Do We Really Give a Care… or a Prayer?
Read through to the end to hear an amazing story of perpetual prayer.
Jeremiah 33: 3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
I recently attended a prayer meeting called a “solemn assembly.” It’s named solemn as the needs in the community and around the globe are many and serious. We broke off into small groups and were given specific prayer topics.
Topics included prayer for strong marriages, local government officials, schools, addictions, churches, neighbors, farmers and small businesses, etc.
As with most prayer meetings, it began with a time of worship and repentance, and concluded with a time of worship.
Strange thing is that the solemn nature turned to outright celebration during the worship in the end, at which we collectively marvelled.
What’s the reason we went from solemn to celebratory, regardless of how the prayers are answered? We know the ending and the One who holds the future, of course!
We know how the story ends. We know there is hope and justice and eternal peace and celebration. We believe in the power of prayer.
Persevering in Prayer: For What Do We Really Care?
Certainly, as Christians we can all relate to peaks and valleys in our personal prayer life, but we’re going to deal a bit more with corporate prayer as well here.
As a school teacher and church goer, I have a former pet peeve, partly because I’m just as much to blame. On Labor Day Sundays, we would have a special prayer time at the service, praying for our churched kids to be salt and light when they went back to public schools for a new year, and that was that. No more corporate prayer on the topic until the next year’s Labor Day Sunday.
We regularly pray for that which we really care! In the latter example, did we really care that our students were so bright and “flavorful” that they attracted others to Christ, or that they maintained their own faith?
Our church went through a strategic planning process with an authorized, legitimate strategic church planning company. Initially, it involved some heavy assessment and scrutiny regarding our present condition. It induced or generated our core values. I recall being on the board and devastated that prayer wasn’t one of our core values. I felt like we should close the doors (or at least make prayer a projected core value!).
The Truth Project from Focus on the Family has a slogan: “Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?” The main point being that if you really believe in something, then it will affect the way you live your life, whether privately or publicly.
I think the same could be said for prayer. Yes of course if you really believe in the power of prayer, then you’ll pray. But just as importantly, whatever is really important will be the topic of your prayers.
We had a professor at seminary who challenged us once with, “We don’t really care for the lost like we say we do. If we think hell is real and the stranger at the mall is going to hell, then we’d be in a constant state of prayer right then and there!”
1 Thessalonians 5: 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Pray without ceasing? That’s a challenge. But one we must strive to achieve.
Power of Prayer
I taught with a colleague who claimed that her youth group produced an inordinate amount of pastors and missionaries. I asked her the secret formula of this youth group. A superstar youth pastor? Her claim was that a group of adults committed to praying earnestly and regularly for the spiritual strength and endurance of those youth.
Our church supports missionary families in central America. These self-sacrificing families develop programs and self-sustaining businesses with youth at a Bible college. They also arrange short-term trips for traveling groups like us in our church.
No wonder they have invaded Latin America and beyond with the gospel to the youth and all ages!
Philippians 4: 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
From the Savior, Master Teacher and Great Physician Jesus, who knows what’s best for us:
Matthew 21: 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
In conclusion, we don’t need to fret about praying about the proper topics or saying the right words. We have supernatural help in prayer endeavors:
Romans 8: 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Whatever the reasons or whatever the answers to prayer, the theology is that our God desires our prayers. We have the privilege to talk to the Creator of all life. He doesn’t shut the door, and He keeps the prayer lines open. No matter the circumstances, persevere in prayer.
Matthew 7: 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.