“I’m asking for prayer today.”
“On our way to the hospital – please pray.”
“Feeling frustrated this morning…”
Have you ever seen these types of posts on Facebook or Twitter? The comments that follow are filled with intentions to pray (And, yes, there is even an emoji for that!). In-person conversations with friends can involve constant prayer requests, too. Indeed, we are surrounded by prayer requests.
Yet, that should be expected.
James 5:13a says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.”
We are instructed to pray with and for one another. But, why? What can we expect when we pray? Why are there difficulties in the world? Why is their pain? Why is there loss?
For His Glory
Well, I am not going to get into all the theological issues that address those questions, but these all are a part of the Fall – a result of sin entering the world. Yet, God uses these difficult experiences for His glory.
You see, pain and hurting can be for good.
First and foremost, we meet God in our pain in ways we wouldn’t if we didn’t have any trials. Why is it that when things are going well, we tend to spend less time with God, but when things are difficult, we are more often on our knees? Well, one reason is that going through trials forces us to draw closer to Jesus. It continually reminds us that our Lord is the one who upholds all things. We so easily forget that, don’t we?
Additionally, by going through trials, we can minister to others in ways we otherwise couldn’t. I experienced terrible morning sickness during each of my pregnancies (7 months of continual sickness – “morning” was a misnomer!). So now, I am particularly sensitive to those who are going through the same thing. I have walked through that difficulty and can better understand those challenges. I am more likely to specifically pray with and for women who are going through what I went through. And by walking along with them, it deepens those friendships.
You see, praying for one another is something that brings the body of believers closer together. We come alongside others and experience the challenges they are going through. And when we see God answer those prayers, we rejoice along with them.
How Can I Pray for You?
There is such a sweetness that comes when you ask someone, “How can I pray for you?”. Sincere prayer for others shows them you are concerned for them. It opens up relationships.
Have you ever thought to ask your children how you can pray for them? Believe me, they will think of something for you to pray for (even if it is that squashed butterfly outside). And if you purpose to pray and then follow up, you will be surprised to see how much deeper your relationship can be.
Prayer builds relationships with others as well as with God.
That’s because when we pray, the ultimate goal is not necessarily for healing, but for growth in grace and building relationships.
So pray first for your relationship with God. Ask others to pray for you so they may share in what God is doing. They are working as the body of Christ should.
And again, as God answers prayers, you can rejoice with one another like the rest of James 5:13 says:
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”
Do you ever wonder why we should pray? I mean, if God knows everything, why should we have to pray? Doesn’t He already know what we need and what we have done?
I do believe He knows, but I also believe we are instructed to pray. Praying shows our love for Him and others. It is a way for us to not only show show our gratitude, but to open our hearts to His Word. Our prayers are also our avenue to honor Him as well as to make our petitions known.
Throughout the Word, we are given instructions and examples to pray.
We are instructed to “Pray continually..” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Romans 12:12 reminds us to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
We are instructed that we should pray in Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray..”
Ephesians 6:18 reminds us that we should “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
We are instructed on how to pray in Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray..”
And Colossians 4:2 tells us that we should “Devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
We are even instructed for whom we should pray in Matthew 5:44, “Pray for those who persecute you”.
And again in 1 Timothy 2:1 “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…”
We are also shown examples by Jesus praying regularly himself. His examples show us that we not only should pray but that we need to have time to pray alone and away from others.
Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”
In Matthew 26:36 Jesus told His disciples “…Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
And in Mark 1:35, “…Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
And finally, we are told the reason for prayer is that it gives us power over evil. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – Matthew 26:41
I don’t think the question we should be asking is why we should pray, but rather why we are not always praying..
Prayer is always available to us and it always strengthens the bonds of our faith and those around us. Prayer should be our first action not the one we fall back on when we have tried everything else we know of to solve a problem.
Philippians 4:6 reads: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
So yes, God knows what we need. He knows what we want. He knows what we have done..long before the words are formed in our thoughts or lifted in prayer. The reason we should pray is because we need the contact with our Heavenly Father. We need to be able to go to Him with the needs and desires of our heart. We need a safe place to confess the mistakes we have made and know that He loves us and will forgive us.
My prayer is that each of us will make spending time in prayer a priority in our lives and not a stop gap for when we need emergency back up. Start today just talking with your Heavenly Father. Spend time clearing your heart of the things that are weighing heavy on you and start looking for ways to pray for others in your life.
Our heavenly father is waiting for us to come to him, as a child needs their father. Don’t make yours wait another minute.
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
“I pray like there’s a God in heaven who hears me when I pray and who answers me when I call on Him. You know why? Because there is a God in heaven who hears me when I pray and who answers me when I call on Him.”
-Susie Larson, Your Powerful Prayers
I want to gather with other believers whose prayers are building shaking prayers!
I call that the boldness of belief!
In these days when the gospel needs to be heralded like never before, timidity in prayer has no place.
I’ve actually heard women pray such prayers. The sounds of women, lifting up the name of Jesus, rang through the halls of our gathering place. My ears strained to hear them as I was trying not to be disrespectful to the teacher who was also bringing a good Bible lesson. I wanted so badly to join them, but was physically firmly planted.
What gave them that boldness and confidence?
What was it that gave them that Acts 4 authority?
It was the Holy Spirit, abiding in God, purity of heart, and community.
I’ve taken some cues from those women in my personal prayer time.
- It’s the privilege as God’s child to come my Father
- Be fully persuaded in God’s ability and willingness to hear my prayers
- Come with a clean heart
- Finding out the will of God by reading His Word
- Pray God’s word as prayers back to Him
- Stand in faith
- View God from His capabilities, not my limited understanding
- There’s freedom in releasing my concerns to God
- God is a big God
I believe that boldness in prayer comes with practice. The more we learn about the ways of God and the more we experience answered prayers, we develop the strength through faith.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
We can be bold in our prayers. We’ve been empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but your received the Spirit of adoption y whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:14-16
Father, we pray for boldness to rise up in us when we pray. As we read about the Disciples in Acts and how their very prayers shook the building, may we yearn for that kind of influence in the world around us! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
A few summers ago I started a ladies prayer time in my home. It is open to all women, we meet weekly, and each time women from different parts of my life come. Sometimes no one shows, and even then I still commit to sitting on my porch for that hour and praying. This weekly practice has been such a sweet blessing.
Even though all different women may join me, often with very little in common, it is a beautiful time of fellowship because we are all united in Christ. It doesn’t matter much about who we are: moms, grandmas, young adults…we all join together to pray.
And the amazing thing is that each woman often ends up finding a common thread with another. God truly unites us.
Remember the “why”
It is good to remember why we pray. It is not to get together and present our list of wants. It is about uniting our hearts with God, so ultimately His will becomes our will. Prayer changes us. It links us with those we are praying with and for, and ultimately the act of prayer unites us with God.
Prayer is an absolute necessity and should be an integral part of our life. It is our communication with the Lord. We are to live a prayerful and prayer-filled life.
It’s always difficult when a prayer doesn’t get answered the way we want it. Yet, God is God all the time. And ultimately, prayers are all answered by Him, His way. I wouldn’t want it any other way. And that is where prayer changes us.
How do you see prayer? Do you see it is a time to just ask for things? Or a time to sync up your desires with God’s desires?
I encourage you to let prayer change you. Seek to unite with God intimately through prayer. Submit and surrender all to Him in prayer and watch as prayers get answered, even if not your wish, in His will.
There is no place I would rather be.
“…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Dear Lord, Help us to commune with you through our prayers. Let us not use our prayers as a self-motivated way to get what we want, but as a spirit-filled time to align our hearts with your will. Thank you for the gift of prayer and that you hear us and you answer us. Amen.
The word “advocate” means a lawyer or one who pleads our cause or case. Jesus acts as our lawyer, which is pretty amazing! No matter what we go through, Jesus is always on our side waiting and helping us (1 John 2:1-2). He is standing by, at all times, ready to pray on our behalf!
