Powerful Prayers: Building Relationships
“A religion that is small enough for our understanding would not be big enough for our needs.” Corrie Ten Boom
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” –Max Lucado
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” -1 John 5:14
Prayer is difficult, and yet it is so simple. It’s the act of opening up one’s heart to the Lord.
It’s an ongoing conversation, speaking from the promptings of one’s soul.
Sometimes the words just aren’t there for me, but I know God hears the pain in my groans, feels the joy and thankfulness that overflow from my heart, and loves me despite my iniquities.
Prayer is a reminder that God desires a connection with me.
Like most relationships, it takes effort for them to flourish, and it’s the same in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. But, it’s because of my growing relationship with a loving God that I’m reminded of the power and importance of prayer.
I don’t think any of us fully understands how prayer works. God’s too magnificent and multifaceted for any of us to completely comprehend His power and glory.
But in His Word, we understand that prayer is important; it’s essential because it’s relational. And it’s moving. It moves our hearts and souls to understand more of who God is, who He wants us to be, and where He wants us to go in His name.
I can’t explain it, but God moves through prayer. It’s powerful.
It’s difficult to get away from the world’s distractions and pray.
The idea of prayer doesn’t come naturally. There’s so many distractions in this world that keep me focused on my “own little world”, rather than looking out, and looking up.
I often find myself wanting to pray, beginning to pray, and then suddenly remembering I need to e-mail someone, questioning what I’ll make for dinner, or feeling the need to have noise because the silence seems uncomfortable.
Silence in itself can be scary. I readily feel the need to fill silence when it’s there, rather than embrace it as a gift.
A time of peace.
A time of quiet.
A time of reflection.
A time for prayer.
I’m not saying that God only uses the silent times to direct us to pray; we can pray in any and every situation by just uttering the words in our minds. And even when we don’t have the words, God knows our hearts, and feels the inexpressible words we want to relay to Him.
But, when I embrace the silence to pray, God will often use it in ways that I would have never imagined.
He moves my heart to pray for someone in my family, a difficult situation with a friend, for my husband in his job, or for our country’s leaders, among other things.
And most of the time the promptings to pray for certain people, situations, or events only come during that time where I’m in-tune with God because He wants to communicate to me that this is important, this person needs to be on your heart, or this event needs to be on your radar.
Just recently, I had a friend respond to my blog. She had stated that she wished her faith was stronger at this point in her life. And she said that talking about anything faith related always seemed difficult. I told her that I completely understood where she was coming from, and I responded by saying I would pray for her.
But, God was prompting me to do more. Through the simple act of lifting up my friend in prayer, God nudged me to go further than just a prayer- that was just the start.
I didn’t know exactly what He had in store, but I had a pretty good idea that it started with a relationship. I needed to build a relationship with my friend, and rely on my relationship with the Lord in order to know what to do next.
A few weeks later, my church announced that they were initiating the Starting Point study created by Andy Stanley. The scheduled meeting times for this study through our church didn’t work for my friend or I, and so that left me empty handed. I considered doing an online study, but I wasn’t sure where to start. That’s when God pushed me to do something that scared me, but I knew I needed to follow through with it.
He revealed to me that I needed to have a conversation about faith in my own home.
Yikes! (That was my initial thought).
In my heart, I know that change doesn’t come from staying comfortable; change comes from moving out of our cozy places into new territory. Relationships are built by taking chances, accepting people where they are, and loving them.
The result of my prayer wasn’t a large Bible study group, but rather it led me to just sitting down with my friend in my home. Thankfully, we’ve been able to use the study resources that my church provided through the Andy Stanley study.
I can’t think of a better place to build a relationship, learn, and grow in faith than in a person’s home. It’s a welcoming and relaxing place to have a conversation.
We’re on a journey together to grow deeper in faith, learning more of who Jesus is, and unfolding the misunderstandings of the Christian faith.
It’s a safe place to ask questions, discuss, read, and reveal truth.
Our meetings are the beginning of something beautiful, and it all started with the power of prayer.
A big thank you to my church and our associate pastor for putting together some great Bible studies this fall. I was introduced to Starting Point: A Conversation About Faith by Andy Stanley. This continues to be a wonderful resource for my friend and I as we continue our conversation on faith.