I attended Prayer Time last night at our church. I was much better after an hour of prayer than when I went in. It made me consider just what happens when we pray.
During our hour of prayer we spend a half hour praying alone and a half hour praying together.
1. Physical improvements. It has been demonstrated that our body gets better when we pray. Our blood pressure becomes more normal and our heart beat stabilizes to a better level.
2. Emotional improvements. We become more stable emotionally after just a few moments of praying. Anger and fears subside. A peaceful feeling emerges.
3. Perspective improves. There is something about getting quiet before the Lord. Gradually we begin to see things a bit differently. Maybe we begin to get some of His perspective. As we give thanks we realize every thing we have. As we consider who He is, we begin to see that He’s got this situation. As we remember our previous times of prayer, we remember how He has worked in the past.
4. It’s quiet. Just being in a quiet situation is a good thing. Our world is so noisy these days. Not only does quiet do us good. It’s just good in itself.
5. We listen. It seems when things are tough we spend more time worrying and talking to our selves. When we pray, if we are praying correctly, we spend more time listening than talking.
6. God speaks. If we can just be quiet, we can hear him. He really does answer prayer.
When we pray corporately more great things happen.
7. We hear from others. As we gather we benefit from the insights and the words others have received from God.
8. We are blessed with fellowship. I think we spend too much time alone these days. We communicate by electronics. There is blessing in being face to face with other believers. It is good to see and hear and touch them.
9. God’s presence becomes even more real. Remember He promised when two or three are gathered in my name, there He is.
10. We are encouraged. There is nothing like holding hands in a circle and hearing others cry out to the Lord and to pray in a language that the Spirit has given them to chase away fear and doubt and to build up courage within.
11. We are bound together. One of the most common supplications in group prayer is to “bind us together.” The mere act of praying together has that binding together effect.
12. We share. As we hear each others prayers, we learn a little more about their struggles. As we pray, others learn a bit more about us and our lives begin to meld together.
13. We increase in love. Nothing helps a relationship like praying together. There is truth in saying that the family that prays together stays together.
14. God moves. There is a spiritual principle that says that God is often waiting for us to take the first step. There are numerous examples in scripture of God moving with power after His people take the first step of faith. Praying is that first step.
15. We move. Pray before acting. But remember to act after praying. Praying is the first step. In it we are guided and encouraged to act. In the process we have come to know a little bit more about each other and our God. We have a bit more of His mind. We are a little closer to His heart.
Renewed, refreshed, encouraged, motivated, and blessed, we act.
Pray and be blessed. Pray together and be greatly blessed.
I had a full day yesterday. I spent a lot of time analyzing documents and communicating with clients and friends, offering advice and counsel, the kind of stuff I sometimes get paid for. But I was also trying to keep up with UL Baseball, UL Softball, LSU Baseball, and the NBA. By the time the NBA East Finals were over (Go Pacers), I was ready for bed.
When I got to bed, Rosemary was listening to sermons on the internet. I was mildly annoyed. She offered to listen in the headphones, but what she listens to actually usually helps me go to sleep. So I said “no thanks” and just laid there. But I didn’t drift off to sleep. What she was listening to was great. I listen through some really good sermons on learning God’s will for your life and the end times. I heard about working on the sin in your life and salvation and sanctification. It was good deep stuff delivered with humor and skill. It kept me awake for several hours.
I recognized something in the accent of the pastor and in certain phrases he used. Rose was listening to sermons from Journey Church in Central, Louisiana. The accent and other elements were familiar because Journey is the church our new Lead Pastor came from. Apparently all people from Central talk a little funny. I could recognize other similarities. Eventually I was able to go to sleep and slept with contentment. I knew my wife was listening to good stuff and, after all, as head of the household I have some responsibility for the spiritual food my family is fed.
I also felt good about the future of my church because you can learn a lot about a man from the nature of his mentors. I have actually met our Lead Pastor’s former Pastor and he’s a nice guy in addition to be a great preacher. His church is experiencing great dynamic growth and is impacting their community. They still all talk funny. That gives me great comfort in considering the future of our little church.
I look forward to Sunday. Hopefully all my teams will win. Pastor Jason is preaching again and I look forward to that. I am filling in for our vacationing Senior Pastor, but you should come anyway. Maybe I’ll share some of the great stuff I heard while trying to go to sleep last night. I’m practicing talking funny too.
Thanks Journey and
- We are not called to fix, just to be there. A brother or sister in need doesn’t really expect us to have all the answers, they just want someone to be present while the questions are pondered. Just to sit quietly with a friend is a tremendous blessing.
- Listen. As we sit we need to really listen. We need to learn to listen not just to the words that are spoken, but those that are not. We need to learn to get a feel for the emotions.
- Share. It is much more helpful to someone hurting to hear that they are not alone in feeling pain. They don’t need easy answers but they can be blessed by a honest sharing of experience. Be careful not to “one up” the person in pain. We don’t need to say, ‘You think you have it bad. Let me tell you what happened to me.” We can never completely put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, so don’t try.
- Pray. Sometime when we are in pain, we don’t know how to pray. It can be such a blessing for someone else, in our presence, to go before the Lord for us. Prayer gives God the opportunity to act and bless.
- Give. After listening and praying, it may become clear that we have some resource that the suffering one needs. We need to admonish and encourage, but we also need to “help.”
- Substitute. When we are in pain, it becomes difficult to perform even our normal daily tasks. Look for opportunities to step in and fill in where the hurting can’t act or can’t act as efficiently as they usually do.
- Be Jesus. The greatest thing we can do is to “be Jesus” and to bring Him to the hurting. A person in pain may not be in the best position to “hear” the gospel, but they are certainly in a position to see it.