I think it is safe to say we all have gone through our fair share of hardships in life. Some of us are going through them now, and others are having a good stretch. In those harder moments of life, it is easy to feel that we are abandoned or alone (John 14:16), but that is Satan lying to us. No matter how hard life is, or what the circumstances are, Jesus is right there being our advocate, rooting us on to keep pushing through!
Every day we sin, whether we try to or not, it is something we just do by nature. But because God loves us so much, He provided Jesus as our advocate (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is righteous and blameless and loves us unconditionally. We stumble and make mistakes, but the Lord Jesus is always right there by our sides, His mercy never fails.
Some people have the thought that, no matter what I do, sin or not, Jesus is still my advocate. In the Bible you will read over and over, Sin Not, walk in love, in God’s word, and do right. Yes, Jesus is always by our side, but it doesn’t give us a free pass to sin. Jesus Christ our Savior paid the ultimate sacrifice for each of us. He doesn’t want us to make wrong choices, sin, or walk away from our faith. He is always there waiting for us, but it is up to us how we live our lives. God gave us the right to choose our paths!
We do have the freedom to choose what we do in our lives, and the path we take. For me there is no other way, than to walk with the Lord. I am so thankful that we have Jesus as our advocate in this life. That is one blessing we truly don’t deserve! I know, no matter what, I am never alone, and that is something that is priceless.
How do we call on the Lord though to ask Him to advocate for us? The answer to that is by prayer and supplication we can make our requests known to Him. In Jeremiah 33:3 we are told to call on the Lord, and He will answer. I am so thankful that I can call on the name of the Lord in trials, in temptation, and in all that life brings me to be my advocate.
Lord God, thank you for allowing Jesus to be our advocate. Thank you, Lord, for your love and kindness, and letting us know we are never alone in this world. Lord, I pray that I can follow the path you have laid out for me, and be full of gratitude and humility along the way. Help me keep my eyes set on you, guiding and leading my way!
What would you think if your husband didn’t speak to you for days or even weeks at a time? What if your children talked about you but rarely spoke with you? What if your friends went to your house but didn’t talk to you while they were there?
Of course these situations sound strange and are probably pretty unbelievable, right? But when we don’t pray, that’s essentially how we’re treating God. Even if we read the Bible. Even if we go to church. Even if we sing hymns or worship songs. Even if we read Christian books. All of those things are great. They are all things we should do. But they shouldn’t take the place of prayer in our lives.
Why not? Because prayer is the way we communicate with God. It’s the way we tell Him how much we love Him. It’s the way we thank Him for meeting our needs. It’s the way we ask Him for guidance. It’s one of the ways we communicate with God in response to all the ways He communicates with us.
And it grieves the heart of God when we don’t pray.
Years ago my husband was filling in for our pastor who was away one Sunday. He began his sermon by telling how he was caught off guard by the amount of love in his heart for our first child when she was born. Of course he had loved Hannah before she was born, but when we welcomed her into the world, a whole new level of love filled his heart. An unexpected love that he never could have understood until our child was born.
He went on to tell how, as she grew, every little thing she did seemed so miraculous. Every milestone she reached made him so proud! Every noise she made sounded like music. Every smile lit up his heart and made him love her that much more.
And then, around the age of 15 months, things changed. Our sweet girl stopped talking. She lost the ability to understand speech. She no longer looked at her daddy with love in her eyes. She no longer laughed when he played with her. She no longer understood his instructions or tried to follow them. She no longer craved her daddy’s attention or sought his approval.
In other words, she no longer responded to her father’s voice.
My husband learned by experiencing Hannah’s lack of response toward him—Hannah’s earthly daddy—that God feels the same way when His children don’t respond to Him. And if we earthly parents grieve when our children don’t respond to our imperfect love, how much more must God grieve when we fail to respond to His perfect love for us?
Yes, prayer is important. It’s one of the ways we show God that we’re listening. It’s one of the ways we ask Him to help us understand His will for our lives. It’s one of the ways we thank Him for what He does for us. It’s one of the ways we acknowledge Him, communicate with Him, and respond to Him. It’s one of the ways we worship Him. But the most important reason to pray is simply because God desires a relationship with each of us.
