Prayer: My Story (Part 3)

21 Days of Prayer — January 13 to February 3
This month we are featuring interviews with SunRidgers highlighting their understanding and perspectives on prayer…

Cindy’s Story

Who introduced you to prayer and how has your prayer life grown and changed over the years?

August 1979 - my now (not then) friend Reina. She had just days before confronted me with the challenging, life changing question “who is in control of your life anyways?” to which I replied “I am - of course!”…. and her famous retort, which got me to reevaluate everything I did not know about “surrender”: “you’re not doing a very good job of that are you?!?!” SHE prayed OUT LOUD in the Minneapolis airport as she came to say goodbye to me as I returned to live in the “tundra” of Grande Prairie AB. I now, take great joy in praying for, and with people “out loud” in a variety of life’s places and situations.

If someone were to ask you why you pray, what would you say?

Because Jesus taught us HOW, because He and the “faith fathers” of all time prayed… because I need to “talk to God”, it centers and grounds my wayward spirit and mind, and ultimately can change my otherwise “self led” actions & decisions.

What are you learning about prayer?

Spend MORE time in adoration (focus on WHO God is), confession and thanksgiving for all He has already done and is doing in and around my life. And less time on supplication. I am also enjoying returning to a practice of using the Psalms to guide my prayers for myself and others. I love being reminded how the the details of the situations, or crisis, in the Old Testament which resulted in many of the Psalms being written, didn’t CHANGE a whole lot - particularly right away. Yet the Psalms do NOT forsake continuing to persevere to acknowledge who God is and a total surrender to Him in spite of circumstances.

Why do you think it is important to gather and pray together as a community?

Praying with and being prayed for by loving brothers and sisters in the faith is a privilege and a great blessing - particularly when a situation is so stressful or challenging, that I (or others ) are stuck with how to pray it through. It also gives us the added blessing to watch for, see and proclaim the various ways God has heard and responded to the prayers of His people!

 
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Norm’s Story

Who introduced you to prayer and how has your prayer life grown and changed over the years?

I would have to say that I was “introduced” to prayer by the pastor of the first church I ever intentionally attended. His name is Del McKenzie and it was during his ministry in Grande Prairie, Alberta that I came to faith. His deep command of the truths of scripture and his gracious manner in dealing with sinners, such as myself, drew me, along with the Holy Spirit of course, to make a profession of faith.


As far as my prayer life growing - I think it more accurate to say my prayer life has evolved (Can a Christian not be considered a heretic using that word?) more than anything. My early prayer life centered around what I wanted and not on what God wanted for me. Throwing up a laundry list of “To Do’s/Wants” has changed into a broader view of my circle of influence and the needs of others within that sphere. I would certainly hope that through prayer, for others and their needs, I’ve become more empathetic toward other people instead of being so “black and white” as during my early Christian years.


If someone were to ask you why you pray, what would you say?

Prayer allows me to have time alone with God in a way that enables me to quiet myself and hear from Him in a way not experienced during the rest of my day. I have discovered that the Sovereign LORD truly does control this world we live in. He, and He alone, can and does do things man cannot and will never be capable of regardless of our “enlightenment”. He tells us that He listens and that He desires to hear from His children. Being in close relationship with God gives purpose to life this side of eternity.


What are you learning about prayer?

Maybe I’ve mentioned some of that in my previous answers?? Learning is or should be a lifelong process. Maybe some of us are just slow learners! Anyway - that list of slow learners includes me. Because of time with God I am learning how self-centered my life often is and how close to the surface my sin always is. When I contemplate the character traits of God I am humbled by comparison. And that is one of the things He most desires of His children… that we act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him. Humility is most needed in me and I pray that through continual time with the Lord, in prayerful conversation, He will continue giving me a heart transplant that brings glory to Him.


Why do you think it is important to gather and pray together as a community?

By doing so Christians not only bear witness to the early church but as believers gather together and pray they become aware of the needs of those around them. Our small group time is such a blessing in that regard. There is nothing like corporate prayer to unite a group of people!