No matter the church you go to, there has been and will always be the talk of prayer. I’ve mentioned prayer in previous chapters, referring to worship as a church and prayer warriors. I want to talk about prayer, focusing on the individual. Without a doubt, one of the most loving and influential people that I have ever known, was my grandmother. When I was young, she taught me to pray on my knees on the side of the bed every night before I went to sleep. I pray in the same fashion to this day. My prayers can be anything from the Lord’s Prayer which is the foundation that Jesus gave us (see below), to a simple prayer while driving.
“After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” (Mathew 6: 9–13)
Prayer, as you know, can be done as a church, group, or even a family. Prayer for me is more than the occasional mealtime and bedtime chat between myself and the Father. It is an ongoing conversation. I talk to God and Jesus about everything! I want them involved in every aspect of my life. Why do you ask? As I said before, we were born of the flesh, raised of the spirit. The Christian walk is not easy; it’s a daily battle.
Imagine being in the trenches of WW1, knee deep in mud, bullets flying everywhere, explosions from mortars going off around you. You see others fall by the wayside. As you work to move forward, fighting to win the battle, you help others along the way, preventing them from being lost. Suddenly you are hurt, you go to a knee, putting pressure on the wound. Artillery explodes near you, knocking you down; there’s fog everywhere. You know that you’re done, you look up to see the sky once more. As you look up, you see a figure standing directly in front of you, with His hand extended. You take His hands and look into His eyes, all you see is peace and love. He brings you to your feet; He is with you. You get back into the fight.
Throughout the battle of being a Christian He is there, He has your back, all you have to do is pray and believe. I have had more discussions with the Father than I could count. I’ve prayed everything from “please don’t let us lose this high school football game” to “please let my Dad be in heaven.” I know that when I do pray, I tell God the desires of my heart, granted He already knows. I still covet the time that I have to talk to Him. I’m happy to say that some of my prayers have been answered and some have not. I’ve had many unanswered prayers, but in turn, I know that I don’t see the big picture. When I was a SNCO (Senior Non–Commissioned Officer) in the Air Force, I explained to my Airmen that we, as a group, need to follow orders. We also need to remember that sometimes we do not see the big picture, it would be nice, however, not feasible. Sometimes events are too complicated and happening too fast to stop and ask why? That is life. I think that as we grow older and experience life’s interactions with people, we begin to understand unanswered prayers. We build in our Christian walk to the point where we can comprehend the significance and the effect of our unanswered prayers and how they affect other people.
Yes, God has a plan for us. Our unanswered prayer might be someone else’s answered prayer which may double in significance in their lives I’ve heard many say that “I keep asking God, but He doesn’t answer.” Sometimes when we pray continuously for something, and we don’t get it, we need to pray for understanding. We also need to be better listeners. Communication between our Father in heaven and us is a two-way street. We have to listen. So you’re probably asking yourself right now, okay, so what am I listening for? Please remember what I said previously regarding the funnel and the pinball. If we listen with open hearts our Father will guide us. I have seen this repeatedly in my life. If the Father wants you to do something which seems odd, but you do it, later seeing the significance your actions made in the lives of others, especially there Christian walk, is amazing. God is amazing! And yes! It gets better, once you see these events unravel before you, tell others. Tell your story to those who don’t believe so that they may also see His glory. This, my friend, is known as witnessing.