Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Body in Prayer

Prayer seems to be on my mind.  Whether it was the conversation about politics that began this or the awareness that I will be talking about prayer in a month with a young adults group, I am not sure.  Whatever the reason, this post is one of a number of prayer experiences I will be sharing with you over the next month or so.  I'm praying that you will be encouraged and maybe even challenged by it.  I still am.


I slip into the CSM, a few minutes late, and pull out my catch-all notebook and the green pen. 

She is talking about the Holy Spirit tabernacling inside of us, teaching about Ephesians 1 and the “great power of those who believe.” She is talking about the power of prayer by weaving together a number of concepts about opening our hearts to the Spirit of God. 

As I listen, I know that this woman practices what she preaches. 

I heard her pray on Sunday, during worship and she is a vessel of God’s power in prayer.  When she lifted up her voice, in blessing and petition, the energy was palpable.  I was drawn in by the power of her simple prayer and toward the heart of God.  When they announced that she and her South African team would be leading three days of prayer in the morning, I was determined to go. 

Now I am here, listening and gleaning from her wisdom. 

She talks about how prayer is like a radio tuner.  We have to find the right frequency—to tune in and listen to what God wants to say to us.  Prayer is just as much about listening for the voice of God as it is about talking to him.

We listen so that we can pray in spirit and in truth.

We pray in line with the word of God.

She invites all of us who have gathered to form groups of four or five; and for a South African to join each group.  We are going to pray together for leaders. 

I find a few women nearby and we make a colorful bunch.  We are a group of women all of different ages, colors and countries of origin.  I am delighted.

We begin to pray, one woman at a time, for leaders in the church, of the country, for parents and businesses.  We murmur in assent as we voice our cries to God and I stay quiet listening for the Spirit.  Our South African sister begins to pray.  She starts slow.  Yet, her prayer is fervent and powerful.  It is sure.  There is assurance that what is asked will be heard, and because it is in line with Scripture and seeking the kingdom of God there is a realization that these prayers will be answered. 

As I listen to her, I realize that we Americans have been praying sincere and calm.  Yet, our requests almost seem timid next to hers.  However, by her words she lifts up the body of our prayer in a way that leads and guides and teaches in a gentle and confident manner.  She leads and we learn.

Our group begins to pray with more authority.  I hear it in our voices and I am surprised.  Our prayer is building as we listen for the Spirit and lift up our prayers.  We go back and forth from one woman to another, like a beautiful dance.  The words trickle from our lips in a song of praise and petition.  We are experiencing the “great power of the those who believe.”  Inside my heart, I am surprised to find that I am atremble with joy, or the spirit, or maybe just the cold of the ever-chilly Crossroads air-conditioning.  I’m not quite sure.  I just know that it is beautiful.

Our prayer comes to a close, as our voices quiet. 

Across the room, one of the South Africans lifts up a joyous tune of praise.  I listen as one-by-one the others join in a song of a different language.  The shared song of these people knits together each group that has been praying, including my own, into one body.  The beautiful harmony of praise is one that my voice could not possibly utter, but the language is one that my spirit joins in singing now. 

We are a family of God from around the world and my heart swells in joyful awe. 

I am almost sure of it.  This is one of those special moments, a taste of what it will be like before the throne, singing praise to a holy God.

"Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise."  James 5: 13 


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we practice prayer together with other believers.  May we find ourselves learning from those whose prayer muscles are strong.  May we find that we become united in heart by opening our hearts together, to listen and respond, to a good God.  May we experience the joyful hearts of praise and leave refreshed by Him.

Jessica :)

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