The place of prayer we seek.
In sacred privacy, where nothing and no one exist but you and the Maker of heaven and earth, words rise in a natural flow – – – as that of a fragrance being breathed up by God Himself. Your heart is vulnerable, exposed. The “what” or the “how” bring no worry when words escape your lips. This time of prayer is special and incomparable to any said moment. It is where Grace comes down and meets broken. It is where Healing touches sick. It is where Hope purges despair. It is where Wisdom enlightens uncertainty. It is where Creator redeems and restores the tarnished and ruined soul. Yes, this time of prayer is one that we enter with anticipation, thankfulness and joy.
Then there is the place of prayer that we…avoid.
In my own discomfort, I willingly almost missed out on an incredible and special time of prayer. As the body of Christ, the one I am so blessed to be a part of, was to gather together in a time dedicated to prayer, I found myself wanting to separate. I let whispers of distraction in, I let whispers of discomfort settle, I let paralyzing whispers consume. Then His whisper broke through all the others. In a sweet sense of His comfort, I also found myself challenged. Do you love Me? Do you love My people? Do you really want to be in a place of complete obedience and surrender? Do you trust Me?
I surrendered my pride, I surrendered the “busyness” of my life and I surrendered my will. I loaded the mini-van with my three little ones and we headed to church – to a night of prayer. I did not know what it all would entail, I did not know what my part would be and I certainly did not know how His Spirit would come and move within a group that gathered in humbleness before Him.
A night of prayer.
We gathered together, intergenerationally – children, teenagers and adults of various ages. We moved through various parts of the church as we prayed for specific needs, an interactive journey. We bowed heads and we opened hearts; through prayer and through petition we glorified and worshipped.
Three groups of people all worked their way through the building. Three groups of people prayed specifically for the needs of – our church family, our community, our families, our church staff and for our world whose ears have yet to hear the Good News that is found in Christ Jesus. Three groups of people on a prayerful mission.
Within each large group, more intimate and small groups were formed. Children and teenagers, whether meekly or boldly, publically joined in with adults and spoke from their hearts to a God who listens. In the first few moments of our time of prayer, I was reminded that it is not the words that are spoken that matter – it is the heart that they are coming from. I had been so worried about “not saying the right thing” or “not saying it the right way”…I had forgotten that it is simply just about connecting my heart with His. Words spoken, whether with painful stuttering and simple vocabulary or with profound fluency and captivating language, all fall on the ears of He who listens the same.
My own words of prayer found inspiration in the ones that were being offered up through the mouths of those decades younger than me. The sincerity and vulnerability that was offered up in their simple, and at times, misspoken words humbled me. I found, as I was there leading them in prayer, they themselves were blessing my heart. Some brought their pains and suffering and, before a group of people, gave them over to the God who loves and heals. In the moments of vulnerable prayer, God provided ways to point back to the rescue that is found in His son, Jesus. In these moments, I felt the watery mist press against my eyes squeezed shut and I felt myself offering up thanksgiving for a night that drew me closer to Him, the One who my heart and soul long.
I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am thankful that I was able to experience Christ in the midst of a gathering of believers who had come together in His name. I am thankful for a church family who is led by those who seek to know Him more and value the importance and power of corporate prayer.
“Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Prayer is what brings God’s power and grace into a situation.” ~ Jim Cymbala
“God has sovereignly ordained the corporate praying of a church, such that His mighty workings increase exponentially and His purposes are accelerated when we pray together. Understand that this message is not given to minimize personal prayer. Instead, it is to show you that personal prayer alone will not result in the working of God to the degree needed for spiritual transformation in our lives, our church, our cities, and our nation.” ~ Lloyd Stilley (from LifeWay read full article)