a church of prayer

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!

 
Norm.JPG

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!

When Everyone Was In On It

Is anyone still surprised that time flies? We comment on it repeatedly as if it suddenly sped up: “Can you believe it is the middle of October?” Actually, I can’t believe it! How can it be the middle of October already?!

I find myself looking at the day and all the hours in it and then suddenly there are no more hours and I have hardly made a dent in all that needed to be done. That is sobering isn’t it? I think in the larger picture, it is even more disquieting. Not only do I want to make a dent on my list but more importantly, I want to make a dent in life. I want to accomplish some things of significance; I especially want to live with significance.

And yet in all this chasing, the very thing, the key, I rush past. Do you?

D. L. Moody once said, “Next to the wonder of seeing my Saviour will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.”

There’s a life regret. I am so thankful for this mentor from the past who urges us in the present to do better!

There was a time when people really understood the place of prayer. I am not saying they did this perfectly, but there was a time when people did not brush past it. In the first chapter of Luke, for example, we read how “all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.” Community Prayer was a familiar and urgent practice.

In some ways, I think prayer has become awkward in the way that talking has become awkward. With our cellphones attached to our eyeballs, we don’t need to say words out-loud. Why was praying together once so natural and now so foreign, I wonder?

Jeremiah 6:16 calls out to us!

This is what the LORD says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is,
and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'…”

Ouch.

We must get back to praying together, because the Lord our God has called His house to be a house of prayer.

We have pre-service prayer at 9 am every Sunday in the portable. It is not an adequate amount of prayer for a church who doesn’t just want to be a church WITH prayer but a church OF prayer, but it is something we are stubborn about getting right; would you come and be stubborn with us?

We do our best to make prayer user friendly — written out prayers for those who want this, easy to follow instructions, creative approaches, we change things up so it doesn’t get “old”.

We do our best to make prayer user friendly — written out prayers for those who want this, easy to follow instructions, creative approaches, we change things up so it doesn’t get “old”.

If you are new to this, don’t be anxious. No one prays really well; can any of our homemade words impress God? We are all learning at pre-service prayer so we do our best to make prayer user friendly. Prayer is just ordinary words from ordinary people that God does extraordinary things with, but if you are concerned about your ordinary words, we also provide a “Prayer Assistant” with prayers you can read until you see that your plain words are just fine.

Got kids? We don’t even mind for a second the noise they make. We can pray louder.

Wouldn’t be amazing if everyone was in on prayer so that we would need to find more and more times to accommodate more and more people who wanted to pray?

“Then if my people who are called by my name
will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sins
and restore their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

There are some “ancient paths” we need to get back to in order to walk the path ahead. John Wesley once said, “God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.” Let’s not let time just fly, let’s grab it and stop and pray together and see what God will do.

*Photo credit: Faith Peters

Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen