why i pray

Prayer: My Story (Part 4)

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

Rachael’s Story

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

My parents introduced me to prayer when I was really young and I was quite comfortable talking to God on my own. I felt free to a continuous dialogue with Him and certainly had a lot to say. I felt like I could talk to Jesus like a friend.


We were Mormon and the out-loud prayers were more of a scripted prayer and I often felt uncomfortable praying out loud because I was embarrassed to say something incorrectly--especially at church or with my grandparents. There was a lot of pressure to have the right words and tone! It is likely I put this on myself…I do that.


When we left the Mormon church (age 6ish) it was quite upsetting and did not feel comfortable praying anymore. Our lives changed for a lot of reasons and I believed terrible things were happening because we left and I felt ashamed to pray. It is hard to explain what that is like other than a darkened quiet...I don't know, maybe that sounds too dramatic. It was quite confusing. My parents and I eventually became Christians but there was a long road to actually get there and we didn’t all get there at the same time. There are so many reasons why praying was such a complex issue for me as a newer believer (that I obviously won’t get into in this questionnaire!) but I no longer feel ashamed to pray and feel much closer to God for it. The dialogue with God throughout the day is how I get through difficult days and find joy in those and the other ones.



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

I pray because I believe that God wants to hear from me and cares about what I care about. -Praying helps me sort out what is going on in my head.

What are you learning about prayer?

  • Praying is really quite simple.

  • Thanking God throughout the day has helped me to have a more grateful heart.

  • Praying like I did as a child makes me feel closer to God so I no longer complicate my praying...I just talk.

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

Praying as a group is not something that has come naturally to me. I much prefer to pray on my own but the older I get the more comfortable I am with it (not that I think I have to be comfortable all the time). It has only been in the last 4 or 5 years that I have been okay closing my eyes in public so I think this has a lot to do with it. I know...it is really weird… The solidarity of gathering to pray and caring for the people in our community and what they care about is something I understand though.


Matthew 18:20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

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!

Prayer: My Story (Part 2)

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

Charley’s Story

Who introduced you to prayer and how has your prayer life grown and changed over the years?
I grew up going to Sunday School, and my earliest memories of prayer are of acronyms to prompt and remind us how/what to pray and making crafts to go along with it - like writing TSP (Thank-You, Sorry, Please) on a teaspoon and wearing ALL the bracelets with the letters WWJD (what would Jesus do), FROG (fully rely on God) and PUSH (pray until something happens) :-)

I still find prompts helpful, as I often find it hard to pray anything when the busy-ness of life makes it hard to create that quiet space to come before God, but I have upgraded from Teaspoons to using other books/devos - my favourite by far is Celtic Daily Prayer - it helps me follow a regular rhythm of prayer in quiet moments carved out for that, but also reminds me not to miss spontaneous opportunities for praise/thanksgiving/requests/anything else that can be lifted up in prayer.

If someone were to ask you why you pray, what would you say?
There’s three answers for this that I wish I could give at the same time because they’re all equal contributors to why I pray - I pray because life doesn’t make sense without it and I need to - in both the praise moments and the struggle moments. I pray because God asks us to communicate with him and he loves it when we come to him. I pray because supporting those around me and being supported by those around me in prayer has been invaluable.

What are you learning about prayer?
It took me a long time to be sure of myself in how I pray, and have confidence that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to pray. I have heard God in the still quiet moments I intentionally create, and I have heard God in the crazy-ness of leading a kids church creative prayer activity - I love that prayer can be and is in all of those different moments, no matter how we pray silently/out loud/by reading scripture/by singing praise or any other way.

Why do you think it is important to gather and pray together as a community?
In every area of society we learn from others and the church is no different - our children learn from us. Our friends newly introduced to faith learn from us. To praise alongside friends in celebration, and to cry out alongside friends in desperate places is something that has no comparable alternative in building community and pressing into relationship with God as One. There is power in community, and we are missing out on something if we don’t gather and pray together.

 

Nelson’s Story

Who introduced you to prayer and how has your prayer life grown and changed over the years?
I don’t remember who introduced me to prayer; it was probably in Sunday School, or private school Kindergarten, or my dad. I remember it being a formulaic thing, more of a chant or incantation that you said before certain activities (like before eating or a long road trip). I think as I got a bit older it expanded to being able to ask for things based on unwanted circumstances - like health for a sick family member. When I became a Christian in my late teenage years, I learned that prayer was more of a conversational awareness of God, that he was a friend you could talk to, and it was about more than just asking for things. Now I view it as a way to process thoughts and feelings with God, bring concerns before him, to repent and reorient my heart, and to acknowledge/praise him and his attributes.

If someone were to ask you why you pray, what would you say?
Largely as a “sounding board” but also largely in order to change the world around me. John Piper paraphrased the passage, “ask and you will receive; you do not receive because you do not ask” in a way that has stuck with me. He said of this verse that it is like God is saying, “if you had only asked me, I would have made the universe different” and that stuck with me.

Do you think it is important to gather and pray together as a community?
Yes, for two reasons. 1. Bringing our prayers to each other to bring before God helps build strong relationships and communities, because those require vulnerability and trust. 2. Scripture seems to imply that if more people are praying for something, God maybe more inclined to answer than if less people were praying for it.