I must say that for me personally, speaking about prayer is rather humbling. Somehow I don’t feel qualified to do this. I am not a theologian. I haven’t studied this topic for a committed length of time. I don’t really consider myself a prayer warrior. Nor do others walk around saying, “That Katie. She is a prayer warrior!”
I believe in the power of prayer.
Prayer is a constant in my faith walk, but it has fleshed itself out in a variety ways over the years. Sometimes I journal my prayers. Other times praying in small groups has grown my prayer walk. And there are times, specifically right now in my current stage of life, my prayer has been more of a prayer in motion. I find myself saying short but necessary prayers throughout the day to get me from one moment to the next. So maybe it is the fluctuation of the prayer medium that makes me feel less like a warrior and more like a flip-flopper.
As I have prepared myself for this morning, and as I continue to search for God’s heart on the matter of prayer, one thing is certain.
He has me captivated.
I want to know more–more about who He is and why He longs to hear my voice. It’s not because He needs to know what’s going on in our lives. Instead, He desires a relationship. He wants us to know Him and approach Him in a real and genuine way.
This is where it starts, ladies. When we have this captivated perspective, we begin to feel more at-home with prayer.
Our theme for the year is derived out of John 15:5-8 where Jesus speaks to the disciples in a very intimate moment:
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
These words from Jesus describe the ideal relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father. This is a relationship that is characterized by:
- lingering or abiding with God
- bearing fruit
- communication, asking of God
- making Him known simply by the way we live
It is also good also to notice a little bit of background. John 15 is a portion of an intimate moment that Jesus has with the disciples shortly before His crucifixion. The complete thought starts in John 13 and goes through chapter 17. It is often referred to as The Upper Room. This moment begins with partaking of the Lord’s Supper, taking communion, and ends in chapter 17 with Jesus praying.
I would like to shift our focus to John 17 because one of the best ways to grow our prayer life is to learn from the Master–the God who designed prayer for us. Through the prayer of Jesus we get a closer look at how to pray and also a closer look at the heart of genuine prayer.
This prayer is organized into three sections. First, He first reflects on the Father and Himself. Then, Jesus reflects on His work and acknowledges that He has done what God has asked of Him. Finally, He moves on to praying for the disciples. He asks that God would protect and sanctify them and then prays for all believers to come throughout the generations.
This structure guides us more toward a clarity in how we should pray. What has me captivated most, though, is the heart of Jesus as he prays. Even though the crucifixion is on the horizon, and Jesus knows this, His prayer is mainly for others, not Himself. We read in John 17, starting in verse 13:
“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
What did Jesus petition for the disciples? He asked God to give them complete joy even amidst the hardships that come with living in the world. He wanted them to have a joy made full. He also prayed for protection, to keep them from Satan, the evil one. Lastly He prayed for their purity, that they would obtain a renewed soul that comes from knowing God’s word.
Verse 17 really resonates with me, “Sanctify them in truth. Your word is truth.” It stands out as the solution to living a life above our circumstances. When we know and receive God’s Word, it has the power to cleanse and renew our soul. We become captivated by who He is. We will want to linger in His presence because we know who He is. Our prayers become authentic and genuine. We can begin to see life and others through God’s lens. Setting our focus on the truth found in God’s Word brings us to a place where we will feel at home in prayer.
We want to help foster authentic prayer here at Equip Her on Tuesday mornings. One of the main ways we do this is by dedicating time each morning to gather into small prayer groups. Your group is a safe place where you can connect with other women and encourage each other in prayer. Another prayer tool is our Legacy of Prayer journal. We use this journal as another way to help focus our prayers upward, inward and outward. Copies of the journal will be given to those women new to Equip Her. They will be handed out in class.
What are some tangible ways that we can abide with Christ in prayer beyond the events of Tuesday morning? Feeling at-home in prayer means that this is something that seeps into our lives when we are not at church. Starting in October we are going to provide a monthly prayer verse. This verse will be a truth from God’s Word that is guaranteed to renew your soul on any given day. My desire is that we would begin to let His truth seep into all the moments of our day. That we begin to pray these verses over our lives. There are two ways to engage with this verse.
- Use the prayer verse frame (given to you at Equip Her). Place this frame in a spot that you frequent: i.e. by your kitchen sink, on your nightstand, in your work space.
- Download the prayer verse graphic. The monthly prayer verse has been designed into an image that you can set as a wallpaper or lockscreen for cell phones. Click on the image to download.