There are times when I’ve felt so incapable of the task ahead, or so overcome by the opposition I’ve faced, that I’ve fallen on my face, begging God to take over, completely. I’ve circled large neighborhood blocks, praying for hours. I’ve huddled with friends, taking turns asking for divine intervention. I’ve praised Him and pleaded with Him, imploring His wisdom. I’ve prayed with my kids as we’ve driven on errands, their hearts broken over disappointments and frustrations. As I look back I see a bold pattern; huge victories almost always were drenched in prayer.
Prayer has anesthetized the most brutal moments in my life. The loss of our baby came on a Sunday morning. As we held him, our entire church body prayed for God’s grace. Even then I knew that copious intercession kept us strong for our four grieving children. As a record-breaking storm raged in our state and we were miles away, unable to protect our family, I cried out to God to shield them, and He did.
My greatest accomplishments, achievements measured by the amount and degree of people touched, helped and changed, all came as a result of the combined prayer efforts of the saints. James 5:16 sums it up; “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” God has lined those people up for me.
There was a time when I had exhausted my physical and mental resources, about 80% into an important self-paced degree. I was close to giving up. I had a dream that a particular woman at church pulled my baby up a hill in a cart for me as I held him up in the wagon as I walked alongside. I knew this dream was about intercession. I timidly asked her to pray for me. She was enthusiastic and honored. This emboldened me to ask others for prayer. I re-asked my stalwart prayer partner to redouble her efforts. In an unexplainable furry, I became energized to write and read and study and amazingly finished the degree in a little over a month! Wow. The prayers propelled me along. I glided.
My finger in the dike became a buttress held up by the conjoined prayers of those we love.
A while ago one of my children experienced heartbreak. He had spent dozens and dozen of hours planning and creating a school project. He used personal savings for expensive supplies. His dreams had guided him, and mentors had praised him. He was ambitious and driven. He asked for constant prayer. “Mom, please pray for this part,” and “Mom, please ask God to be in this. I know it’s from Him.” I prayed for him every day, sometimes twice, a few times even more. He prayed enthusiastically, himself. I prayed for his hands, his mind and his heart. This was important to him.
He became exhausted, even as an energy-filled teenager, having poured months into this project. After a stretch of time of long hours devoted to his endeavor, he left the project and tended to another commitment for a day. He returned the following day to find his project destroyed.
It was one of those times when a parent wants to take over for God. My concern was that he would shun fervent prayer in the future, that his faith would take a major hit. I was afraid to hear, “Prayer didn’t work, Mom.” Instead he was befuddled, “But Mom, we prayed every step, we gave it all to God. God gave me so many ideas. I know He was in this, but it’s over. WHY?”
This wasn’t just a project in the spiritual realm, I knew. The enemy was fighting to make a cynic of my son.
What happened next was something only God can do. In a different situation, a few months later, an entire new project sprung up out of nowhere. It was expertly staffed and generously funded. My son was invited into the project. Supportive and cooperative peers came on the scene and worked alongside him. Even though he was new on the scene, he was given the position of management of the project. The experience has been profoundly enriching. Onlookers would say the whole project is charmed. Those of us who have prayed behind the scenes know it is blessed. My son is blessed to be at the right place at the right time to be part of a terrific experience that will give him lifelong skills and memories. Prayer puts us in the right place at the right time.
Each prayer, each praise, every “thank you” enriches the growth of the crop so that when the harvest comes, it’s abundant.
If you want what you do to have heavenly significance, then pray. Pray is key to eternal productivity. John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” Jesus has appointed you to bear lasting fruit! Whatever you ask in my name can also be worded whatever you pray.
Lasting fruit comes from prayer. Jesus is saying, “Your task is to produce significant fruit for God. Here’s how it goes; when you pray in my name, God will give you what you ask for. This will provide all you need to produce that lasting fruit.” It’s simple and it’s an amazing promise. But we have to ask, we have to pray. Oftentimes we forget the prayer part. The result is fruitlessness, or fruit that fades. Without prayer, we can be fruitless and frustrated. With abundant prayer, we marvel as the harvest comes in.
Luke 1:37 says, “ For nothing will be impossible with God.” When you find yourself in an impossible situation, take those first steps with Him in prayer. When the impossibility looms large, pray. When frustration and fear press down, pray. When grief and condemnation overwhelm you, pray. Pray with others, pray with those who live righteous, God-centered lives. Immerse yourself in His promises through Scripture and trust that He is faithful to fulfill them. When the rains settle, watch the fruit from your prayers ripen and then reap your harvest. Then with thanksgiving, praise Him for His goodness, and for hearing and answering each and every prayer!