I can see the resulting events. This bridge of Hillsong’s “Oceans” has been my prayer so many times…
Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander so my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.
I can see how God allowed me to walk through deserts and desolate places. Through valleys and up mountains that I never thought I could be strong enough to climb. I wouldn’t have chosen them, and I didn’t have the strength for them. But the same God who brought me to them, gave me faith to make it through them. He carried me up the mountains and through the storms, and strengthens me to come out on the other side more like Him, more of the person He wants me to be.
Prayer has profoundly impacted my life, and I know that God uses prayer not only individually but corporately.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” –Matthew 18:20
I don’t want to be afraid of praying over people. I remember one special day two years ago when my youth group surrounded a young woman fighting cancer, we all had tears streaming down our faces, as we prayed aloud simultaneously to the Creator of the Universe to bring healing to this woman’s life. I remember feeling awkward initially. I remember being self conscious of the people around me hearing my prayers. But I also remember God’s presence in that moment. I remember His Spirit moving and the bond He created between the people there in that moment.
Prayer is powerful! Prayer is the power of God. Why should I ever be self conscious of asking God to intervene? Of allowing God to do a miracle through my humble words?
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” — James 5:17-18
If prayer has this kind of power, why aren’t we crying out? Why aren’t we praying over everyone we know that’s hurting? Not just a sentence prayer whispered in the confines of our own room, but laying hands on our brothers and sisters in Christ and crying out for God’s power. Making prayer a normal, consistent part of life while still rendering God the awe and respect He’s due.
I don’t want prayer to be something I do to check off a list anymore. I want to marvel at the power of prayer and the glory of God it reveals. I want to pray without ceasing, and I want to pray fearlessly. Whether that’s praying for things that sound too big and too crazy, or praying out loud over someone who thinks I’m strange, I’m ready to invite God’s power into my life through prayer. Will you join me?