Beginning in December, 2019, I began a prayer journal (Sharing-Caring-Praying) for the sole purpose of recording prayer requests that came across my FB news feed as well as those that I received from our church’s prayer vine. Often, these requests came from people that I only knew through a special painting group or DYI group that I joined on FB, other than our church requests.
While keeping this prayer journal, I was able to continue to pray for those who had suffered the loss of a loved one and/or for those needing comfort and strength for other needs beyond their control. I recorded daily or weekly updates as they came across my news feed.
This past year I have learned a lot about prayer–what it personally means to me and how it has strengthened my faith in the One to whom hears all of our needs and meets them on a daily basis–and I will endeavor to share some of these “prayerful things” that I found in God’s Word.
What is prayer and what can it do for each of us? Do we only pray when we have a need and our world has been shaken from a devastating loss? Or are we commanded to “pray without ceasing” in all things?
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we are to let our requests be known to God by “prayer and petition”–telling God what our request(s) are and thanking Him for answering no matter what that answer might be.
Someone once said that “When life is rough, PRAY; when life is great, PRAY!” In the good and the bad times, God is the same; He never changes; He never fails to hear us.
A. W. Tozer said that “the hard work of prayer is getting yourself in a state of mind in which you prefer the will of God over your own.” I think all of us can identify with this statement. All of us want our “own will” over what God wants for us. He is the potter and we are the clay to be molded after His will for our lives.
So then what is prayer and what can it do for us? Let’s take a look at some of the things that prayer can do for all of us. Prayer can:
- CHANGE People: II Corinthians 6: 17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” We become a new creation in Christ. Our lives are changed and we are made into the image of God.
- GUIDES People: Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” God knows the path that we need to take to accomplish His will in our lives and He will direct us in the way that we should go.
- DELIVERS People: Psalm 34:17: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” God hears, delivers, and is with us in all of our circumstances throughout our lives.
- HEALS People: James 5:14-15: “Is any one of you sick? He should call for the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” We need to claim our healing and believe that He has touched us and made us whole.
- COMFORTS People: Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” God will comfort us and give us rest when needed.
- STRENGTHENS People: I Timothy 1:12: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” When we do the Lord’s work, he strengthens us to do His will.
- PROTECTS People: Psalm 5:11: “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” God continually protects us as we take refuge in Him.
- INCREASES FAITH in People: Hebrews 11:1-2: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” The Word of God is filled with those individuals who were found faithful, even when their circumstances looked dire. By following God’s calling and commands, their faith in God led them through the wilderness and many circumstances placed in their paths. They followed the will of God over their own.
There are more ways in which God can change our lives through prayer, but I also want to say that during the past four weeks as I have battled with tendonitis and less use of my left arm and hand, I have called out to God numerous times to “heal” me. His response was to “continue to believe that He touched me.” If we pray and ask God for anything, we need to believe in our hearts and minds that He has answered and continue to trust in what that answer will be. This can be hard to do sometimes but it should not allow our faith to waiver in the God who loves us and continues to change us, guide us, deliver us, heal us, comfort us, strengthen us, protect us, and increase our faith in Him every day.
W. Clement Stone said that “prayer is man’s greatest power.” We need to continue to pray without ceasing–when life is rough and when life is great.
“Sometimes all it takes is just one prayer to change everything.” (Anonymous)