Sunday, March 8, 2009

Prayer & Encouragement

The two big topics for me this week...and (what feels like) my two greatest areas of struggle at the moment.

I've met with a couple different prayer warrior types over the last few months. Much like Worship was a focus for me in 2008, I see Prayer as being a major focus for me in 2009. And I'm quite excited about that.


Around 8th/9th grade, our youth pastor at church went through a series on prayer, and what being a prayer warrior is all about. We were given little binders that were meant to be a tool to use over several weeks to help us grow in knowledge and practice in prayer. I remember thinking very convincingly, that I am not, and never will be a prayer warrior.

I just didn't get does my talking/thinking to God change or affect things in life? Why does it feel "silly"? Why do I not care? Those thoughts when I was 12-13 solidified as I went through high school, even during the 6 years at a Christian university, even during the 4 years as a teacher at a Christian school.

I think I've come to a point where I'm saying, "Enough is enough." I know (cognitively) that prayer is a real discipline, it is required/commanded of us, it really does affect change...and I want to figure it out. It's humbling to be a Christian your whole life, even a leader of other Christians and organizations, and yet feel very "green" in such an important aspect of Christian life. But I guess I feel enough grace and encouragement right now to feel safe to explore this.

I think about how God became angry with Israel and was ready to destroy them. But Moses spoke to God and plead for mercy...and the Bible actually says this phrase: "But Moses implored the Lord his God....And the Lord changed his mind about the harm he said he would do to his people." (Exodus 32) That's a crazy concept that our prayers can change God's mind about something.

Another example of prayer's effectiveness:
Numbers 11:1-2
"11:1 And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down."

Well, that's the discussion on prayer for now....I included "Encouragement" in the title, but this is already going long, so I'll save that for another post.