Prayer Empowers Us And Strengthens Our Trust In Him

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   5/2/2014

Last Spring, while an F-5 tornado dug through an Oklahoma school, a teacher prayed. Mrs. Bittle relayed the terror of it all to ABC News and shared this important detail: "'I was praying... I yelled it over and over for the Lord to just cover us and save us and to keep us safe. “

“And He did. My entire class was safe and well and got delivered to their parents...'" (Note: this quote was in the linked story, not in the video which accompanies the linked story.)

Prayer played a role is this disastrous moment, but it also plays a role in the more miniscule.

Last weekend my husband had difficulty starting a machine on our yard. He had tried several times before I and my four-year-old son met up with him. A few moments later he proceeded to give it another try, asking our son to pray as he went. Immediately the engine turned. You can imagine the spark of joy on all of our faces- especially the spark in the heart of our son.

"Prayer" is a religious expression many exercise. But for some it's much more than that-- for some, it's as important as the air we breathe. And though the result of our prayers is not always a resounding "yes" as in the situations above, the necessity of our prayers is unmatched.

Several years ago I sat with an elderly man who was nearing the age of 100 and may have agreed with that last statement. He gave this piece of advice about our church: we're missing one thing, he said, and that's prayer.

He's right. For most of my life I've been one of those mediocre pray-ers. Sure, I had moments of intense conversation with God, but they were few and far between. It seemed like when I did take the time for prayer, I was often distracted by other things. So, one year I committed to praying for 15 minutes every day. Most days I met this goal, but at the end of the year I didn't feel I was any different of a pray-er.

One day, I read this quote: "Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door." I must say that this quote describes the turning point in my prayer life. It was not about spending "x" minutes in prayer, nor repeating "xx" words in prayer, but finally building faith in to whom I was praying to. After I delved more deeply into understanding the greatness of my God, my faith in Him blossomed. To be honest, I was not expecting my increase in faith to so dramatically change my prayer life. However, it suddenly became more natural to pour out my heart to Him- both in supplication and thanksgiving. 

Perhaps the most difficult part about this boost in my prayer life, however, is having the faith in who God is without envisioning Him as my personal genie. When you realize the power of whom you are praying to, you naturally expect answers like in the above two scenarios... all the time. The truth is, we can expect answers, and we can expect God to move, but we can't expect His moves to be limited to our wishes.

This idea was tested shortly after this turning point in my prayer life. I was told my toddler had a cavity that needed to be filled. "A filling?" I thought. "How is he going to sit through that?" So I began to pray. I also asked my mom, my pastor, and several friends to pray. I thought I had this covered. We went into our appointment knowing I had done my part to ensure that my toddler would cooperate and everything would be fine. Yet when we got in the dentist's chair, he refused to open his mouth. 

I know this is a minor issue compared to numerous other needs people have, but that's one of the reasons I was so disappointed. "Lord, couldn't you meet this small need?" I thought (how flawed, really, as if God's power waned as our needs become more dire).

So off we went to the next largest city to meet with a pediatric dentist. After her examination, we learned that the depressed spot in his tooth was not a cavity after all, but a tooth stain. How thankful I was that God did NOT answer my prayer!

Like I said, this was a minor need compared to other needs we bring to God's hand. Yet it illustrated to me how very little we know about our life and the situations we bring to Him in prayer. In my prayer time I continue to battle the desire to "name it and claim it," as if I was God and knew better than Him. Instead, I strive to come to the precarious yet sure place of simply trusting Him with my request. He is God- there is no other. I have come to the right source, and I beg for Him to move- to be God in my life: "Whatever it takes, please guide us closer to You spiritually. Thereafter, Lord, please meet these other requests. Yet not my will, but thine be done."

I have decided that it's okay to be like the nagging woman in scripture who repeatedly brought her request to her authority. Some of my requests have been brought to God for several months without an answer yet, but length of time does not negate the power of God to work. Other requests have seen a supernatural move-- from small issues regarding relationships and jobs to larger requests of addictions which I have seen God break. When recently describing an answered prayer to friends their response was something like, "No way, that's impossible!" I was happy to reply by saying, "I told you, it was a supernatural move of God!"

I know I have much more to learn about prayer and about who God is. I also still have days where I don't bend the knee. But when I don't, I miss it much more than I used to. I've moved from an attitude of "I should pray" to "I HAVE to pray." That time with God empowers me. It also strengthens my trust in Him. Praise God for His ability to handle all things. 

"The absence of prayer is testimony to your ability; the presence of prayer is testimony to God's ability." -Edwin Louis Cole

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