Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Now for Sami’s ramblings about Jesus:

So we’ve all heard about the power of prayer. But have you had an opportunity to go beyond hearing about it to truly experiencing it? You may say to me, “Sami, I’ve tried the prayer thing. No matter how much I pray, nothing changes.” And I could say to you that even after several years of being a “professional” (this just means that by profession I am a minister) in the prayer arena “I understand.” Why is it that people can spend so much time praying and experience so little change?

Well, here it is. The first part of experiencing the power of prayer in one’s life is to actually pray. How do you know if you have or not? Simple. I remember hearing a friend of mine share about the difficulties his daughter was having. No matter what he and his wife did, this little girl could not stop pulling her hair out. The result was that she had bald patches all over her little head. Finally he was sharing their plight with a lady who was one of the pillars of the church he attended. This woman of faith looked at him squarely and asked, “Have you prayed about it?” He and his wife had done everything but that. Only when they intentionally began praying about the problem did it begin to be resolved. So the answer to knowing whether you have prayed or not is in being able to truthfully answer “yes” to the question “have you prayed.” It is amazing how many times this simple question catches me, the “professional,” off guard. Sometimes even professionals forget to take our needs to the Lord in an intentional way.

Next, the power of prayer lies in people who are praying. Notice I did not say person. When I pray about the stuff in my life, I experience God’s power in a REAL AND NOTICEABLE way when I invite others into the experience. It’s not that prayers from a single person don’t count. It’s that God is into the community thing. After all, God’s very identity is communal: God is a trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). God never intended us to go through life alone. The very fact that God looked at Adam all alone in the garden and said, “it is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18) should dispel any notions of lone ranger faith walks. In fact, it is impossible to have an authentic faith alone, without anyone else. And I find that my most powerful prayers are never for myself, but always for someone else. Doesn’t it stand to reason that the most powerful prayers for me are not prayed by me at all, but by someone else? It means we need each other.

And finally, to say that nothing changes no matter how much one prays is simply not true. The change may just be happening in a way and in a place that is overlooked by the one praying. This is true because any time we make a good faith effort at prayer we are entering into Love, God’s very being. And the being of God is also the power of God. And anytime we get close to God we are changed by that encounter. So maybe it may look like the situation you are praying for is not changing, but I promise you are. God’s Being is released into your being; you are no longer the same. And prayers also invite the Being of God into the circumstance and situation that is being lifted up. It is like infusing a dank and stuffy room with fresh clean air. It creates breathing room. Remember how powerful stirred up air can be (tornados, hurricanes, wind storms). Just ask the people who were present (and praying) in the upper room at Pentecost (Acts 2). That little breeze changed their lives and the world forever.

All this is to say that prayer is indeed powerful. Mainly because it connects us to the most pure Love there is (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), and such pure, undiluted Love is powerful. I hope that each of you have people who pray for you. If you are in doubt whether you have someone or not, e-mail me. I’ll pray for you. And we even have an e-mail prayer ministry. You may have seen the “Need Prayer?” signs around campus. This little is for you too. Let us know how we can lift you up to the Lord.

Anyway, hope you are doing well. I want to send out a big THANK YOU to all those who have prayed for me in all kinds of ways and at all kinds of times. You are all truly my Life Line. You keep me linked to God. Thank you for taking the time to love me so well.

This is Sami sending a prayer of love out to all who read this. May God bless you richly; may you know how precious you are in His sight; may you be filled with God’s peace and joy. Amen.



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