“There’s nothing we can do but pray”. (Please don’t stop here, keep reading!)
As the term draws to a close (we are almost there!), I look back and see how God has been moving in my life this term. I have learnt a great deal about God and His character through the various ups and downs of term, but my main takeaway in response to the quote above is this: Prayer is the best thing you can do!
In the past year, I have had the privilege to hear from great speakers on the topic of prayer and delve deep into prayer myself with other passionate people. In Easter 2020, the CCCF started a weekly prayer meeting that has been hugely encouraging – a time to submit big and small things to God alongside other Christians. Throughout Student Nights in HT this term, we have been studying the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) in detail, all the way from “Our Father in Heaven” to “deliver us from the evil one”. Just last week, we also heard amazing testimonies from YWAM, and how God has been moving in the hearts of His people all around the world, spurred by the prayers of faithful disciples. Yet after all I have heard and learnt, sometimes I wonder: is this all for real? Does God really move when I pray?
Even though I doubt sometimes, I draw encouragement from the promises God has given in the Scriptures: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7); “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14); “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). The list goes on! In the Old testament and the New, the Bible is full of evidence of God’s desire for relationship with us, and it compels us, as His creation, to trust Him.
My question now is: how do these promises apply in my life? Do I believe that God still hears me now? This term, God has been teaching me to recognise His works in my life. Practical things like writing down my prayer points, sharing my prayer points with an accountability group/partner, and giving thanks when prayers are answered; these things have opened my eyes, and I am starting to see that crazy answered prayers are not for special people, but that He is doing crazy little things in my life too. One day, I felt nudged to pray for a friend just before I was to meet her for a walk. Specifically, I felt that God was reassuring me that He would use me as His vessel to share His love, and that the topic of faith would come up in our conversation. Guess what: my friend started to talk about faith, and we ended up having a really good chat! Another day during term, my computer broke down, and along with it my mental capacity and emotions. My prayer that day was full of anger and confusion: should I be praying that God fix my computer miraculously, and will He? The next day, God blessed me with wisdom to fix my computer, and beyond that, He gave me a story of His goodness and faithfulness that I can now share. Of course, it is not every day that God answers my prayers in my time in the way I want Him to. Often, He works in His time and in His way, but I think it is cool how God pays so much attention to the smallest things, reminding me that He is intimately involved in my life. I have found it such a joy to communicate with a loving God through prayer!
From surrendering our fears to interceding for our friends, prayer takes so little but means so much. I pray that we will each find that space where we can be in communion with God and talk freely with Him. Whether it is praying for the little things in life, or lamenting about and praying for global justice, I hope we will come to know the God who loves to chat with us, the God who listens and works in His time, for our good.