As Seacoast’s Care Ministry Leader, I’ve learned that people have many different thoughts, methods, and expectations about prayer. Whether silently whispered or confidently declared out loud, prayer evokes different emotions for everyone. It’s personal, as well as communal…and powerful.
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” ~ James 5:16
There is the practice of obedience in prayer. When we follow through, God can move in a mighty way.
A woman named Emily shared with us recently how she obediently walked up to the cross in the Mount Pleasant Campus Worship Center and prayed to be freed from an eating disorder that had been controlling her life for the past 26 years. “I had pinned my struggle, thoughts, actions, and people to forgive to the cross many times,” Emily said. “But THIS time, I pinned the WORDS that hurt me…the root of what held me…that I was finally ready to surrender. And when that pin went into the cross, it was done. Completely taken from me, lifted out of me. I felt the complete release of my burden off me. I am forever changed, healed, and my mind and heart transformed.”
What If I Don’t Have The Perfect Words?
God is always with us in our suffering. CARE Team staff member, Kirsten, shares, “Almost five years ago, I was faced with a life-threatening diagnosis that came out of the blue. I still remember lying in bed and staring at the wall, unable to put together any words of prayer beyond ‘please.’ I was in such a state of shock and fear that I couldn’t fathom communicating all that I needed to say. I didn’t have the mental energy to engage God in any other way, and I felt like I was doing it wrong. A close friend comforted me with Romans 8:26–27. She reassured me that my prayers were completed and heard, no matter how short and repetitive. “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” (NLT)
The truth is that we pray to a God who has numbered the stars and the hairs on our head. He is the author of all that is known to us. He knows the deepest desires of our hearts. God doesn’t need complete thoughts and perfectly constructed phrases from us. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are granted a divine translator who lobbies on our behalf and comforts us in our pain. Even in our darkest night, when we feel desperate, wordless, and alienated—we never pray alone.
What About Intercessory Prayer?
We may also invite others to intercede for us. God will bring others to pray with you, for you, or over you, inviting the Holy Spirit to bring the words and prayers to minds and lips for you. We encourage you to visit members of the Prayer Team during Response Time and after every Seacoast worship service, so you can experience the power of prayer through others.
If you find yourself praying for others often, perhaps God is calling you to use your gift of prayer. To learn more about joining the prayer team, please contact Kareen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter how you find it best to pray, the most important part is building a personal relationship with Jesus. Talk to him. That is prayer. And it is where you will discover not only the power of prayer, but also the joy of walking in obedience with your Heavenly Father, who knows what you need more than anyone—including yourself.
Father, thank you that you hear my prayers even when I can only utter a single word. Thank you that I have full access to a conversation with you any time of day. Fill me with your Holy Spirit to guide my life, and put others in my path who need to experience the power of prayer.