Sometimes, we forget to do “it.” Other times, we take “it” for granted. Often times, I wonder how little power we attribute to “it.” But truly how often do we take a step back, stand in awe of the fact that our Lord and Savior has given us the amazing gift of prayer?
Prayer connects us to God
Prayer gives us a way to connect with THE GOD of the Universe!
How amazing is that!
Let’s stop and contemplate that for a moment……
Before the world began, God knew we would sin and that this sin would keep us from having a relationship with him. So, he formed a plan to save us and reconcile us back to himself.
“He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
– 1 Peter 1:20-21
He not only wanted us to be with Him in heaven one day, but He wanted to cultivate a relationship on Earth. This is why he blessed all who believe and are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Not only do we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, but we also have the gift of prayer.
Walking with God
Throughout the Bible, we read that so and so “walked with God.” Enoch walked with God 300 years, Noah walked with God, etc. In the past when I would read about them walking with God, I felt a longing in my heart to do the same. But for some weird reason, I didn’t believe it was possible. And then, I read this verse and realized God wants to walk with ALL of us!
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8 (emphasis added)
Yes! Walking with God is possible for all of us, but how?
Walking with God in the Power of Prayer
Jesus emphatically tells us in John 14 & 15 that Jesus and the Father are one. That if we know Jesus, we know the Father. Then in a bolder statement, Jesus says:
“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
Honestly, this boggles my mind a bit…what about you?
Have you ever thought about doing greater things than Jesus? Um…Never! But here is the thing:
It was by God’s power that Jesus did everything He did. He walked with God through a prayerful life. Jesus wants us to walk in a prayerful life with Him because in doing so, we will walk in a prayerful life with God. Then, God will work through us in the same way He worked through Jesus!
We are, after all, supposed to follow Christ’s example. Are we truly taking hold of the power of prayer or are we settling for something less than what we could have? These are questions I’ve been asking myself. Would you join me in this challenge of walking with God through prayer in a more powerful way?
How does this change your outlook on prayer?
Does it scare you at all?
Because, it does me just a little, but in a good-God’s-pushing my comfort zone kind of way.
Tears rolled down his 6 year old cheeks as we talked. “Woah, what’s wrong, buddy?”
He wipes his face with the backs of his hands and props himself up on the pillow. “I just can’t remember to pray,” he says with a wavering voice. “We said today in Bible study about how we need to pray and I can never remember! Is God mad about it?”
His eyes filled with fresh tears and I smiled and gave him a big hug, trying not to chuckle too much. “Oh, buddy. God is not mad at you. Praying is so important, but sometimes it can be hard to do. God knows you, He loves you, and He understands. The important thing is to keep going back to Him in prayer.”
We prayed together and I asked God to bless his little heart and help him feel His love and mercy. We asked for God to help my son, reminding him to pray and continuing teaching him how.
This little conversation with my son lingered with me for some time. How often do I resolve to pray more or more consistently and then forget? How often do I fail in my prayer life? And truth be told, part of me wonders if God is mad at me.
That was a few years ago. Fast forward to today, and although I still struggle and am still growing, I have learned a few important things that have helped me prioritize prayer in my busy mom life.
Prayer is essential.
“…and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15
Prayer is essential. Of course, we already know this, but how much of our daily life doesn’t really reflect it? We need to be reminded of how important prayer is! The reality is that we are completely desperate for God every single day, and prayer is critical. There is always trouble, whether in our situation or in our hearts. Our part is to call on God. His part is to do His work for His glory.
Encourage your heart and spur yourself on with reminders about how important prayer is! It is the first step in becoming a more prayerful woman.
- It is a primary way we communicate and hear from the Lord of our lives – the One who has authority and power to work in our hearts and our situation for our ultimate gain and His ultimate glory!
- It is an act of obedience and worship, aligning our will with His instead of getting wrapped up in what we want in our limited perspective of things.
- It is a demonstration of faith and devotion for our children, showing them how essential prayer is to the Christian walk.
- It brings peace and contentment because we are focused on Christ instead of the circumstances.
