“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
God has been teaching me more about prayer these days. Not necessarily in the way to do it but the enduring process of prayer. What this means is that I’m having more consistent conversations with the Lord and He has let me know in His own way that He is listening as I lean in to listen to Him.
I can’t tell you the things that I have heard from Him, that’s for another time. I wanted to write to you to encourage you to do the same. One of my teachers is giving a sermon series on prayer and he reminded me that we sometimes ask things that are too small for God. That was a good reminder because when we are hidden away in our little prayer closets, we sometimes for get what God is capable of.
God is able to do all.
Friends, the words we say to God aren’t just empty words to an “I’m-oh-so-busy-I-don’t have time for you” God. No, God is not like that. He strains to hear our words. He yearns to hear our voices, He loves to hear our cries, He softens when He hears our hearts. God listens to what we have to say.
Never discount the power of prayer.
I know what you are thinking right now…you don’t know where to start. That’s kind of what I said to my friend, Larry, who was advising me about how to write a book. He said, “All you need to do is say ‘HELP’!” My friend Larry has a way about him that speaks of enduring prayer. Prayer has gotten him through so many tough years and he has the scars to prove it.
Our role in this Christ-like busyness of life is to model Jesus in every way, in every day. Jesus certainly endured through prayer, especially in the Garden of Gethsemane. Many times, Jesus left the company of his friends and followers and sought the Lord out alone, on his knees, downloading from the Father what he needed to hear. When I think about even Jesus needed to be encouraged, well that speaks a lot to me about how important conversations with God are. I often forget that yes, even Jesus needed endurance and empowering from prayer while walking on this earth. I’ve never prayed to the point of sweating by blood, but I have felt the pressure to pray with that kind of intensity.
Part of my daily prayer time is to receive perseverance. One of the most powerful things we can pray for is to endure and not give up on God. He will always be there for us. I’m experiencing those deep emotions in prayer. I was thinking the other day, if I died today, one thing I know that the Lord would recognize is my voice as he has heard it. Only He knows what I’ve been speaking and believing in my prayer closet. Knowing that gives me comfort.
There’s a story of a lady named Lydia who was known for selling purple cloth in the marketplace. She also hung out down by the river that ran through her community and said many prayers. She taught many others to pray as well, she started prayer groups and the position of prayer spread like a wildfire. She probably lead out in the first organized prayer day. She would’ve done something like that because she knew the power of her words to the Lord. That same power that she prayed for Paul and Silas, that same jail-breaking power, that same miraculous power is available to us today as well. You can read her prayer journey in Acts 16.
It’s not noted that Lydia had children, but I know her prayers mothered so many. Enduring prayer is persevering, consistently, and constantly in prayer. And if all you can say is “HELP” that’s enough to get God’s attention.
I remember the prayers my mom must have said over me at the kitchen sink. I have adopted the same practice of a nightly cleaning of my soul and praying for my family, sometimes yes at my kitchen sink. I remember K.P. Yohanannon saying once, at his home in India, that “I wouldn’t be here today, except for the prayers of my mother.” It was a striking moment as a powerful man, leader and founder for Gospel for Asia, admitted that the prayers of one devoted heart influenced in him ways that she would never know.
That kind of influence is powerful and power-filled.
When I think about a mother’s heart saying prayers for her children, I know they carry our emotions to the Father. I believe that our love for them activate more than we realize, no matter their unwillingness, waywardness, and willfulness. Those nurturing character traits are exported into many precious hearts and nurtured by the enduring prayers of our own mothers.
“Lord, show us your ways to endure today”. “When the fire of prayer goes out, the barrenness of busyness takes over.” George Carey.
Many of us battle silently in prayer, hidden under the wing of God. Some of our people have forgotten about the privilege of it all. I won’t forget that God is never to busy to hear us. Too much of my life depends on His help and I want to show up and be present to hear everything He’s got to say to me today and everyday. As I hear His heart for me, I understand more of my heart for Him. That’s the kind of enduring prayer that I need to make it through.
There’s not a victory without a battle. These days are filled with this fight or that skirmish but there is true victory in being held by the power of prayer that comes from your heart. No matter where you pray or how you pray, just talk to God. He’s waiting to hear from you. Be encouraged, God is listening.