So, no, this post is not about Bon Jovi, although that may disappoint some of you (ahem, Andrew). I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately and spending more time engaged in it. I used to pray about lots of things, but I think I'm just starting to really believe in its power. Don't get me wrong, I've always believed that God was mighty enough to do anything He wanted, I just was a little bit skeptical about being able to be part of the process.
One of the things our staff has been doing more regularly than we have before is prayer walking in our neighborhood. At first this is an awkward assignment. Who knew you could pray with your eyes open and interrupt serious prayers with, "Hey, don't step in that dog poop." But, it has been an amazing experience for me. The more I let go and pray out loud the more I feel the Lord gives me to pray about, the more burdened my heart becomes for my community. Sometimes I don't even know which person I'm praying for to be released from the bondage of addiction but I get choked up in an earnestness for their freedom. And, even though you wouldn't think this would be true, you meet a lot of people while walking and praying.
I think it has also made me more aware of the Holy Spirit. The more we have asked the Holy Spirit to give us favor with our neighbors and lead us to places and people of spiritual openness, the more we are directed to them. I am believing in my part of the prayer process and it is beginning to take root in my life. Sometimes driving around town I spot people in their cars or walking on the sidewalk and I find myself praying that the Lord will meet them in some way and change their lives and I believe that He can. And, I find myself saying things like, "Let's pray that God shows us which community is spiritually open to begin our church planting efforts" and I believe that He will!
I have also found prayer to be more of a necessity in my life than it used to be. Andrew and I have felt God's strong call this last year to give over more of our lives and walk further in faith and, let's be real, the only way I can make it through the day is clinging to a very needed conversation with the Ruler and Controller of all things.
I am no Mother Theresa, that's for sure, but I want to encourage you to do things that take you outside of your comfort zone to experience God through prayer--not because I am awesome and have the right to challenge you in this area but because it is an exciting part of being a follower of Christ and I want to share that with you! You can prayer walk in your neighborhood. Take an evening stroll and just start praying...the Holy Spirit will direct the rest. Or take a step of faith today that you know you'll only be able to do if you verbally affirm through constant prayer that God is real and will carry you through.
I heard a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. several years ago that has always stuck with me. He said, "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." As followers of Christ our life-breath should be a dialog with the Creator of the Universe. What a privilege. It's uncomfortable at first perhaps, maybe even scary, but the joy and action of the Christian life is to truly be, as Bon Jovi sings it, living on a prayer.
Let's stop living as the walking dead and breathe the life-giving power of prayer into our lives and our communities and see what God will accomplish for His Kingdom.