I’m going to reveal some deep honesty here so bear with me.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything new. Typically I have a few drafts sitting in the hopper waiting to be finessed for publishing. Not so with this girl. It’s summertime! Which means we’ve had family vacations, celebrations, play dates, and much fun in the sun. On top of which, what little time I have to be productive has been spent on “work”… even if “work” just entails “playing” with paints and stains and wood and power tools. … just keeping my priorities straight.
Anyway, I could spend a blog post for every single topic we’ve covered in the Armor of God bible study I did this summer, which would be 31 posts all on their own. However, one topic has been nagging at me since week one of the Bible study which was two months ago. It is around the topic of prayer.
Priscilla Shirer puts much effort on prayer because in Ephesians 6:10-19, the crowning jewels to putting on the armor of God is heavy in verses 18 and 19:
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints and pray…
Emphasis mine, of course.
My point in sharing this particular post with you is to reveal the power of prayer. I know I’ve belabored the event that occurred in late July of 2014, almost exactly three years ago from me writing the first draft of this, I had a miscarriage. The event was the hardest I’ve ever had to deal with but, amazingly, it also has propelled me and our family to excellent places. My end view about the baby is that he’s skipped this silly place and is waiting for us in heaven. I don’t grieve the loss anymore but only have twinges of sorrow around certain events like holidays and whenever I hear his name, a name we chose so early into the pregnancy. God knew I would have needed a name that quickly.
Anyway, my prayer life after the miscarriage was difficult. I had prayed such hard and difficult prayers while trying to have confidence that God would spare my baby (I was having complications very early on). After all of those hard prayers, to still have been dealt that blow, was so difficult to fathom. I had no words to share with my father, I didn’t care to discuss the events of the day or even to pray for new issues as they appeared. The best I could give him was my deep, guttural cries of sorrow… for at least six months after I lost the baby.
After that things mildly improved. I got back into the word and was able to form words of prayer even if I refused to request anything from God again. My feelings were that He was going to do what He had planned anyway, so why bother.
I know the response to this dilemma I was in, and yet I still struggle to wrap my brain around it. We pray to see (and share) His work. We pray because we join in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6) in defeating the enemy here on earth. From “Armor of God”:
Prayer is the mechanism that brings down the power of heaven into your experience. It is the divinely authorized method that activates your spiritual armor and makes it effective. … Unless prayer is a vital and thriving part of your life, you will never achieve spiritual victory.
Now, for my bold honesty. Before that big event in 2014, I had been praying for something huge in my life – something very serious, for many years. Over a decade, actually. As my heart grew tired of the roller coaster I was on, again for over ten years, my prayers shifted from praying for the specific changes I wanted to see to asking God for help in guiding me in how to deal with the unchanged. And I prayed HARD. And he responded LOUDLY. And I obeyed, as hard as it was and as much as it didn’t seem to make sense. But I’m going to tell you something… even as I was navigating everything according to God’s loud response, I quit praying for the initial problem. It seemed to be a futile exercise. I felt like God wasn’t going to answer that prayer since he was navigating me on a different trajectory.
So, as my situation came out from behind the veil, my prayerful friends began praying for me and the initial situation. Because I could no longer hide the problem in the shadows my people came out in droves.
And let me tell you what, that prayer that I had prayed years prior… that prayer that was so old and worn out… that prayer that I gave up on was answered. AND BIGGER AND BETTER THAN I COULD HAVE EVER DREAMED ABOUT. The situation was fixed but beyond that, my heart was healed. My world was healed. My precious people’s world was healed.
This event, the catalyst being two years ago from this date exactly, was the single most profound experience I have ever had with a miracle (except for the successful pregnancies I DID have and maybe add in a time when my friend healed my ear with the power of prayer. True story.). The people who gathered around me with prayers for me and my loved ones witnessed a miracle too, and they will never deny that.
I’m now reading “Fervent,” by Priscilla Shirer. The book focuses on prayer, something I still need direction and focus and help with. I know that part of the problem is that as a recovering perfectionist, I’m drawn to specific formulas and recipes to get to the end result. Prayers don’t work like that. GOD doesn’t work like that.
According to Shirer, the number one way that the devil attacks us is through our passions. “He seeks to dim your whole desire for prayer, dull your interest in spiritual things, and downplay the potency of your most strategic weapons. (Eph. 6:10-20)”
Isn’t that what happened to me? I prayed my guts out for my son and yet he still died. My inner dialogue became, “God is going to do what he’s going to do so there’s no sense is requesting anything.”
Again from Shirer, “[Satan] wants you to believe that God has not seen your struggle and is unaware or disinterested in the details of your life.”
In reading this book my gut hurts. Literally. Tears are just behind my eyes. All that comes to mind is, similar to “How Stella got her Groove Back” but “How Jamie got her prayers back.”
But, my point in this post is that my life and the world around me are walking miracles because of the prayers of others…. because Lord knows I was at a loss for words. I simply asked to be guided and I followed and miracles abounded. As much as my message today is for you, about the power of prayer, it’s also a pep talk for me. A reminder to me, that the blessings I have every day are laid on the backs of those who have prayed. From my prayerful friends that would quickly mutter words as my situation came to mind, to my mother who nightly retreats to her prayer spot with books in hand… still praying for her family and friends and all of the situations that surround them.
One of the best movies I saw last year was “God’s Not Dead.” I have to admit that the theme song for it, by the Newsboys, is ringing in my ears right this very moment.
“My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion”