I don’t remember exactly when my belief in prayer went from believing my words were empty words floating around somewhere between my mouth and the clouds – were I envisioned God was – to believing that they are a part of His unfolding plan. I think I believed He could hear them, but I didn’t believe He did hear them. I believed I should pray in the off chance He would find some of those floating words, grab hold of them, and do something about them out of pure pity for me.
When I think about prayer being part of God’s plan, I think of Moses begging on behalf of his people. God never changes His mind. He always knows the outcome of every circumstance. God told Moses “let me alone” to alert Moses to take immediate action. Moses was the mediator, he was the piece of this plan unfolding to beg mercy for the Israelites.
All of that story points to Christ as our mediator now. He is what changes our words from floating words to words that are taken straight to God as part of His awesome plan.
I think we, as believers (myself included), vastly underestimate the power of prayer and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. We say that we believe Jesus’ death and resurrection are powerful enough to save us. We say we believe God is powerful enough to offer us an eternal home, but we pretend like He isn’t powerful enough to take care of our daily needs.
As a believer I am expected to pray. God isn’t waiting for my pitiful words out of sympathy and pondering if they are important enough to consider. He expects I pray as part of His plan and He hears every word. There are no floating words. He isn’t busy over here dealing with a “real problem” and placing my words on the back burner. It’s all relevant to Him.
A couple reasons stirred my heart for this post on prayer. First, my reading plan reiterated the fact that we should be a praying people. Second, I have been distraught over the recent beheading of 21 Christians. No matter your belief on if they were actually believers or not, the fact remains that we should be fervently praying for not just those being persecuted, but those doing the persecuting.
Some of the people killed have not been believers, no less we should be praying for all of the minority groups. Even more so because those people truly have no hope.
Here are some of the things I have been praying and now feel burdened to pray even harder about:
-Pray that those who don’t know Christ would come to know the Lord through watching the persecution of believers leaving this world with no fear. Pray they would somehow hear the Truth through the very small number of believers dwelling where they live.
-Pray that we, in our comfort and safety here, would weep with them and that God would show us what to pray. Ask that He would allow us to share in the hurt as our brothers and sisters being persecuted feel alone. That He would also have us feel compassion for the hurting unbelievers who truly have no hope.
-Pray that those who do believe will remember God’s word when they are in isolation with no access to a physical Bible. Pray those Words will be on their heart and they would preach the Gospel to themselves when they have no other believer to encourage them.
-Pray believers will have the boldness to stand up for their faith even unto death. Pray they would feel peace in the face of fear.
-Pray that the persecutors would question their motives. This one has been on my heart for months. I pray this almost daily. They come from so many different backgrounds. At some point in their life I have to believe that some of them have heard the Gospel and recall it in their mind from time to time. I pray that just one person in that group would believe that to be true and come to know Christ and turn away from the wickedness they are currently enslaved to. That they might be able to encourage another in the group, and another, and another. I pray their boldness in turning away would be a revolutionary change that the world would see and believe could only come from God.
It’s a lot. It’s a whole lot. It’s a heavy weight that I’m thankful God is holding. J.D. Greear recently said, “The weight of the mission will crush you but the empowerment of the Spirit will free you.” When we think about those requests above it seems impossible, but it is not. We don’t know where to start because we don’t really believe we can change the heart of ISIS and in that we are correct. We cannot change their heart, but God can and we can start by doing what He has called us to do. Pray.
I don’t say all this to just point out that we should be praying for ISIS and those affected, the power of prayer is underestimated in our daily life. Pray about everything. Everything. Everything. Is it on your mind? Pray about it. Do you feel burdened for a specific lost person in your daily life? Pray about it. Do you feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed at where God has you in life right now? Pray about it. Do you want to be somewhere else in life? Pray about it. Is there that one thing that you believe God can’t handle? Pray about it. Is it seemingly impossible? Pray about that too.