Taking my dog, Poco, to the veterinarian was the proverbial last straw. Discouragement and frustration finally made it's ugly head well known in my afternoon/evening. And tomorrow is my first day of Fall term at Southern Adventist University. Coincidence in timing? I think not.
Turns out I'm not the only one experiencing frustrating trials. Tonight was orientation to the S.A.L.T. program, it started at 6:30pm. I ended up being late because of the veterinarian trip. So I missed my fellow students introductions and whatever else was covered in the first 12 minutes of "class". While listening to the speakers I quietly counted the students. I only came up with 17. There were suppose to be 25.
After class I found out that approximately eight people had dropped out of the S.A.L.T. program at the last minute due to frustrating/discouraging trials.... some health related, some finance related, all living in this world related...
And for some sick reason I was comforted by this fact. I took comfort in knowing that other people were suffering. How messed up is that??!?! It's like my logical suddenly transcended to; "Well what I'm about to embark in must be important for Satan to be working so hard to mess it all up."
And then my friend told me about a friend of hers, an acquaintance of mine, that has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time and has been given six to twelve months to live. This brings me no comfort, just big fat tears. And later tonight it will bring me to my knees.
I've had this question floating in my head off and on for the past month or so: "What's the point to prayer chains? What's the point in having other people pray?"
If God is all knowing and all powerful, does He really need multiple people praying? I asked these questions to some prayer warriors recently... and here are the answers I got:
- "Remember that the purpose of prayer is not necessarily to have then answered as we imagine, but to bring us up to God so we can see things from His point of view. His objective from the very beginning was and is to place things on an eternal basis of security. Also, God will not force people to make a decision; but He will influence them, create opportunities, and work circumstances out to place them in the best position to make logical and reasonable decisions. Because God respects our freedom of choice, He needs permission, the OK, from us to work in us. If loved ones don't pray for themselves, we must intercede for them and give God permission to work in their lives. As far as prayer chains and having multiple people pray about something; that's only to strengthen our faith in God and in each other, and encourage unity in God's cause. God can and does work in the lives of others through the prays of one person or many."
- When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man's best service, and he makes up for the deficiency with his own divine merit; for He is the source of every right impulse" Oriental Watch, A Friend to the Friendless 1909
- "...Also God blesses our actions when we sincerely come to others and to Him. He gives us our church family to go to, to lean on, and support us. "
- "There is amazing power in prayer and we all need it. Praying for each other brings us closer to God and the people we are praying for. Jesus prays for us everyday, why wouldn't we pray for each other?! Organized prayer groups are spectacular in the fact that it makes us all vulneralble and we need that to grow spiritually."
- "as to prayer chains- it is a powerful gift! "Where two or three come together in My name, there I am, in the midst of them" Matthew 18:20. to me, this goes beyond actually meeting and holding hands together in a room. when you have a group of people focusing their prayers on something together, it is a joint effort. and God hears each one! "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12"
- I don't know. I think they CAN and SHOULD strengthen people, bring people together, and put the focus on God. It's hard for me when I don't know a person I'm asked to pray for and It's hard for me to know what to pray and how. James 5:16 mentions praying for each other. I feel that it's more a community activity though, and prayer chains often seem disconnected to me.
- I'm not sure... I think it's community. It seems at times that we think we can convince God to do what we want if we get enough people on our side begging him. Like we can convince Him if we beg enough. On the other hand, we live in a spiritual battle field -and there is power in prayer.
- James 5:13-16 the effective prayer of the righteous man can accomplish much. If we belive this, the BIBLE/GOD, the more righteous people praying the more God will accomplish for us. So the prayer chains are blessed by God
- Well God has commanded us to pray and He has also commanded us to bear one another's burdens. James 5:13,14, Galations 6:2.
- "The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" comes to mind. . . Have to look for the reference :) In truth, though, I believe prayer changes ME (aligns MY heart with God's) far more than it changes HIS mind. "Our thoughts are not His thoughts nor our plans His" - He has SUCH bigger plans than ours...I believe prayer chains link our hearts with His and with the Body of Christ - becoming "Jesus with skin on" to the watching world. As urine hearts are transformed, we live and act truly as "little Christi" May it be so! James 5:16 & Isaiah 55:8 we the two references
What do you think?
Here's what I think.... I'm reminded of last Fall when myself and many other prayer warriors across the country prayed for a dear friend, Blaine, who had a brain tumor. Church members and I gathered together multiple times to pray for Blaine. Countless emails and phone calls were sent pleading for prayers for Blaine. It wasn't until I was beside the hospital bed in which Blaine died that I realized how Blaine was bring ing people to Jesus when he was at his weakest. And even though our prayer for his survival wasn't answered how we wanted, our prayer was answered in that God's will took place. I have friends today because of prayer chains last Fall. And the experience brought me closer to some of my fellow church members.
There are plenty of Bible verses that recommend prayer. Jesus spent a huge portion of His time here on planet Earth in prayer. But Bible verses aside....
Praying for others... or knowing others are praying for what I'm praying for is... ENCOURAGING.
Psalm 138:3, TLB. "When I pray, You answer me, and encourage me by giving me the strength I need."Some how I find strength in intercessory prayer. I don't know that I could argue this belief with Bible verses and such... I just know my experience.
So with that said: I NEED PRAYER!!!! I'm weak and I need all the help I can get!!!! Just sayin'!!! In case you don't have enough to pray about, here are some things you can add to your list:
- As I mentioned, Fall semester starts tomorrow. My schedule is crazy full (more like Tachenko full which by definition is crazy full by the way ;). Please pray that I can effectively manage my time that God has blessed me with.
- Sleep. Please pray that I'm in bed at a decent time each night so that I can get up early enough to do my devotionals and exercise before class at 8:30am.
- Money money money.... (insert "The Love of Money" song by O Jays)... God always comes through for us in this department... I'm hesitant to even bring this up because of how He always blesses.
- My pets. No more vet trips please. See previous prayer request. Please pray that Poco heals quickly.
- Ryan and I have been apart for almost 3 months now. Please pray that God makes His will clear as to a job and so forth... so Ryan can join me here in TN.
I feel really selfish asking for prayer when some many others need prayer more than me. But Jesus reminds me that kind of thinking is silliness.
How may I pray for you????? I have a prayer board that I keep track of prayer requests on... can I add you to the board?
Thanks for the prayers!!!!!!!
God is love,