BLOG: On the topic of prayer

RJ discusses how serving in missions has challenged her prayer life.

"Lord, I have no idea what is going on right now...but You do. So, yeah, please be with whatever’s happening right now. Amen."

That sums up most of my prayers while on outreach to a rural area of Madagascar. When you don't speak the language, it can be hard to understand the situation, especially in moments of high intensity where stopping for interpretation takes away from what is happening.

Not knowing what was going on wasn't the problem, though; it was my response to these situations.

One afternoon while going door-to-door with a few team members, we were invited into a house to pray for a woman lying on a bed. I said my now-customary little prayer and let my mind wander:

"I have a bug bite on my foot. It's warm in here. They still have last year's calendar up. I wonder what's for supper..."

A little voice broke through my meandering thoughts and whispered, “Are you praying or just sending up flares?”

I was surrounded by people praying passionately; there was no faking their sincerity. They were praying from deep within their hearts. Then there was me, sending up a flare and sitting back to watch and wait. 

Like a person stranded, send up a flare and wait for a response. Sit back, scan the sky, and wait for help to arrive. Nothing happening? Send up another flare. Sit back. Have a nap. Not actively seeking help but making small attempts here and there. 

That was me, sending up a flare and sitting back.

"Okay God, I prayed for at least two minutes. That should be enough to impact whatever this situation is about."

Not quite the “pray without ceasing,”  talked about in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, eh? 

Prayer has become a repeated topic for me over the past few months. First during the trip to the south and then devotions, sermons, conversations, and memory verses have kept reiterating it. 

All of those things have been challenging me to pray with purpose and direction. To be honest in prayer about what is on my mind. To pray from the heart instead of worrying about length or elegance of speech. To pray about everything. Nothing is too small or two big to bring before the Father.

And to pray repeatedly. 

“Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.” - Psalm 116:2

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