For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed in the power of prayer. And, let me tell you, I ain’t (yes, I said “ain’t”) afraid to send one up to the Big Man Upstairs. From the side of my bed to the dinner table at family gatherings, I’m often appointed as the one to lead the prayer. I’m not sure how I came upon this privilege, but I’m faithful to pray and grateful to the One I pray to.
I often think, when I’m sending a prayer up to God, that He probably pauses and says, “Oh, my. It’s Jill with the same request she had thirteen seconds ago.” I dunno, I guess I’m partly neurotic, partly concerned he was playing Candy Crush last time I made a request and partly unsure if he can fully understand what this East Texas accent is trying to impart. Nonetheless, he’s God. He knows all, sees all and hears all. I feel pretty confident he’s got it under control.
My Wild and Woolies (that’s what we call our Women’s Bible Study) are big-time prayer warriors. Some of them pray aloud and some do not. Some take prayer requests, others make them. But, we all believe in the power of prayer. My beloved biological sister, Susan, and my sister from another mister, Jeanette, often say, “I wish I could pray out loud, but I just don’t feel comfortable doing that.” The other group members including myself will say, “Not one person has the correct formula for prayer nor does any particular person have a direct line to God.”
The truth of the matter is that we all have the correct formula for prayer if we’re praying. God doesn’t have any particular requirement as to how we should pray. Heck, He just wants to be in communication with us. That’s what prayer is about. And, not one person has a direct line to God, we all have a direct line to God. He’s accessible to us all.
This last weekend we had the privilege of celebrating my Dad’s 88th Birthday. He has lived one heck of a life, and we often joke with him about God giving him, not nine lives but, more like, nineteen lives. Almost three years ago, he suffered a debilitating stroke. The doctors literally said, “There’s nothing we can do, we’ll have to wait and see what God does.” And, here we are three years down the road, still enjoying the gift of Jimmy’s life which God so generously extended. While he isn’t able to do the things he was able to do prior to the stroke, what he is able to do impacts us all. To that point, this last Sunday as we were getting ready for his 88th Birthday Celebration, I said to him, “Jimmy, what a great day. We have so much to be grateful for. I think we should say a prayer of thanksgiving to God.” Now, bare in mind, I was thinking that I would be the one to say the prayer. But, he closed his eyes, dropped his head and SAID, “Father, thank you for forgiving me for all my missteps in life and giving me hope for better days ahead. In your name, I pray. Amen.” I was astounded at how clearly he communicated his thoughts to God and delighted that, while a stoke might have robbed him of many things, it did not affect his ability to connect with his Maker.
It’s not about our words, it’s about intention and connection. And, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we’ve made that connection. God loves us all where we are and wants so much to be involved in where we’re going. What a faithful friend we have in Him, and what comfort it is to be loved and listened to and cared about by the one true King.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
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