- It builds our faith as we recognize the many answers to our prayers and give God glory in them all!
- It is a delight and a blessing to the Lord!
I am often coming back to this place. To reminding myself and encouraging myself with why prayer is important and why I need it so much! They say that desperation is the father of invention. When we really know deep down how desperate we are for God, we are more likely to stay motivated and make time for it in our busy schedules! I find pockets of time large and small in my daily and weekly routine and focus on prayer in those times as much as I can.
Prayer is work.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
As much as prayer is important, it’s also not easy. Prayer is not meant to be trivial, fluffy, or some checkbox we tick off at the end of the day! Yet how often do we (I) make it that way? While prayer can certainly bring refreshment, peace, and direction, it is also work. And sometimes it’s even hard work. We are laboring in prayer, interceding for others, bringing our husband and children to the feet of Jesus, crying out for mercy and guidance, and leaning into the Creator.
Prayer is work that requires diligence, time, effort, and energy. And as a mom with very little of any of that to spare, I can easily begin letting it slide out of my schedule. But I know now this truth: The work of prayer is, hands down, the most important work we can do. It’s an investment into any situation, effort, or relationship I might be dealing with. It’s an investment in THE relationship that matters most!
After beating my head against the wall for two years about a difficult relationship, I finally submitted it (for real) in prayer. The peace came, just like He said it would. After devoting and prioritizing prayer for our homeschool with my time and attention, we had best year ever! I have seen the real blessings and results of a heart that is truly devoted to prayer and a daily life that reflects that. I certainly still have ups and downs in my prayer life, but the Lord is faithful to continue changing and growing me.
Yes, it takes time, attention, and energy. Prayer is a habit, a relationship, and a godward focus with our hearts that is worked out in us over a lifetime. But the work is more than worth it, and the Lord in His mercy helps us! Pray for the desire, focus, and energy. Pray for help with the logistics as you put prayer first. It could be your best year ever!
Our family moved across the country 2 months ago and let me tell you, if that doesn’t bring you to your knees, nothing will! It wasn’t just the move, it’s the ongoing adjustments, not only for myself, but for our 5 kids who moved with us.
Honestly, in my over 40 years of being a Christian, prayer has probably been my biggest struggle. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it may be that prayer cannot be entirely contained or explained. In other words, I can’t go through a checklist to be sure that I’ve covered all the bases. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’m a checklist kind of gal, but prayer rarely seems to work that way because it’s not supposed. Anytime we become too rules oriented, it inevitably costs relationship and that is the very thing that God wants to have with us…through prayer.
A few months ago, I listened to yet another sermon on prayer and suddenly the pieces began to come together. The pastor was encouraging us to pray the scriptures. This was not a new concept to me, but the reasoning behind it was. He said that when we pray the scriptures we are literally praying the very words of God and so we are literally praying in AGREEMENT with God. Because the scriptures are God breathed, they have life in them and when we pray them, we are praying WITH Him and He with us.
It was simple, yet profound.
There are other ways to pray, of course, but this one really stuck with me because I have this need to KNOW that I’m not praying something that God doesn’t want. Praying the scriptures really focuses on the heart of whatever issue I am praying for. It helps me filter and refocus on what God is focused on.
In reality, it changes MY heart.
I believe wholeheartedly that God is sovereign, but I also believe that we play a valuable role in His unfolding plan. One of the most effective ways is through prayer. He truly is OUR advocate. The word advocate means fighter, supporter, crusader, upholder and champion. Take a minute to soak in that truth! He’s on YOUR side, He wants what is best for you, your husband and your children and you have the opportunity to make a difference through prayer…praying WITH the very One who is your advocate.
For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. I Timothy2:5
I’m spending more time than ever praying over the hearts of my children. Most of them are teens and in their 20’s. They are making good choices, but life is messy and they struggle just like me. I know that the Enemy would love to derail them and render them ineffective to the work which God has called them. I believe one of the most important things I will ever do as a wife and mom is to intercede for my husband and children and I can trust that my advocate and theirs will be faithful to finish the work that He has started.