How do you respond when someone asks you for prayer? Honestly, I used to unintentionally disregard prayer requests. When someone would ask, I’d respond, “Absolutely,” only to forget the request within a few hours. I didn’t think writing prayer requests down or setting reminders would really make a difference. I saw prayer as a sort of “Get well soon” response; I thought it was more about making the person feel better or heard more than anything else.
That all changed a few years ago. My Mother is a well known prayer warrior across the globe. No joke. I grew up watching people get in touch with her from literally all over the world to ask her to pray for them. Some people would even say that she has a “red phone” to God and I believed them (still kind of do; it’s probably under her hat).
When people ask my Mother to pray, she does. Right then and there. It doesn’t matter if she’s on the phone, at Costco or watching the Voice. My Mother will always stop whatever she is doing to pray and remembers to keep doing so throughout the day. She’s constantly praying. In fact, her and my Pops wake up early every day to walk and pray. (It’s really cute actually. They hold hands and wear these ugly neon safety vests with a Nigerian politician’s face on the back. That’ll stop cars, for sure.)
My Mother definitely is somewhat of a modern day superhero when it comes to prayer, but not because of anything special in her DNA. I’ve realized that anybody can pray like she does. Prayer is a high priority for my Mother hence why she prays so often so I’ve followed her example. I’m always praying now and have even set alarms on my phone (since it’s always on me) to remind me to pray for specific people and things.
I don’t tell you all of this to make you think, “Wow, those Peters sure are holy,” but rather to invite and encourage you to do the same.
The Bible exhorts us to pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus did (Luke 5:16). All throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), you will see instances of Jesus praying (Focus On The Family has a great article on the prayer life of Jesus). Why? Perhaps to teach us about the importance and power of prayer.
In a recent conversation I had with PDK, he noted that people often think prayer adds to their load, even though it actually doesn’t. Jesus tells us that bringing our cares and burdens to Him actually lightens our load (Matthew 11:28, 1 Peter 5:6-7). In doing so, through prayer, we can find a “peace that surpasses comprehension” (Philippians 4:6-7). A peace that helps us find rest, even in the midst of our struggles.
I’ve discovered this peace myself. I’m very prone to anxiety but when I pray, even when/if my situation doesn’t change, I feel calm. It doesn’t make sense; it’s beyond all human comprehension to find peace even when my life stays chaotic, but it’s nevertheless true. And when I can’t find the strength to pray, I ask others to pray with and for me, which also leads to peace. It’s amazing. So now when people ask me for prayer, I really pray. When I need prayer, I ask for and expect it. Prayer doesn’t add “stuff” to our plates; it empties them.
I believe that we, the Church, can grow in our understanding of prayer and our belief in its power. We should constantly be on our knees talking to God because our world is heavy. People are hurting, dying and in need of a peace that can only come from God. It is our duty to lift them, and each other, up in prayer as often as possible (Ephesians 3:14-19, Philippians 2:1-4).
Prayer also connects us to our Creator, which may be why it lightens our load. God created us to be in relationship with Him (1 Corinthians 1:9). He wants us to talk with Him about life and present our requests to Him because He wants to answer us. When He does, whether the answer is yes or no, He shows His love for us by affirming that we’re not alone (1 John 5:14-15). In any and every situation, He knows what is best for us and works toward it (Romans 8:28).
This weekend in Resonate, we’e going to spend time intentionally praying. My prayer (no pun intended) is that we will find this time to be a good, refreshing reminder of the importance and power of prayer. May prayer become a top priority and constant activity for us all.