By Terese Belme
Mama Mia! I was born into a large Italian family and raised in a religion that believed in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit but at the time did not actively point the way for the need of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Thankfully, through this religion, God set the foundation for a life of prayer with Him when I was around seven or eight and continues to this day. Through the years my prayer life has seen many seasons of ebb and flow. During a recent season of more ebb and less flow, I asked God to cause my prayer time to be on fire again. Did He ever! He delights in answering the prayers of His heart.
A few weeks ago our church ended twenty-one days of prayer.
We do this twice a year. Once at the beginning of the year and once heading into Fall. Whoever would come is encouraged to meet at our church from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. for three weeks (M-F). Each morning we heard a short ten to fifteen-minute message on prayer. As the message was concluding we were encouraged to come up to the front as worship music started and we began to audibly speak out our thanksgiving, praise, and worship of God. Thanking Him for all the things he has done in our lives and blessed us with. Praising and worshipping Him for Who He is—for His sovereignty, goodness, and faithfulness.
God delights in telling us, “If you can talk you can pray.”
After all this then we picked up the prayer cards that lined the stage and had been continually collected throughout the twenty-one days and offered prayers on behalf of our church family. Our prayer time ended with collectively praying for the many aspects of our church, neighboring churches, families, marriages, our cities, our Country, the Body of Christ, and our government. Our Pastor would close by praying a blessing over our gathering. Being new to this church, I had never experienced a prayer meeting like this before. It was alive, exciting and full of hope! The presence of the Holy Spirit was tangible.
To coincide with twenty-one days of prayer our Pastor presented a three-week series on prayer titled, Let’s Talk (He delights in telling us, “If you can talk you can pray”). Each week we were given a different guideline on prayer containing the components of thanks, praise, worship, the work of the cross, inviting the Holy Spirit in, confession and repentance, personal prayer, and prayers for others.
The prayer guideline below is the one that I connected with the most.
The Outer Court: Give thanks to God. (Psalm 100:4).
The Brazen Altar: Think about the Cross. (Romans 5:8).
The Laver: Commit every part of my life to God. (Romans 12:1).
The Candlestick: Invite the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. (2 Timothy 1:6,7).
The Table of Showbread: Claim the promises in God’s Word. (Matthew 4:4).
The Altar of Incense: Worship His name. (Psalm 95:6,7).
The Ark of the Covenant: Pray for others. (1Timothy 2:1,2).
The Word of God promises us that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20).
It has been my experience that He always goes above and beyond what my finite mind conceives when He answers my prayers. Some really good things have been happening in my life and like you I also experience challenges and hardships. I had been struggling with complete surrender to and trusting Him. On the first day of twenty-one days of prayer I was finally at the end of myself. I truly and sincerely surrendered all to God and I continue to surrender each time I come into His presence. In addition to answering my prayer for a fresh fire in my prayer life, He released me from whatever control I thought I had over my life.
Whenever those negative lying thoughts creep in I am able to remind myself that God has whatever my concern is under His control and I tell myself, God’s got this!
The good things I mentioned earlier started to happen soon after I completely surrendered to Him. The things God has shown me that He put in place are beginning to take place. This leads me to believe that a completely surrendered life to God ushers in our purpose and all the good things He determined beforehand for us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10). Why? Because a surrendered life to God focuses on God and not the situation. A surrendered life is continually learning and practicing trusting in and relying on God alone.
With a faith that has been stirred by the Holy Spirit like the pool at Siloam (John 5:4) and a new perspective on prayer, I am once again eager to spend that sweet, tender and intimate time with Jesus to thank, praise and worship Him before I ever utter a prayer and to simply sit with Him and listen.
Mary really did choose the better part. (Luke 10:42).
Terese Belme’s passion is to come alongside others and encourage them in their identity, authority, and inheritance in Jesus as ambassadors to the kingdom of God. Terese is a contributing author to Inspire Christian Writers blog “Love” (2017) and “Kindness” (2018) Anthologies.