(from brothers and sisters around the world).
Last week I had the stunning privilege of talking to a group of international guests and asking them to teach me what God was teaching them about prayer.
The first to respond was a lady from a communist country where the church is “underground.” She said that in 1975 all Christian work was stopped by the government. “We prayed because we couldn’t do anything but pray. What we learned is that as we prayed whole tribes would come down from the mountains wanting to worship/looking for Jesus.
One man just walked circles around the tribe that was on his heart. He just walked and prayed.” She summarized by saying, “Tell God what you want. Tell Him what is on your heart and then thank Him.”
Another guest told of his experience visiting South Korea. He said, “There are armies of believers that pray every hour of every day.” He told of a place in Indonesia where after one hour the people who are praying are told they must leave. That is because the place only holds 25,000 and there is another 25,000 outside waiting to get in and pray. This guest talked about a special dynamic that is evidenced when people come together in prayer. He said that it must be “travailing” prayer. When asked how these prayer meetings were structured he said, “No one is in charge. People just come and go as they can. They just come to pray.”
Then a guest from another part of the world talked about his mentor who prayed and fasted one day each week and also 40 days each year. This man, who heads up a large mission work, has hired someone to pray 24 hours a day. He is called the “watchman at the gate.” This country has genocide in its history. Healing has to take place before intercession can begin. The leaders watch first for healing, which empowers forgiveness. Intercession is being organized throughout the whole country.
The next person to contribute said, with passion, “Prayer is whatever happens in your relationship with God. Sometimes in the relationship you will have to use words, as well.” He went on to explain, “If I say I am in a relationship with God and I don’t miss prayer than I have to ask if I really am in a relationship?” He further explained, “Prayer is not just conversation, it is submitting to whatever your situation is. If what we teach about prayer does not become a part of our lives it is boring.”
The following comments were made randomly but with intensity:
“The best time of prayer for me is when I am washing dishes. I choose to wash the dishes and clean the kitchen because it is a job no one else wants to do and it gives me time alone with God.”
“In the early church collective prayer is described. The disciples were devoted to prayer as a group. God was always after the group. He loves to see his people together. The community that prays together has power. He then conceded that there are certain times when private/alone time with God is important. He concluded by warning not to measure prayer by what happens in a large worship service on a Sunday morning.”
“Don’t put all the burden of prayer on a Sunday Prayer Service. There needs to be a balance between structure and freedom. Freedom of expression in prayer is meant for small groups. Prayer is being in communication with God.”
We then heard from a physician who talked about prayer for a struggling hospital. She said they prayed in anguish, “O Lord, show us what do.” Prayer needs to continue until you see a breakthrough. Prayer is prompted by a burden. Ask God to give you a burden. Group prayer is prompted as you transparently share the burden. “Lord, you have given us this burden…”
The next guest began with a question. “Why are 90% of those who pray women?” He finally got the answer he was looking for, “Because women are more relational and prayer is a relationship.” “It is also an acknowledgment of weakness.” He talked about a radical transformation in his own life when he recognized that prayer is not about getting God’s stuff. It’s about getting God. It is about tapping into the Supernatural Himself. “We are dependent on the Holy Spirit to teach us”. When I asked him to talk about praise and prayer he said they were conjoined twin sisters.
A concluding comment came from a guest who referenced the story in Acts which tells of evangelists arriving in Europe sent from a small group of women praying.
I am so grateful for this time with these international guests. I will ponder these thoughts. I want to stop writing now and pray.
Reflections by Roselyn 10/30/12