How many times have we offered up a snippet of prayer of thanks when we didn’t collide with the car that stopped short in front of us? How many times did we whisper, “Thank God” when we got the news that the medical tests came back negative? Staying in a state of gratitude changes our hearts. God calls us to have a heart turned to Him, and when we remember He is the Source of all good things, we can not help but be grateful.
Prayer helps us to recognize His power as King, Creator, Redeemer and Father and prayer also helps us to remain humble. How could One so majestic—so awesome--love us, who are so unworthy? And yet, He does. And He proves it again and again.
Our Bibles are filled with examples of answered prayers! In 11 Kings 6, we see that Elisha’s servant was terrified to wake up only to find the city surrounded by King Aram’s army, intent on killing Elisha and all those with him. Elisha prayed that his servant would see that those who were with them were greater than those who surrounded the city. Only then did the servant see what Elisha knew: the hills were filled with God’s army and chariots of fire!
After more than 3 years of drought, Elijah prayed for rain (I Kings 18). Seven times he sent his servant to look to the sea for a sign of clouds. Finally, the servant returned with the news that a cloud was forming. What followed was no simple spring shower but a torrential rainstorm! That storm was no accident.
The Bible calls us to pray. James 5:13-18 explains that we need to pray for one another, in times of sickness and in times of distress. We need to understand that these prayers will be heard by the One who can do ALL THINGS! We are called to pray in FAITH!
This past Sunday we lifted up our prayers with a special purpose. Much of our Sunday’s worship was centered around prayers for others: our students, their families, their teachers and staff who are beginning a new school year.
School preparation is such a frantic time—just the right type of notebook, perfect markers, boxes and boxes of tissues, dozens of sticks of glue, and of course, the perfect new shoes or dresses for our children. Teachers are busy with decorating their rooms, starting to plan new and exciting lessons, and working with their team leaders and getting materials ordered. Prayer sometimes is not a priority.
The church dedicated the worship service to praying for all of them, by age groups: birth-preschool, K-5th grade, 6th-12th, post-graduation, and all teachers/staff. Seven men lifted up their heartfelt pleas to God to protect, lead, guide, send, and help these families grow in their spiritual walk this year. It was truly moving to see families cluster up front to be prayed over. Then they stepped down to receive a gift bag of resources to help remember who God is this year!
As we left the auditorium, folks were asked to select one child, from any of the 4 age groups, to pray over for this next year, a project carried out by yet another family who gathered names, found photographs, and artistically created a bookmark/magnet. Experience shows us that praying regularly for another person, whether he or she knows who we are or not, is life changing. Life changing for both of us.