Prayer has not always been at the top of my priority list. Oh, I would use it when I needed it. I would treat it as my Monopoly ‘get out of jail’ card. If I had a fight, or I was broke, or sick... and I felt trapped, unable to figure it out, I would whip out a quick and frustrated prayer. Then I would go on my merry way, simply hoping for the best. In all honesty, my expectations that I would see my prayers answered were feeble. My faith that God was actually listening or had time to really answer me was negligible.
Then we hit a rough patch. Actually it was more like a storm, it would even be ok to say it was cyclone season. Circumstances went from bad to worse and they did not let up. I realised that my lackadaisical prayer life needed to shape up. My lukewarm prayers required a trip to prayer boot camp to gain some real muscle. I was a featherweight and this season needed a heavyweight.
As I began to look at the bible I was amazed at the formidable authority in prayer that people had. David declared throughout the Psalms (Ps 6:9, Ps 65:2, Ps 66:19) that God heard his prayers and that He [God] responded to him. Astounding! Solomon proclaimed that the prayer of the upright pleased God (Proverbs 15:29). Magnificent! Jesus spoke about prayer on many occasions - teaching how, why and when to pray. Even declaring that whatever we ask for, with belief, we would receive (Matthew 21:22). I was desperate for some of that. And Peter and Paul availed prayer for healing, guidance, protection and provision (Acts 28:8). I definitely needed to shape up! As I read more, I realised that the one thing which all of these people had in common was a strong relationship with God. A relationship based on faith and trust. A relationship grounded in God’s love and goodness towards them.
Then it dawned on me that God desired to hear my prayers. I was not an annoyance to His busy schedule but a child who had misunderstood her Father’s heart for her. A deep revelation of love and trust began to unfold within me. Father God was always eager to hear from me. He prized my prayers, and it pleased Him when I would invite Him to come and shape my life.
Once, where my mind would have been a flurry of fear, anxiety, worry and doubt, now I found that the moment I lifted my eyes to heaven and began to release my thoughts as prayers the Holy Spirit divinely transformed each one. My fear was reshaped into faith, my anxiety into trust, my worry into peace and my doubt into hope. Leaving me filled with confidence of His great love for me, and the Holy Spirit’s exquisite care, as He carried my prayers, like precious gems, into the very throne room of God.
With this deep revelation of God’s openness to us, something amazing happens, we begin to bring Him more and He will begin to bring us more. More opportunity to pray for our neighbours, work colleagues, church, city, and even our nation. Before we know it, He has reshaped our life and our purpose. No longer featherweights, we are now able to punch well above our weight! So remember that He prizes your prayers, He delights in receiving them, and allow Him to continually transform them into everything you and our world needs.