My brothers and sisters in the Lord have in previous weeks shared with you powerful stories of their prayer life and disciplines. Here is my personal contribution. Though there is so much that can be said I will limit myself to only a few aspects.
Firstly, I like spontaneous prayer. One of the disciplines that I have developed over the years, and I am sure many of you do this as well, is when people approach me with their needs for prayer, where possible, I pray straight away. I like praying for people when they ask me for it in their presence with their participation. Spontaneous prayer for a person you both know, for needs you are aware, or for a burden the Lord has laid on your heart, does bring to the forefront the very reality of the power in prayer – that God is present, He cares, and He is willing to hear anytime and anywhere.
Our church facilities are located near Logan Hospital and we often see rushing ambulances with sirens blaring on Loganlea Road. For me in these instances, it is clear that someone is potentially between a life and death scenario. I do not know that person, but God does, and He sent his Son for him/her. I pray for that person so he or she will know Jesus and his care, and that if that person is a believer, that Christ’s comfort and healing will come upon that person.
Spontaneous prayer is good, but Christ’s example is also to be intentional in prayer. ‘And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.’ (Mark 1:35)
I know if I am not also intentional in prayer, being spontaneous with it will not be enough to help me grow both in prayer and the knowledge of God. I strongly believe that the more chaotic our world and our lives get, the more intentional I should be in my prayer life – taking time to listen to God and open my heart. Perhaps a good starting point is to ask yourself “How intentional are you in prayer?”
Certainly, Covid 19 related lockdowns and restrictions have highlighted the powerful aspect of prayer ministry in our church. As Paul once said to the church in Corinth: ‘For though absent in body, I am present in spirit.’ (1 Corinthians 5:3). This is the powerful reality of prayer – we may be absent in body, set apart, unable to meet, limited in what and how we can do ministry, but there is so much we can do in spirit! United in spirit, prayer overcomes any physical and certainly any spiritual barriers.
I am sure as Pastors you have come across many scenarios where you need to give the right answer on controversial areas. There is even an expectation that you provide wise counsel on topics you didn’t expect! You may have been asked questions you weren’t expecting, and sometimes this leaves you overwhelmed. In this regard, I am inspired by Nehemiah’s approach. When asked by the king why he was upset, and what he could do to help him, although frightened Nehemiah before answering the king ‘Prayed to the God of heaven.’ (Nehemiah 2:4).
So we can pray when doing our daily tasks, when challenged, when asked unexpected questions and when we lack wisdom (which is often my case!), and God is there to help, to guide, and if it is His will, to answer as He wishes.
Finally, I love when I see God’s answer to my prayers. But I do have to be very careful not to impute on God my answer. My task is to do all I can so I can be heard by God – to remove all the barriers so I concentrate on Him and wholeheartedly seek His glory and His will.
When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, he prayed: ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’ (Matthew 26:39). Did God hear Jesus? Of course, He did. Did God answer Him? Of course He did, in His own sovereign and perfect way. ‘In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.’ (Hebrews 5:7).
I pray my contribution to reflections is encouraging to you in your prayer life.
Rev Emil Rahimov
Director of QB Ethnic & Multicultural Services