If you missed Par1 of “How is Your Prayer Life?” – start here!
I’m Demra – a new friend of Courtney’s here in Texas and I LOVE prayer! Here are a few more ways that I think about prayer in my life. Enjoy! I’d love to hear your thoughts too.
5. Belief in prayer
I learned as a child that Amen meant, “I believe”. So when I say Amen I am not just saying I believe in Him but I also believe He heard my prayer. Mark 11:24 says,
Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you.”
This doesn’t mean we are done with our task of belief once we say our prayer. Taking action shows God you believe He’s going to back you up. I’m not making a case for the prosperity gospels here where you can simply pray for good things and they will happen. However, I do want to point out that prayer moves you into action toward your dreams for His glory so put your belief into action. The bible tells us we are co-laborers with Christ so don’t stop after you pray. Just like faith without works is dead, so is prayer without action. This is different than waiting on the Lord, which is also an action. Pray for discernment on whether to take action in waiting or take action on something else.
Consider this funny story that some may already know. It’s about the religious man stranded in rising waters that climbed to his rooftop and prayed for God to save him. Just then his neighbor came by in a canoe. He said, “no thanks I prayed, now I am waiting for God to save me”. Next, a police boat and later a rescue helicopter urged the man to climb on board as the waters would soon be over his roof. In time the water took over his house and the man drowned. When he got to heaven he demanded to speak with God. He questioned the Lord saying, “I prayed to you, why didn’t you save me?” God simply answered, “I sent two boats and a helicopter. You never got on”.
Do you take this approach to your belief in prayer? Is this what it means to tell yourself to let go and let God? Maybe that’s my cop out for when it doesn’t happen. I can simply say it was not God’s will. Or, do I truly believe God has my best interest at heart and continue to work diligently toward my goal. All along waiting for the Lord to show me the way, whether it works out in my favor or not. His will is perfect and His timing is never late. Start believing that your prayers are powerful. Your prayers can change your life. Your prayers can change someone else’s life. Don’t let the waters of worry surround you and paralyze you into inactivity towards your assignment by God.
Just because a prayer isn’t answered doesn’t mean the one true God doesn’t insanely love you or want to bless you. Jump on board the canoe and sail away into security of His grace. Hop on the helicopter to soar to your dreams whether you planned them or God had something different in mind. Don’t let the help pass you by another day. Pray for God to open your eyes to see the resources around you. These very resources may be the key to activating your true life’s purpose.
6. Silent prayers
Have you ever experienced silence in your prayer life? Not the kind of silence or being still as you wait upon the Lord. It’s the kind where you have no idea what to say or how you are feeling. Mad, happy, sad, overcome with grief, feeling wheels off or just plain exhausted. You deeply desire relief from your distress but the words won’t come. Sometimes the silence feels like a mac truck has hit me. I know what I want to say but I am too spent emotionally, physically or spiritually to speak them outright. Sometimes fear can accompany silence. I know I am a prayer warrior. I know if God is with me, then who can be against me? So is it procrastination, paralysis of analysis or control over the situation that I am not ready to let go of?
The bible speaks about spirits and refers to the devil as a snake many times. New York Times best selling author, Jentezen Franklin, wrote a book about the Spirit of Python. If you think about a python its main goal is to squeeze the breathe out of it’s prey until all life is gone. Isn’t that what the enemy who is commonly referred to as a python does? He lies, exhausts, distracts, tempts and squeezes us into a corner until we feel like we have no life left. James 4:7 says,
Resist the devil and he will flee from you”.
So when the breath won’t form the words, try singing or journaling to unclog the spiritual pipe to let the holy spirit back in. Sometimes we simply need to surrender, cry, sing, draw or paint so the dam can break and the tears, praise and worship can begin to flow.
I found this to be true in my life many years ago. See I have struggled with forgiveness, anger (severe bitterness) and lack of self worth since my childhood. In particular, I was carrying unforgiveness for various family members and especially for myself. The devil continued to whisper lies that my sin was not forgivable (insert a python squeeze here) and that I should hold a grudge against my perpetrators who continue to hurt me (insert another squeeze here). With this belief in my heart I gave the enemy a stronghold in my life that kept me from physically speaking words out loud during prayer time for many years. So when the words wouldn’t come I would simply write. I was shocked at what came out. Instructions, love letters, encouragement and reassurance from the Lord with each letter I scribbled. When the writing wouldn’t come I ended up crying on my knees in my closet with snotballs all over my nicely pressed blouse. Tears were the only form of communication I had because the hurt in my heart was too deep to express in written or spoken words.
The day I decided to stand up to the adversary and not let him silence me anymore I began singing hymns (insert a breathe), journaling (insert another breathe) and the flow of my emotions and words turned into prayers then speaking events at church and writing a book about my testimony called Muddy Little Secrets. Little by little the breathe of life began to fill me up again. The squeeze of the enemy was loosened and joyful words not tears became my new form of communication. I challenge you to find your words again and start communicating love to those around you.
7. Praying through crisis
Is it just me, or does it seem like each time you get on Facebook (that’s where I get all my national news now –HA!) crisis is all around you? Crisis is scary. Crisis brings fear. But sometimes crisis can bring a dramatic change in your prayer life. My beautiful mentor, Patricia Barnett, with Barnett Consulting in California had this happen to her when she was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. The Doctor said, “go home and pray for a miracle”. What he really meant was good luck. The Doctor didn’t know that Patricia already knew that God was in the miracle business. I remember hearing the stories of her husband Richard flinging open the door and saying, “are you going to buy into this diagnosis or are you going to believe in a miracle?” What he meant was are you going to pack your bags and head out to the beach or someplace of peace with me so we can visualize the beauty of life that is still possible. Life is still possible even in the midst of your darkness! He wasn’t going to give up on her. Yes, we understand God’s will but I believe there is great weight in our physical sense when we have an attitude of gratitude while faced with challenges like this. This is how so many people can stay in contentment on the inside even when their lives are falling apart on the outside. They are focused on the one true source, God and giving Him prayer and praise.
Patricia did just that and her prayer life changed. She realized that “in moments just like this, it’s when we are given the truth and our opportunity to know and see God fully. We find our way out on a ledge because we are not one with God and situations like these are perfect ways for us to know Him deeper.” This is when Patricia began her true relationship with Him. She compared it to her day-to-day life just as you get to know your husband day-by-day. She states, “God is always there to which the degree we are open to the conversation with Him”. She didn’t believe God gave her an illness to bring her closer to Him. She believes God uses all opportunities to bring His children closer to Him. This concurs with Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Once she believed that this entire ordeal was an opportunity to up- level her faith there was no turning back! Patricia knew it was about how much she believed in her own belief. It wasn’t about petitioning daily. It was and still is about knowing that we say a prayer and give it to God and then let go physically and let God do His miracles spiritually. Once we give it over we don’t take it back to micro-manage or peek. God has it and he’s got you in the palm of His hand. She reminds me often, “not to peek but to take action and walk in faith”! She says, “No matter what, everything works out because God always has a better plan than I can imagine. It’s this or something even better!” She is living proof today that prayer works even in crisis. So if you are in a health, financial or family crisis today, don’t stop praying. Call on Jehovah Rophe (the lord is my health) and Johovah Jireh (the lord is my provider). Keep believing that God is in the miracle business! He’s here for you and we are too!
How has prayer impacted your life?
How can I pray for you today?
Connect with Demra at DemraRobbins.com