She looked up from our table while studying God’s Word and said four words, “Teach me to pray.” I love when people just get gut-wrenchingly honest. There she was, a woman who has been a Christian for years upon years and yet, teach me to pray. And maybe if we are all honest about our prayer lives, we’ve uttered those words in the quiet places, too.
So, let’s chat today, sister loved by God. I have been thrown several truths this week from my time spent in the Word about prayer that have burdened and yet spurred me on in different ways.
There is a cost to anything that is good.
Do we pray?
The first thought came from one of my questions in a study I am doing called Experiencing God. “Do you know of a situation in which a person or a family had to pay a high price because your church followed God’s will?”
I drew a blank and quite honestly, as I am writing this, I am still drawing a blank. No. I don’t know of anyone that comes to mind that quickly. Now, I am sure if I sat here for a very long time and thought through lots and lots of scenarios, I could come up with a list of some who have had to pay a high price because our church followed God’s will but right now —
I’ve got nothing.
(Note: As I thought longer about this, I have been able to pinpoint families as well as individuals that are doing hard things. I see it now. But the point remains: it took me some time to corral these thoughts.)
The second comes in a question. Do we pray? And let me put it this way? Do we rattle the gates? Do we approach our good, good father? Do we wait in expectation? Do we pray without ceasing? I am not talking about a quick prayer before a meal or before a big meeting. I am talking about an intimate conversation with our God.
Do we pray?
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3.
Henry Blackaby said this about prayer and I am still trying to wrestle it down to the ground—
“We need to learn how to pray. However, realize that prayer will be exceedingly costly to you. God may wake you up in the middle of the night to pray. Times may come when you pray into the night or even all night. Becoming a person of prayer will require major adjustments of your life to God.
Another cost will come as you try to guide the people around you to pray. Many churches have never learned how to pray. The greatest untapped resource is the prayer of God’s people. Helping your church to be a praying church will be a rewarding experience, but prayer will be costly. Every church needs to be a praying church!
-Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God
So now you see my thoughts: A rich prayer life comes at a cost. Am I willing to pay it?
As you know, Imperfectly Brave launched prayer groups where women right now are meeting in small groups all across the Heartland and into other parts of the country. Know this. Prayer groups didn’t come about as an idea that would be “launched.” No way. Prayer group started in an upper room and we stayed small, quiet and unknown but became very KNOWN by Him. We experienced the way prayer changes us. We’ve felt it and have seen with our own eyes. We can tell the stories of the changes in our churches, families and lives.
All the while, we had no idea God would lead us to spur women into starting their own prayer groups. But He did and we are being faithful.
And get this…we believe that God could revive and renew through prayer. We are just that audacious and we are claiming truth over our lives and clinging to it — because sometimes our bravest place is a clinging place.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
But after we launched, I started having all sorts of doubts. Thoughts like, “Why would God ask us to launch a prayer initiative? People pray. Will people think we are claiming the church to have a poor prayer presence? Have I been the only one with a weak prayer life? Do I have a weak prayer life? Do I even know how to pray?”
And on and on.
But today I am going to silence those thoughts and instead, start a conversation about prayer and see where it goes.
I want us to look and discuss different questions. Like, why is prayer challenging? Do you have a thriving prayer life? If so, what keeps it alive? What keeps us from praying? How can we better understand prayer? What scriptures do we lean on when it comes to having a conversation with God?
Will you join in? Tell me what prayer looks like for you and how you might want to increase your prayer life. If we want to be a praying people, we need to start with honesty. Where do we want to grow? What is working well? How can we spur each other on? This is a safe place. I guarantee we can all grow in praying to our good, good Father.