Monday, December 13, 2010

How is your Prayer Life?

"The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16b

It was a simple question. One filled with love and concern by a dear friend; when we were just in high school.

She was in the seat behind me on the bus, one chilly morning. I remember my breath formed small clouds in front of me as I attempted to answer her.

An upper classman, she was the epitome of what every high school girl should be; good student, excellent athlete, loyal friend, daughter, sister and most importantly unashamedly a beautiful child of God, who desired that everyone she encountered grow and nurture a relationship with Jesus.

"Good Morning. How is your prayer life?"

Those were her words to me that morning. Also a Christian, I can honestly say I was not quite sure. I was sure of the Jesus I believe in and I was sure that He loves me. But was I sure my heart was right with him and furthermore, at fifteen, was I sure that I was spending enough time with Him? The scripture says fervent; defined as "great emotion" or "ardent love". Our prayers are more effective when accompanied by great passion for our Lord and Saviour. Were my prayers simply a litany of begging and requests? Or was I adhering to His will and expectations? Was I an effective communicator with my Lord?

Today, I desire to leave my heart open that He might see. I ask Him, have I learned? Changed? Am I praying with a renewed knowledge of the the Word of God? Righteous...if I am not abiding in the Word of God, how can I be righteous? And therefore, what does that mean for my prayer life? I seek His will in all things, including my prayer life.

My friend's words reverberated to me, not just for a day or a week or a month, but for many, many years I would ask MYSELF each morning, "How is your prayer life?" Over the years, my answer would vary depending upon where I was in my spiritual journey. But, I was convicted that morning and in all the ones that would follow, that the Lord specifically wanted for me to examine these areas of my life as to form a deeper bond with Him. Many times, I'd pray for my friend, asking His mercy on her and as my faith and surrender deepened, I was ultimately aware of the impact of 5 seemingly small words. I never tired being grateful for her obedience and was truly thankful for her heart to minister to others.

Years would pass. We would lose touch. She went off to school, met a nice man who would become her husband. Eventually, she had children, as did I. Children have a remarkable way of refining our spirits. They bring forth the reality of what it feels like to love far greater than humanly imaginable and thus, creating for us the dependence on Christ differently than we may have felt it ever before. Fortunately, both of us, though seperately, were busy raising our children in Him and leaning on Jesus in ways we probably had not even dreamt.

Imagine the delight we felt when at our daughter's Kindergarten Open House, we sat literally across from one another, looking once again into each others' eyes. Years later, older, wiser, far more surrendered than either of us had ever been, I finally felt worthy of the question, "How is your prayer life?" and found that I now feel the bold call to say to others,

"Good Morning. So, how is your prayer life?"



mholgate said...

This is so good. Thank you for sharing. Honestly, I don't feel like I'm thriving in my prayer life right now. I feel like I sneak in prayers whenever I can since I have 5 children. I often long for more.

John Wilson said...

Hey Heather, my name is John. I read a lot of blogs on religion and prayer and I've ended up at your blog once or twice before. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this prayer exchange website I thought it was an interesting idea and would be curious to hear what you (or other christians) think about it

I'll check back here in the next day or two, thanks & God bless
John W.

Warren Baldwin said...

Challenging lesson on prayer. Is prayer changing my life? That is a good way to gauge how seriously and regularly we are praying. Thanks for the post.