Something unusual and exciting has been happening the last few months. People have been asking me to pray for them. This in itself is not unusual. This happens with family, friends, and church members all the time. What is different recently is who is asking me to pray. Friends I’ve lost contact with, brand new acquaintances, and even people I’ve never met in person have been asking me to go before the Father on their behalf.
I’m starting to get the feeling that God wants to do something new in me. Prayer has always been a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong – I faithfully pray. But, it has never been easy. It often feels forced or like I’m merely going through the motions. Of course there are days when it feels like God is sitting beside me, holding my hand, and whispering in my ear. Those are the days that keep me returning to Him in prayer. Oh yeah, and also the fact that He commands us to pray.
As I look back over the last few years, I recognize that God has been consistently and lovingly developing my prayer life. He increased my desire to pray. He brought circumstances into my life that forced me to pray. He gave me a greater understanding of the importance of praying with other Christians. He took me through Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s study “Live a Praying Life.” He gave me an accountability partner that is holding me accountable for my prayer life. And now He is leading me into a ministry of intercession for others.
Do you struggle with prayer? Don’t give up. Prayer is our lifeline to the Father. It is a glorious privilege that Jesus bought for us on the cross (Ephesians 3:12). So why is it so hard to do sometimes? I’ve given this a lot of thought. One of the biggest issues is our lifestyles. We are too busy and constantly bombarded with noise and electronic stimuli. We must fight going with the flow of our culture. Let’s say “no” to some things, build some margin in our lives, and turn some things off for a while. Our kids don’t have to be in every sport; we don’t have to serve on every committee that asks; and we don’t have to be top dog on every social networking site on the internet. At least these are some of the things God has been telling me.
I’m learning to sit quietly with the Father. I’m working on letting Him guide the conversation and also practicing listening quietly so He can speak. I’m trying to not be in a rush, to make time with Him the priority of the day. Some days I succeed, some days I don’t, but I will continue to press forward in obeying Jesus’ teaching to “always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).” Won’t you join me?