Monday, January 30, 2017

prayer changed me

Things happen in life that sometimes we do not have the answer for. Sometimes we do not know why we are lead to do something. Sometimes all we have to do is answer the call. We really just need to live more focused on the vision, staying attentive to being intentional in each moment of the day, and connected to our hearts purpose and let things come about as they should. Because they will. All the little pieces come together and you will be right where you need to be at the right time.

I was raised in a "christian" home. I put it in quotes, because in my opinion, it is and it was a label. My parents said they believed in God, but did nothing to really trust Him. They told me to pray, but didn't show me how to pray. They shared lots of principals from the Bible on how we were "supposed" to live. They pointed out everyone else's faults and how they could do something better or how it should be done different. Both of my parents lived in anxiety, deep fear, and lacked peace. When I asked on how to have a relationship with God, I was told to read the Bible. I was told to pray, but never shown really how to pray. As a family, the only time my parents prayed was at dinner or before a Bible Study.

I felt my prayers were always ones of anguish, frustration, anger, hurt, pain, difficulty and challenges. I felt that I never met God's approval. I felt God was always so very very very far away. I felt like He wasn't even listening because I did not get a response. I felt alone when I prayed.

My parents met a family and they invited me to go with them on a trip for a few days, and I was surprised when my parents let me go. Before we pulled out of the driveway to head out in their huge big van, we all clasped hands together and prayed for safety on the road, for the people we would meet along the way, for God's Will to be provided in the trip, for great memories to be made, for traveling mercies in our return back home, and for those who were left behind that couldn't join us.

I sat in fear. For one, to be praying with strangers I hardly knew, actually only knew because they came to our weekly Bible Studies that my parents held at our house. And at the same time, I sat there in awe. How could someone pray like this before they went on the road somewhere? Wow. It was new to me.

When I moved out from California to Texas, September 1997, I got to be in various peoples homes and hear how they prayed. The person who stuck out to me the most was someone who was a father like figure to me of a girl my own age. He always prayed with such fervor as if God was sitting there right with us and he was holding his hand as one of us. He prayed in such a way, both joyous and sorrowful, sometimes weeping loudly. I would sit and look on and wish I had that kind of prayer life with Jesus.

Then when I left "The Group" I was raised with and had been a part of for 37 Years of my life, I went to my first "Church" experience December 2012. I walked into a building where I knew nobody except a couple from my Women's Bible Study Group who invited me. One of their friends, came up to me and asked if they could pray with me. Not for me. They asked if they could pray with me. I said sure, not for one moment prepared for what this was going to e like. Right there in the isle way at Church, they reached out and put their hands on my shoulders and prayed. Prayed for my experience in Church. Prayed for God to be with me in my relationship with Him. Prayed for me to feel connected to him in a way I never had before. Prayed for direction and guidance and wisdom. I left again in awe that someone who didn't know me, would pray like this for me.

When my boyfriend and I were dating, before he started the car and pulled out of the apartment complex, he would pray for our safety on the road, for out time together and that we would have fun. Every time. I now wasn't shocked that people did these things, but I was curious when and how and why this became a part of his life. I learned his Dad did it and it always meant something to him and so he always did it with me. I will treasure this memory forever.

Needless to say, prayer has become a BIG part of my life. As I have worked on myself the last 3, almost 4 Years, since leaving "The Group, my transformation has been phenomenal. I have taken to studying relationships even deeper with the new tools I have. I have contemplated more as to what makes them work and what prevents them from working. I have learned patterns about me and others. I have spent time looking at communication, the amount of time spent asking questions, the ways to show up and contribute, and what it means when we seek to understand before being understood. I have taken these same principals and applied them to my relationship with God.

I frequently will ask how I can pray for you on Facebook. I often write out my prayers on here and on my personal blog. I sometimes will write out prayers to people privately. I have seen enormous power in prayer.

So about 6 weeks or so ago, when someone responded to one of my prayers to them, they asked if I knew a way to increase their prayer life and I recommended a book called Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. Their response was this is great, but I would love to read this with others to work through my questions. They went on to say that they felt they needed help with prayer, struggled to know how to pray, felt fear in praying and wished they could pray and write prayers like I do. I responded that I loved the book and would read it along with them as I had done it last summer with a girlfriend and got so much out of it. Then they asked if maybe we could get a group of ladies together and do this. My response was of course, are you serious about this or is it just an idea? She said, I am serious. I said when and we decided a time. It was this simple. This is what began the journey of me leading a group of ladies in a weekly study in this book.

Do I feel "qualified" to do this? No.
Do I feel I have "all the answers"? No. Absolutely no.
Do I feel my enemies are looking on going "who does she think she is"? Yes, I do.
Do I know God is asking this of me? Yes.
Do I feel that my prayer life can grow further? Yes.

But...when God asks something of you, He will show you and you do not have to feel qualified, have all the answers, consider what others think, you just go.

So today marks the first day of 12 weeks of helping these women to grow a deeper prayer life with God. Helping to help them sort through their questions. Taking their prayer requests and praying with them.

I ask you to pray with me and for me. I ask you to pray with them and for them.
#PrayerChangesLives #PrayerWarrior #FerventPrayer