What I’ve Been Learning About Prayer

prayer-quote-2l

I mentioned in another post that two weeks ago, I stayed for a week in Tennessee at a Christian camp (TeenPact National Convention).  It was a life-changing experience.  The theme for the week was “prayer.” Little did I know at the time how much I needed that message.  God taught me so much that week, and I wanted to share what God’s been teaching me with you all. 🙂

Prayer is powerful. 

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

~ James 5:16
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  Our prayers are not just words said to ourselves in private during our morning quiet times.  Our prayers have “great power.”
God demonstrated the power of prayer for me firsthand when I was gone two weeks ago.  It wasn’t a coincidence that the theme for the week was prayer.  I needed to hear every single session that week.  After sessions, we had a small group time, where we (you guessed it) broke up into small groups and prayed for each other.  One of the girls in my small group was late, so we started without her.  When she finally came to our small group spot, she told us that a lady from her church had had a stroke and wasn’t expected to be alive much longer.  We prayed for comfort for this girl’s family, and we prayed that if it was God’s will, He would heal this lady.
Fastforward a few days.  I was home, and I heard the bing of an incoming text message.  It was from the girl I’d met at camp.  She told me that the lady from her church came out of her coma and would be released from the hospital after some physical therapy.  I got chills just thinking about it.  Now, the easy thing to do would be to say “That’s great!” and forget about it.  But I didn’t blow it off.  God used this story to teach me how powerful prayer is, if we only have faith.

Prayer involves faith.  This was something that God taught me, something that really struck me hard.  Prayer involves faith.  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this:

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

~ James 5:15

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

~ Mark 11:24

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

~ James 1:5-8

Ouch.  When I pray, though I know that God can do anything, I doubt whether He actually will.  I doubt.  And what does the verse above say?  “That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”  God convicted me that I need to believe, I need to have faith that God will answer my prayers, that God wants to do what I ask Him to do.

Prayers are always answered.  God always, always answers our prayers.  Yes, sometimes the answer is “no.”  Sometimes the answer is “yes” or “wait a while.”  But God always answers our prayers.

Prayer is not just a one-sided conversation.  God not only hears our prayers: He takes the time to listen to them.  Are we listening for God’s answers, though?  I have a hard time listening for God’s answers.  I believe that God listens to my prayers, but sometimes it seems like I’m just talking to myself.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

~ 1 John 5:14-15

Can I get an “amen?”

Now think about this for a minute: God listens to our prayers, our sob-stories, but we don’t want to listen to God’s answers.  Pretend for a minute that God is a person you are talking to face-to-face.  Wouldn’t it be considered rude to go on and on about your struggles but not listen when the other person wants to share theirs or comfort you in your distress?  It’s the same thing with God; it’s rude not to listen to God’s response to our prayers.

Prayer is just you talking to God.  You don’t have to be put together to talk to God.  City Harbor says in their song Come However You Are, “Come however you are.  Come with all the heartaches.  Come with all the mistakes you’ve made.  Lay them down at the cross.  Give them to the God who loves you.  Hurt, scarred, fallin’ apart, come however you are.”  That’s how you should be approaching prayer.  We don’t need to pull ourselves together.  We don’t need to come to God perfect.  God wants us to cry out to HIM.  He wants us to ASK, even though He already knows what we need.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

~ Matthew 7:7

Prayer should be continuous.  We should be praying throughout the day.  Prayer should just be us talking to God, having a conversation with God.  The conversation shouldn’t end until we hit the pillow at the end of the day.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

You knew this verse was coming, didn’t you?  We are to “pray continually.”  Not “pray when you feel like it” or “pray when you’re in trouble.”  Pray continually.

In conclusion, don’t underestimate the “prayer of a righteous man.”  Believe that God will do what you ask of Him–have faith.  Believe that our prayers are always answered and that prayer is not a one-sided conversation.  When you pray, just talk to God.  “Come however you are.”  And “pray continually.”

Oh, and if you haven’t seen War Room yet, watch it.  Hope this post was a blessing to you all. 🙂

0aa170097e0c6aa36a73c2fd0932716e

Advertisements

Quote Challenge: Day 3

Now, ladies and gentlemen, for the final day of the quote challenge.  Let’s have a quick rules recap…

  • Thank the person who nominated you (I am indebted to you forever, Zoe Wingfeather 😛  and her blog is here)
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers everyday
  • Post a new quote everyday for 3 consecutive days

Here is the quote  are the quotes I have chosen for today:

6909bee97e796396572acc06fecee144

I love this one!  Words of truth from Audrey Hepburn. 🙂

9fd6b396024e69480ebf2a1dd594d5d4

Amen!  Love your enemies.

