A few times a month, I will post on Facebook asking how I can pray for you, or encourage and support you if you don't wish to ask for prayer or make a request known. Sometimes people comment but don't put out a reason, just asking for an unspoken prayer that God knows about. Sometimes the post gets lots and lots of comments, sometimes it gets very few. Sometimes people send messages privately, sometimes they don't. Sometimes it just gets likes.
I have never felt my post is something anyone is obligated to respond to. I believe if they need prayer, desire prayer, or want prayer, they will comment or send a private message. They actually may even call and ask me to pray on the phone with them right then and there. Sometimes they will even email or text me a request. The post to pray, encourage and support is meant to be an available resource, nothing more, nothing less. If it isn't, you have every right to pass right by it. I don't believe my prayers are any more important than yours, but I know that when I take the time to engage in your world and think about your challenges, your pain, your problems, your issues, your concerns...it makes mine seem smaller. And more than that, it makes me feel so much more connected to you and a part of your journey. And it brings me comfort to know that through a circle of prayer, that major impact can be made. Knowing I have prayer warriors fighting on my behalf always encourages me!!!
I was told recently by someone that prayer is a private matter and should not be discussed on a public social platform, like Facebook. This person told me that of course, that might just be their opinion but that I should consider it since I do it quite frequently. I might want to reconsider my motives.
Over the next few weeks I was on the lookout for how many people in my news feed asked to pray for the people who were their friends or liked their pages, from authors, speakers, musicians, ministers, to everyday individuals like me. I am connected with and follow a lot of people who do this. It has blessed me even if I don't leave a comment or prayer request. It has touched me to know that there are people out there who will take the time to pray for everyone who comments. I find this powerful. Very powerful. Why wouldn't you want every source of power in your life to improve your circumstances?
I thought about Daniel who went to pray before the rulers and people in high power, before the inhabitants in the city who walked by seeing him down on his knees even when he was ordered not to, praying even at the risk of being thrown in the lions din and his life being taken.
I thought about the times Jesus left the disciples and walked to a garden to pray, in the quiet, alone.
I thought about the times I pray before I get out of bed to start my day, in my car, in the shower, in the middle of conflict with a client, right before I head into a meeting, before an employee shows up to work, with friends before they leave having spent time with me, sometimes over a meal (though I must admit this ritual that was done faithfully before food ever was taken has not been a ritual that I have kept up as much as I have wanted prayer to be in every aspect of my life, not just meal time), as we join hands in my bible study group or create a prayer list at the end of our session, at church during worship music, during the sermon, and after...
Prayer comes in all types of forms.
I concluded prayer is both a public and a private matter. There are times prayer is something that is internal dialogue that isn't uttered aloud. There are times prayer is done as a group. There are times prayer is done in silence.
Whatever you believe prayer is, I would ask you why you would want to limit prayer as being only a private opportunity? Why would you not want the power of prayer to an all knowing and loving God to be fully present? Why would you want to limit Gods power to be made alive in a public moment? Why would you want to keep that a secret?
In reflecting about what prayer is, how it is done, what the purpose is to be accomplished, based on not just my personal experiences but the many examples we have in the bible on prayer, I have come to the following beliefs about prayer:
- Prayer connects individuals to God.
- Prayer creates a bond between like minded believers.
- Prayer has power, intense power, beyond any human effort to bring peace.
- Prayer increases faith.
- Prayer thwarts Satan's attempts to defeat us.
- Prayer releases burdens.
- Prayer increases gratitude.
What is prayer to you? Do you believe it is a public or private matter? How do you carry out prayer in your daily life? What methods have you used to create more powerful prayers?
As I close this post today, I am sending a prayer up for you that as you read this, it will provoke you to think about the power of prayer and how you want that to be a part of your life!