When my people pray…
Marantha beloved! Welcome all to our inaugural weekly article where thoughts, inspirations, experiences from the Word of God, day to day experiences and testimonies from others will be shared with an aim of deriving faith-building spiritual lessons for the edification of all.
For ten consecutive days, 8th to 18th January this year, the Adventist family teamed up all over the world with one aim and purpose: To seek God’s Spirit through prayer. I was privileged to be one of the speakers in a certain church and admittedly God’s presence was evident in all our undertakings. As Taj Pacleb has proclaimed in the past, With Jesus behind you, the Spirit within you, the Word beneath you, and the people before you, there is power that works through you that shakes the world and enlarges heaven. One could witness both young and old, male and female flocking the church every evening, offering heartfelt prayers to their Maker and even more humbling, interceding on behalf of others. The final experience that remains indelibly printed in my mind was when all members stood around the fireplace, burning the prayer box which contained all our prayer requests. Indeed, it was an act of faith similar to the High Priest’s practice of burning incense in the sanctuary of old.
Though many do not know how much prayer can accomplish or how important it is, listen to how Bill Hybels in his popular book puts it:’’ I often wonder what would transpire if every Christ-follower got serious about installing solid prayer practices into their lives. What kind of kingdom gains do you suppose would be made if each of us made pressing into God through prayer a nonnegotiable part of our everyday experience? I believe hearts would soften. Habits would shift. Faith would expand. Love for the poor would increase. Positive, purposeful legacies would be built. And a ravenous hunger would rumble through us all to get usable and to get used in significant ways by the one true God.’’ 1 Then like the Psalmist we would sing: God! My God! It’s you— I search for you! My whole being thirsts for you! My body desires you in a dry and tired land, no water anywhere.2
During the ten days of prayer, something remarkable happened to me. I agreed to volunteer myself as a minister over the days of prayer even though I was unsure of the possibility of daily attendance. Having been assigned to a church along the ever busy Waiyaki Way meant leaving the workplace as early as possible before traffic builds up. However, being at the office always is not always possible due to the nature of our work. Rather mostly, we are at the client’s place working from there. It so happened that the first day found me unexpectedly working in Athi River. Coming back to Nairobi was a challenge and unfortunately I could not make it to church on time to the disappointment of many.
Nevertheless, from the second day onwards, God enabled me to plan the day’s work and arrived on time. It then happened that as from the second week (day 6-10), work was scheduled to be in Karen, about 20 kilometers from the church of my attendance. Tempted to despair, I remembered my favorite verses in the Bible concerning prayer: Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.3 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.4
Offering my petitions to God asking Him to make a way out, I purposed to confidently approach the senior whom we would accompany in that assignment. My request to her would be that she allows me leave an hour earlier for whole week so that I would arrive in church on time. It was a tall order but hope and faith urged me on. And then a miracle happened. God had gone before me and made a way. On the day I was supposed to face the senior armed with my request, to my amazement, I realized that my name had been scrapped off from the list of people going for the assignment in Karen with someone else replacing me. This meant that my station would be in the office thus easier convenience getting to church every evening. This was a clear indication of God’s approval of my attendance to do His work. All went well till the week ended. What a great way it is to begin the year with an assurance of God’s working, leading and bidding. I have come to learn this: It is our responsibility to listen to His call, moving forward by faith to follow His promptings despite incessant pleas from others not to. It is God’s responsibility to take care of the consequences of our choices.
There is nothing too big or too small that you cannot offer to God through prayer. Up to now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive so that your joy will be complete.5 What do you desire that the Lord does for you this year? Is it success in your ministry, a breakthrough in your employment or business or perhaps you desire to excel in your studies, find a God-given soulmate, experience peace and love in your family? Nothing will be accomplished unless you learn the art of prayer. As Ellen White reminds us, it is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.6 God says to us again today; Great things will only happen when my people pray.
- Bill Hybels, Too busy NOT to Pray: Slowing Down to be with God
- Psalms 63:1 CEB
- Matt 21:22 MSG
- Philippians 4:6-7 MSG
- John 16:24 CEB
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy pg. 525