The loud music ended, the lights came up, everyone sat down, and the pastor walked to mid-stage.
Oh good, another person I don’t know, I thought as an unfamiliar man stood behind the pulpit during a season of rotating pastors at my church.
I quickly realized that I was about to let the enemy take over my mind before the sermon even began. That happens so easily, doesn’t it? Maybe the music wasn’t great that day. Maybe the kids were at their worst as you tried to get everyone out the door on time. Maybe your husband snapped at you. Maybe a tall guy sat in front of you and now you can’t see anything. #shortgirlproblems
Maybe there’s a new pastor every Sunday and you just want some familiarity.
Whatever it is - Satan is always trying to get in there on Sunday morning and distract you from God’s Word! And that's exactly what was happening to me in that moment.
The unfamiliar pastor got up there and started talking about the “power of prayer”.
We hear it so often that it starts to lose its meaning sometimes, right? But it was exactly what I needed to hear and I’m so glad God quickly convicted me to let go of the enemy’s distractions and listen with an open heart.
The pastor reminded me a few things, like:
1. If our prayer isn’t answered immediately, we think it didn’t work. Or God wasn’t listening…
...but His ways are not our ways and His timing is not our timing. The BEST things happen when we trust Him, not our own understanding.
2. Prayer helps us weather the storms…
...because Jesus is an overcomer! He assures us that we will have trouble in this world but ALSO that He's overcome the world!
3. The original intention for prayer was simply a conversation with God. Adam and Eve spoke to God in the Garden of Eden, and they had no problems, fears, or worries! They simply conversed with him.
The sermon really encouraged me to evaluate my prayer life and how well I’m conversing with God… is it all complaints and requests? Am I remembering to throw some gratitude in there too? Am I praying for others as much as myself?
My kids recently learned in church that J.O.Y. is a great way to remember how to pray -- J for Jesus, O for others, Y for yourself. That’s all you need! Just start talking to God with J.O.Y. in mind.
It always helps me to remember that I can do that any time I want to. We don't have to save prayer for dinnertime, bedtime, or Sunday mornings at church. I feel so much closer to God when I talk to Him all throughout my day. Washing dishes? Whisper some prayers. Brushing teeth? Time for prayers. Driving your kids all over creation? Prayer time!
How’s your prayer life lately? Hopefully this encouraged you to take a look at your prayers as well!