I listened as a friend prayed with me over the phone about a family situation. Melita is a true prayer warrior, and I treasure our bond as sisters-in-Christ.
I had called, leaving a voice message when she didn’t answer. I didn’t expect to hear back until the next day. It was late. However, my friend returned the call before she retired for the night. I was humbled by this beautiful friend’s willingness to return my call so late, even though she has to rise early each morning for work.
Having friends who will stand with you during trials is important. Even more important are those who will drop what they are doing to pray with you when asked.
We must believe our all-powerful God loves the people in our prayers.
I’ve learned to pray immediately when someone texts, emails or calls asking for prayer. If I don’t pray at the time of the request, I forget. I also add the person’s name and request to my list so I can continue to pray for God’s intervention or direction for an individual.
God instructs us to pray for others in several places in the Bible. In James 5:16, the apostle writes: “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results.”
When a child is born, a mother anxiously checks for 10 fingers and 10 toes. She waits to hear the verdict from the medical staff that her child is healthy and whole. It’s a time of wonder when that tiny being is first placed in your arms and a time of uncertainty when you’re released to return home with the responsibilities of caring for a new life.
As each year passes, we watch our children grow, revealing their distinct personalities. While one child may be more fearful, another may test a mother’s patience with attempts to defy gravity or some other activity leading to cuts, bruises and broken limbs.
Letting go is difficult.
As the mother of two sons, now in their late 30s, I am aware of the limitations of my influence at this stage of their lives. With the lessons they learned as children embedded in their memories, I can only pray daily for their safety, well-being, their relationship with God and success in all they do. I pray for their work situations, their health, their relationships and how they raise their children.
When a child is young, a mother knows how to fix things. We can kiss a scraped elbow, place a warm, damp wash rag on their heads to bring comfort when ill, listen to their fears and promise them there are no monsters under the bed.
A mother’s heart is torn when a child becomes an adult and she realizes how her role has changed. Letting go is difficult.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” – I Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV).
Unless you have no access to media, you know that the word “divisive” would best describe 2016. Lines were drawn. Anger increased and hate-filled words filled the airwaves and appeared on Internet sites. Christians were not exempt.
I don’t want to dwell on the ugliness, but we, as Christians, need to seek unity, stand firm in our faith, show grace to those who do not and hold our leaders—at all levels—accountable. But even more important, there’s one more thing we must do. We must pray for the wisdom and well-being of our elected leaders.
We can learn from the words found in Ezekiel 22:30. “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
Prayer creates a revolutionary spin on the natural tendency
to resist or resent authority.
We are the ones who must stand in the gap for our leaders. We must lift up our nation with all its faults before the throne of God and pray that He continues to work in our midst.
In “The Battle Plan for Prayer” by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the authors write: “Since the influence of people in these positions can cause such a ripple effect, and because their various roles are fraught with hard choices and difficulty, the Bible commands us to pray for all those in leadership over us. (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2 above)
The three of us clasped hands and bowed our heads. We were standing in the middle of a discount department store aisle, praying for an employee who was battling brain cancer. Covering the lower half of her face was a protective mask to ward off the threat of germs.
My friend, Sonya, knew the employee and introduced us. As the woman’s story unfolded, I learned it wasn’t her first battle with cancer. Her fighting spirit drew me in as did her positive attitude.
The best growth comes through persevering through trials.
As we continued shopping, we struck up a conversation with another store employee who had beat cancer. She shared her amazing story of healing. Placed on hospice, her only hope was divine intervention. Prayers were answered and this amazing woman is, indeed, a walking miracle.
Both women have placed their hope in God. Hope. What does it look like? For me, hope shines brightest when I’m at my lowest.
Hope is the word I recently chose to study in the scriptures. Each morning, after I read my daily devotional, I turn to the concordance in the back of my Women of Faith Bible and look up verses referencing hope. One of my favorites is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Many families have been destroyed after a loved one passes on, leaving a material inheritance behind. A better legacy to leave behind is a spiritual one. While we usually associate the word “inheritance” with material possessions, a spiritual legacy cannot be measured.
A spiritual inheritance is passed on during our lifetime through godly words, actions and prayers. However, as stewards of a spiritual legacy, we have to develop our own spiritual lives first.
If we have a desire for the Lord, it becomes contagious.
As a mother and grandmother, I’m seeing the fruits of my own spiritual growth and prayers. Recently, I drove over four hours one way to experience the joy of my two oldest grandchildren’s decision to follow Christ. Although they received the Christian sacrament of baptism when they were younger, they didn’t fully understand the implication. Cheyenne, 12, and Brennan, 11, chose to celebrate their decision to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord once again by being baptized through full immersion.
Have you ever uttered a simple prayer like the one in Matthew 15:25? I have. In this scripture, Jesus is approached by a Canaanite woman. After telling Jesus about her daughter who is possessed by a demon, the disciples try to push her away from Him. Jesus waits in silence until she utters a three-word prayer that motivates Him into action.
Prayer, for some, is a mystery and a challenge. We let busyness and problems crowd out time with Jesus when He wants us to recognize our need for Him each day. Have your priorities overshadowed the need to seek Him in prayer?
British pastor Charles Spurgeon once said, “…True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.”
If you’re at a loss for words, just pray, “Lord, help me.”
We can utter a simple prayer of only one sentence and God will answer, not by how eloquently we pray but by how much faith we pray with. Remember what Jesus told the disciples about faith in Matthew 17:20? “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
“But Jesus would often go to some place where he could be alone and pray”—Luke 5:16 (CEV).
When I arrived at a neighbor’s house recently, she was on hold with a company, trying to get help with a refrigerator problem. Hanging up after a bit, she asked me to take a look at the temperature gauge in the freezer section. Since her refrigerator is a newer model, the gauge is digital. I tried my best to figure it out but was unable to help.
Concerned about the frozen foods thawing out, my friend redialed the company’s number. As her phone was on speaker, I could hear the “mechanical” voice repeat a list of options. One of the final choices was to call a different number. My friend had to replay the final message three times before we got the correct number written down. Eventually, she made contact with a live person who was able to solve the problem with her freezer. While the solution was simple, the process she went through to get there was complicated.
Solitude is a time for being alone with God in complete silence.
Our lives have become more complicated in the 21st century. While technology has, in some instances, made things easier, in other ways it has contributed to modern society’s stress levels. With cell phones, computers and 24/7 cable television, we are kept in a perpetual state of “on” with information overload. Constant stress can lead to severe health issues, including physical, mental, emotional and behavioral problems. What if we learned to deal with stress in a biblical way?
Instead of turning to unhealthy habits like overeating and substance abuse, including alcohol and drugs, what if we chose the path Jesus took when He needed to escape the pressures of His ministry? Seeking God in solitude was Jesus’ habit when the going got rough.