I have always been part of a church. Literally. I will sometimes tongue-in-cheek suggest that my mother probably left the delivery room of the hospital and went straight to a prayer meeting at church with me in tow. I have never known life apart from church. That means that prayer has always been part of me. Not that I’ve practised prayer perfectly but have known of it comprehensively, or so I thought.
This will be my last prayer encouragement to you as the Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. At the stroke of midnight on July 31, I will “retire” from this role and ride off into the proverbial sunset. As the EFCC champion for prayer, I’ve done a lot of teaching and modelling of what a praying life might look like, but along the way I’ve also been a learner.
Here are three lessons that I have learned in my tenure as prayer catalyst, things that I thought I “knew” that have now become experientially part of my prayer reality.
- Listening to God in prayer is as important as talking to God. No, I don’t hear audible voices but I do sense nudges and whispers that direct me in God’s way for me. I have proactively adopted the spirit of the boy Samuel when he says, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
- God wants us to ask him to act on our behalf. For me personally, I came to the realization that I simply don’t have because I haven’t asked. God loves to give to his children. I’m still learning but I’m trying to ask more. I’m trying to ask with the “shameless audacity” of the woman of the parable in Luke 11:5-13.
- My prayers do influence the actions of God. That means prayer is powerful. I still don’t know how that interfaces with the sovereignty of God but I believe the truth of it. Paul seals the deal for me in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. Paul believes that he escaped death “as you help us by your prayers.” He goes on to say, “Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
As I close I give you the verse that I adopted in the beginning as the theme verse of my prayer ministry.
“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)