Depending on how you were raised, prayer could have many different meanings. This article isn’t designed to educate you, yet more so encourage you to take a moment to think about praying.
When I was in high school, prayer looked like riding my bike out to Pensacola Beach, parking my seat in the sand, and looking out over the horizon. I’d start by thinking through all the situations or obstacles that I couldn’t control.
As the current would creep closer to shore, I’d imagine placing my thoughts in the water that skimmed my toes, and then watch them float away as the water would recede back to sea.
Without me realizing, through God’s grace and creation, He was showing me a way to lay down what I no longer could carry.
As I’ve grown in my faith and had more exposure to prayer, I’ve experienced the supernatural power of it. Time and time again. With my own life and with the lives of others.
Prayer is a gift.
I used to believe that God had a whole staff of angels in heaven that would take all the prayers like a 24/7 call center, and God would be given categories of prayer to address. I’ve learned that God typically responds in one of three ways:
Fed EX Overnight Delivery (Yes)
5-7 Business Days (Not yet)
Packaged Delayed til Further Notice (No)
When we exchange words with the Father in Heaven, He does not ignore us. He knows what you need before you ask Him. (Matt. 6:8) This doesn’t mean that the answer or the conversation is always going to go as planned. #thatislife What it does mean, is that we have 24/7 access to conversations with the creator of the universe, and he cares about our requests, needs, and desires.
Prayer takes practice.
Prayer hasn’t always come naturally. Like I mentioned earlier, I used to dump thoughts into the Gulf of Mexico and hope for the best! As a child, we would say a prayer over dinner, and my dad would say a prayer with us before bed time. Though we didn’t grow up religious or attending church. I didn’t understand that there was a deeper meaning to what we were doing.
As we started dabbling in church through middle/high school, I’d hear prayers more often, although still not comfortable to explore my own practice with it. I thought to myself, “If these people can pray like this, I am sure they practice A LOT.” So because it was new and shiny and powerful, I took on the practice. I wanted to experience this tangible freedom that people were encountering after being prayed with or prayed for. My motives were a little selfish back then, and it took me a WHILE to realize that prayer is a surrender to God, not a service He offers.
Prayer is powerful.
I’ve heard people say, “Yeah, I say prayers in my head.” Those are thoughts sweetie. And we’ve got thousands of them per day, always trying to cut each other in line. If you think that the prayers you say in your head are powerful, have you ever tried writing them down?
Taking a moment to intentionally write out to God, sharing whatever it is that you want. A praise, a confession, a request, a need. The thoughts in your head may very well be prayers, though it will help to organize them if you lay them out on paper first.
Once you become more comfortable with seeing and sitting with God during that private time of prayer, the relationship between you two naturally starts to build. It starts to feel like you are having a conversation with a close friend, or bringing your troubles to a wise counselor. Praying out loud and talking to God is an amazing feeling.
Prayer becomes a priority.
As your prayer life grows, so does the community around you that prays. It’s the wildest thing. It’s like meeting someone new that drives a certain car, and then you see that car everywhere. Prayer starts to pop up in all areas of your life. Random ladies at church will walk up and ask “May I pray with you?” or you will be asked to pray for the group (never being asked to do so before).
God wants to know us, and for us to know Him. Through that knowing, we become softened to the love of Jesus and the light yoke he brings. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I’ve never felt more seen by God since I started increasing my prayer life. I guess that is how building a relationship works, right? One conversation after another, growing in trust, learning to listen, and being open to the exchange. Increasing our prayer life actually decreases the problems in our life whether the prayer is answered in the moment or not.
My prayer for you, my friends, is that you feel empowered in your prayer time after reading this. If prayer is new for you, be gentle with your learning and trust it is something YOU CAN DO. If this is old news, pray about ways God can be using you!
Peace and love to you, prayer warriors.
Local Pulse Staff Writer & Holy Moments Columnist, Makenna Curtis