COVID pandemic. Wow! This virus which was unknown until recent days has changed our daily life. It has an impact on everything we do. ‘Did you bring your mask?’ ‘Did you check to see if this business is still open?’ ‘Did you make a reservation for church?’ All of these questions and many more reflect our new reality.
Yet, all that COVID has brought has not been negative. This new reality has also caused us to have new schedules that, for the most part, have given us more time to think, reflect, and remember. To remember is ‘to call back to mind what we once knew.’ For every believer, the importance and priority of prayer is something we have always known. But for many of us, we have had days where the busy-ness of a filled schedule has squeezed out prayer or reduced it to a last resort, used only when we have exhausted ourselves.
During these pandemic days, I’ve had the opportunity to stop and remember much. A renewed excitement about the opportunity to pray has been sweet. Reflecting over those times where the Lord has answered prayers in ways that were amazing and miraculous has brought a renewed joy and excitement about prayer. Praying through this current season and for what lies ahead reminds me of my hope in Christ in all things.
Three Truths to Remember About Prayer
The excitement and motivation to pray has grown for me as I have reflected on a few things about prayer; that prayer is a privilege, an opportunity, and a lifestyle.
First, prayer is a privilege made possible by the sacrificial work of Christ. A privilege is defined as ‘a special right’ or ‘a special honor.’ When we engage in prayer, we have the privilege of entering into the presence of God in a special way; that way, the ONLY way, is through our Redeeming Savior, Jesus Christ Who is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (Jn. 14:6). We pray in His Name as He has broken down the veil through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and life-giving resurrection which makes our opportunity of praying possible. Through Him we have been given access to the very Throne of Grace so that we might ‘find our source of help in time of need’ (Heb. 4:16).
Second, prayer is an opportunity to join our Father with what He is doing. He is accomplishing His purposes and gives us the opportunity to join Him. Oftentimes we have no idea what God is up to, or if we do, we have no idea how He may work to accomplish His will. That is exciting!!!
Several years ago, my husband and I were part of the startup of a multicultural church in the deep south. When we started the church, we knew that to really make a long-term impact, we needed to start a school. The resources to start and sustain a school are tremendous. The church started and grew and was solid, and time came to start the school. We prayed and God answered in ways we could not think or imagine. He moved on the heart of an individual who was not converted at the time but through an amazing story this gentleman and his wife reached out to us and heard our vision and need and wrote the check to provide the necessary funding to make the school happen. And the BEST part of the story is that this gentleman came to Christ in the process! This story is one no one could have made up!!! BUT GOD!!! We don’t have to have all the answers or have everything all figured out; God has already done all that! He is giving us an invitation to join Him as we submit our will to His through the exercise and practice of prayer!
In following the example of Christ, we lay down our will to that of our Heavenly Father – ‘not my will but Thine be done.’ This brings our life under the care and provision of Almighty God to seek His will rather than our own. It is an opportunity to seek Him FIRST, submit our will to His, and then give honor and glory to Him as He accomplishes His will in and through us.
Third, prayer is a lifestyle. The Scriptures teach that we are to ‘pray without ceasing’ (I Thess. 5:17). Prayer is an activity that requires no special time or place— it is to be a constant practice of every believer. We are to pray about EVERYTHING and to seek God while He may be found.
My husband and I have been engaged in ministry for many years now, but early on the Lord brought a sweet saint into our lives who made a lasting impact. This wonderful lady served as a judge in our community and partnered with us in our ministry. During one of our first meetings, she asked how she could pray for us. We shared with her our prayer requests and she got up from behind her huge desk, grabbed our hands, and brought us to our knees with her and she prayed— right then and there with us on the spot! From that time forward we have tried to make it our practice to pray with folks right when they ask for prayer. She rightly understood that prayer is a lifestyle; no special time or place is required.
As you navigate the adjustment of life to the COVID pandemic may you find renewed joy in engaging in the privilege, opportunity, and lifestyle of prayer.
About the Author:
Sherry Lanier and her husband Steve reside in Jackson, MS where they helped start Redeemer Church PCA, an intentionally multi-cultural church in the heart of the deep-south after serving on staff of Youth for Christ. Sherry has a passion for God’s Word and communicating the Hope of the Gospel. She currently serves as an Advisor to the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministries and is on the staff of MNA Disaster Response. Her greatest joy is ministering alongside her husband, hosting people in her home, and being ‘Momsie’ to her precious grandchildren!