Good morning everyone. Have you ever been in any situations where you felt you needed prayer but you were afraid to bother anyone about it? I address that question especially to my students this morning who are only now starting to realize that prayer is much more than a thing we say over a meal and at bed time. For many of us it is our first reaction to situations, for ourselves or for others. These are those emergency prayers that we pray and walk away from. Consider those "accident scene" prayers. As we mature we begin to realize that there is much more to this thing we call prayer then what we first understood.
The basis of prayer is our conversation with our heavenly Father about the matters on our heart. It should be considered a conversation to grasp the greater depth of our Father's heart, doing more than just getting things off your chest. A good consistent prayer habit draws us closer to our Father as any conversation draws us closer to the person with whom we are communicating. Some people would say it is one sided but I never find it is. The Spirit responds to my heart with assurances and often answers by focusing my thoughts, ideas, and direction. He always uses Scripture to respond to me, speaking to me by bringing verses to my mind. Of course this requires that I have hidden the Word in my heart in the first place. For me personally he often places random references in my mind, causing me to look them up. Often he takes me to odd places but always speaks clearly to the situation. We must also realize that pray releases action. As we pray for people and situations our Father takes action. Our words are not just words but they cause a release in the spiritual realm changing realities in our world. It is not magic but instead relationship. For some reason our Father has tied his action into our prayers. By us praying we are requesting that he will take the action he has already determined to take but was waiting to be asked. According to the Scriptures, especially looking at Abraham and Moses, in our conversation with our Father we can actually change his will. That is amazing to think about.
Understanding this then we can understand that our prayers can be more effective if we have a better than "accident scene" approach to them. Yes, there are occasions when we will only get an opportunity to pray once but most of the time we will need to provide a "covering" prayer in the attitude of our approach. This means that we will cover the person or the situation with our prayers daily, perhaps even more often, as the Spirit prompts. It is always what I look for from people for our school and our students: a covering of prayer. This is also what Paul was asking from the Thessalonians:
Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)
Paul was asking them to pray for the success of the ministry as well as protection for them in that ministry. Paul knew what many Christian workers discover after a period of experience, prayer is more precious than gold. Physical support is good and necessary but so is a group of believers who commit themselves to covering you in prayer. Students, if you want to meet with success then find a small group of people who will dedicate themselves to covering you daily and communicate often to them your needs. Businessmen, moms, labourers, ministers, teachers, whoever you are or whatever you do, find people who will pray for you daily. Also be willing to take on a number of people to cover, and make sure that list includes your pastor or pastoral team and anyone who has any spiritual responsibility over you.
Do not leave prayer to emergency situations but make is a purposeful part of your ministry. Put some thought into it. Take on prayer projects. Remind people you are praying and keep in touch with those who are covering you. Make lists of what you are covering, who you are covering and who is covering you. Keep a journal. Develop this and you will see your connection with the Father develop at the same time. You will learn his heart for people and he will use you mightily. Bottom line, just don't tell people you will pray, do it and do it with purpose. Let's cover each other because there is evil present in this world and we all need protection from its effects. Pray for me and let me know you are praying. Let me know that you want to be covered as well and for what, and I will cover you. Together we will serve our Father in a dying world, shoulder to shoulder. To God be the glory.