I tag the following wonderful bloggers:

And, since I couldn’t think of another blogger, I tag…you!  Yes, you.  If you want to do this tag, go for it!  And have fun.  You must have fun.

 

Quote Challenge: Day 2

Good morning, blog followers!  Guess what?  I’m planning lots of wonderful posts after this Three Day Quote Challenge, so if you’re bored, bear with me.  Plus, quotes are awesome, so there is no reason to be bored.  Even if you are bored, please pretend you aren’t.

Rules, again:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you (I am indebted to you forever, Zoe Wingfeather 😛 and her blog is here).
  2. Nominate 3 new bloggers everyday.
  3. Post a new quote everyday for 3 consecutive days.

20870629

This quote is like a punch in the gut.  It’s amazing how much truth is packed into…*counts on fingers*…twelve words.

And because I couldn’t just choose one…

46953691

I love this quote because it reminds me how important true friends are.  True friends are people you can tell anything–your deepest thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, and struggles–and they won’t judge you.  True friends are not just people whom you simply go and have fun with, although you do have fun with your true friends.  They are people who understand you and who love you.  A true friendship is built on “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  True friends care more about their friends than themselves.

And now, I tag the following wonderful bloggers:

What are some of your favorite quotes?  Did either of the quotes I chose strike you?

Have a nice day, guys!

Why We Need More Christian Writers

Words.  

Words have an impact on people.  Why do you think the Bible repeatedly warns against using the tongue to bring people down?

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. ~~~James 3:7-8

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ~~~Proverbs 8:21

Whether we like it or not, words are important.  They are so important, in fact, that the Bible mentions the “tongue” a lot.  Writers are important because writers know how to use words.

We need more Christian writers, because, like it or not, people are affected by the stories they read. Stories help shape who we are.  Why do you think Jesus uses parables to make a point?  Because stories are more effective than just telling people what’s right and what’s wrong.  People remember stories better than a list of rules or a list of facts.

Jesus was a great story-teller.  Think of the stories Jesus told.  Yes, they all have a point they’re making.  But just put that aside for one moment and consider the stories Jesus told.  They are all great stories.  Take, for example, the story of the Prodigal Son.

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable:

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; 12 and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in  loose living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. 15 So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced  him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; 23 and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.

25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. 27 And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I  might make merry with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ 31 And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”

~~~Luke 15:11-32

What a beautiful story!  I know I want to write stories like that.

What do you remember when you go to listen to someone speak?  Sure, maybe you remember what the speaker was trying to get across in his speech.  But what usually sticks with me the most after listening to a speaker or a sermon at Church is the stories the speaker uses to make his point or as an analogy.

Christian writers can and will have an impact on people through writing.  The stories don’t even have to be true; fiction is just as effective as (maybe even more effective than) non-fiction in getting ideas across. The stories we Christian writers write don’t have to be sermons. In fact, non-sermon stories are usually more effective. But the Christian morals that we convey in our novels DO affect people–-whether they like it or not.  If you’re writing to glorify the Lord, the light of Jesus WILL shine through in your writing, and you WILL have an impact on other people through your writing.

Not every Christian is called to go over seas and be a missionary.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that some people aren’t called to do that.  However, God has placed you where you are for a reason, and He has given you gifts and talents, which He wants you to use to advance the Kingdom of Heaven.  Writing for Him is a calling.  Follow your calling.

the_holy_bible
The Bible is a love letter from God to us–a story.

What Is Heaven Like?

If Jesus calls me home today,

I know, I’m sure that it’s okay.

If I go up to Heaven today,

I know the first thing I will say.

I will stand before the King,

All I will do is praise Him and sing,

“Holy, holy, praise the Lord!”

Admiration from my mouth will be poured.

Then Jesus, the mediator between God and man,

Will come down from the throne at God’s right hand.

He’ll come to me, and I’ll fall on my face,

Blinded His holiness, I’ll be in a daze.

But Jesus will take my hand,

He’ll pull me up and make me stand.

He’ll look me right in the eyes,

As if I’m special, His only prize.

He’ll embrace me and tell me,

“Your pain is over, and you’ll now be,

With me for eternity.  Look,” he’ll say,

“At the city of gold, pearl, and jade,

This great city for you I’ve made.”

I’ll join the angels in singing His praise,

I’ll be in paradise praising Him always.

jesus-hugging-sm