Prayer has always fascinated me. It excites me and make me feel grateful. I am also amazed and humbled that the Lord of lords actually listens to what I'm saying AND always answers. The fact that we are invited to ask and promised an answer, makes it even more amazing. Even more mind boggling is that our prayers can be powerful and can make a huge difference in circumstances (sometimes the circumstances remain the same, but I become different). In James 5 in God's Word every one who is suffering, is invited to pray. We are reminded that prayer can be instrumental in healing and that God is present when we come together in His name and pray. Awesome!
Prayer has always been part of my daily life and existence. But this year...this year of being out of our comfort zones at all times, being far from home and unable to assist others in a seeable way, this year of challenges and self confrontation more than ever, of having to trust totally on God and not on the things we are used /able to do, prayer is an even bigger part of life. (May it keep on increasing in my life in years to come.)
Why is prayer so prominent and alive in my/our lives this year – even more than other times – and even to such an extent that I feel it important to write a blogpost about it? I'll give a short summary of reasons, which must also be a reminder for me in months and years to come, to continue fervent prayer and even do it more as time moves on. While I'm writing , I realize that there is more reasons than what I thought initially, and what was suppose to be a short blog, might be longer. My problem is that I think while I speak (or write,) I realize now that there is more in my heart than what I thought!
Why we pray more:
Reason 1: We are so completely dependant on God. Yes, we say we always depend on God, but back home, in known circumstances, I am unfortunately quite often able to do many things on my own and then dependence is more theoretical than practical.
Reminder/Lesson 1a: Depend on God's guidance even in known circumstances. There might be a better way to do things, and by merely following my known ways, I might miss the wiser way.
Reminder/Lesson 1b: Plan with God from the start. Don't plan and then ask God to help you and bless your plans. God's plans are always the best.
Reason 2: We are constantly out of our comfort zones. In a comfort zone, one feels...comfortable, and in control. We do not feel like this – we feel privileged and blessed, but not comfortable and in control. This causes even more dependence and need for guidance and sometimes even rescues. This demands adaptation, self examination and a good attitude at all times.
Reminder/Lesson 2: Never get too comfortable, it is a dangerous place of self dependence and reliance completely on own abilities. Comfort-zone-living can easily lead to selfish self-centeredness, without you ever calling it that! I must check regularly if I am in a comfort zone or if I'm stretching myself to limits which I can only achieve through the Power of Jesus. (Phil 4:13)
Reason 3: We are far away from home and cannot help others in need physically. I cannot sit with someone in pain, I cannot listen and give advice where it is needed, I cannot see the need and then do something about it, I cannot give anyone a hug... The "only" thing I can do, is to pray. And because I cannot depend on wise words the Spirit give me to give someone as advice or comfort, I must pray and trust God to send someone else or to comfort the person in need Himself. Quite often, I do not even know of the need and must rely on the Spirit to show me for who and for what to pray, only to experience God's faithfulness when realizing afterwards how "right" that specific prayer was. An e-mail response to God's call in my heart for that person, is the only thing I can do, other than continuous prayer for the person.
Reminder/Lesson 3: Pray for someone before I talk to that person. Wait and pray and wait and pray to get guidance from the Spirit to know for whom to pray. Sometimes, all I have to do, is pray – not necessarily "help" physically, unless God says so.
Reason 4: The slower pace and more time gives more opportunity for self search; for looking into the mirror and asking the Spirit to show me dirty spots. The not being so busy with doing and performing, gives more time to see the hidden, not so good, parts or characteristics, that was overseen in the past. Being out of the comfort zone also reveals parts of the self that is not so easily recognizable inside the place of comfort. To deal and grow through these realities, needs prayer and lots of it. Out of myself I cannot change, but if I allow Jesus to live through me, I can become who I am supposed to be.
Reminder/Lesson 4: MAKE time for self evaluation and do it regularly. Running is OK, but slow walking and pausing - stopping - is of vital importance. Self evaluation and rectifying of flaws does not happen with one line prayers on the run. To be filled with the Holy Spirit, to have Jesus living through me, takes time in prayer, in communication with God, woven into meditation on His Word.
Reason 5: More time with my family and more time for praying together. More deliberately living a life and setting the example...24 hours a day in which God is real and near and with us. Involving God and all 3 boys in the day to day decisions and challenges.
Reminder/Lesson 5: Think of God as being with you the whole time (it IS an absolute truth). Involve Him in your day to day life. Pray not only because you need Him, but as a reminder of His presence, of Him being with you. Make time to pray together – with my husband, with my family, with my friends. Make special prayer opportunities out of ordinary things – creating a life of thinking about God the whole time, knowing he is there the whole time. Like praying with a meal – it's not about the food or the habit, but a reminder of God's Presence.
There is more reasons for praying more and for praying, but these are a few that I know I must remind myself of in future, back home when I'm on the run.
Let me end this blogpost by praising God and giving a testimony of His faithfulness and hearing and answering of our prayers. In March ,when my mother experienced severe back pain, a diagnoses of cancer in the vertebrae was made. She received one dose of radiation therapy AND MUCH (too much to count) prayer from people all over. My mom has not experienced any pain since then and when a bone scan was done a few weeks ago as follow up, there was NO sign of cancer any more! She is completely healed. All other tests done shows that everything is normal and healthy. ALL HONOUR AND GLORY TO GOD!
Prayer is important, it is a privilege, it is a weapon, it is powerful, it is available. When you ask for something which is the Will of God, you will receive, BUT you must have faith. So, with prayer and faith, I will go on another world tour, I will go out of my comfort zone again and again. I will come back home, I will do what God asks of me and I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.
I pray that these few words may help and remind someone out there of God's Faithfulness and invitation to pray, as much as it is helping me to write them.
It is Sunday today (or it was 10 minutes ago). I wrote this part above on Saturday evening, but haven't posted it yet. This morning we visited "our church" in Whitefish and the message was on prayer! How great is God, and faithful! It was such a blessing to me and confirmation of what I have written. I do however, want to add a paragraph coming from the introduction to Pastor Paul's teaching:
Prayer is always needed. Prayer is always appropriate. Prayer is always effective.
"Eph 6:18 Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people."
This world we live in is like a minefield. I must walk slowly, carefully and prayerfully through it, always thinking of the other people around me as well. So, let's continue praying – God is listening...