Last night we went to our church small group. We attend a very large church, and small group meetings happen all over the area during the week. It’s how a big church stays small. In our small group, there could be anywhere from 10 to 20 people. It’s really larger than is suggested, but we just can’t seem to make a big split. Anyway, we all bring an appetizer to share. Someone usually brings a more hearty “main dish” for everyone to have. Right now, we are doing a church-wide Daniel fast, so all the food last night was Daniel fast-friendly. That’s basically fruits, veggies, and water.
Anyway, the small group curriculum is based on the current sermon series. This particular series, and thus small group curriculum and discussion, is on Prayer. It really goes along well with the fast, because the purpose of the fast is to get our flesh out of the way so we can really focus on our prayer lives and intimacy with God.
Now, I’ve always been told that if we pray about something with enough faith, we should believe that God would hear our prayer. Then we should forget about it, and just act and speak like it’s done. And I always felt guilty if I prayed about the same thing again, because that’s just like “digging up your seed.” While there is merit to some of that, especially the faith and acting and speaking part, I have had a major shift in my belief about praying more than once about something.
In Revelation 8, the bible tells us that our prayers are like incense in bowls. I believe, and our pastor believes, that as we fill the bowls with our prayers, God adds his fire to our prayers and throws the answers to the earth for us to receive. 2 Chronicles tells us that if we humble ourselves and pray, we will be forgiven and offered healing. The book of James also tells us that the prayers of righteous man avails much.
I believe we should continue to pray until Heaven moves earth. In Daniel 10, we’re told that an angel left with the answer to Daniel’s prayer after he prayed the first time. But the angel was held up by the enemy. So Daniel had to continue praying for 21 days until enough power was released and his bowl was filled so that he could receive his answer. Elijah prayed 7 times for rain. He didn’t do this so that he could convince God to do something. He prayed until he released enough power until he got Heaven to agree with what was happening on earth.
So I’ve totally changed my thought process on prayer. First of all, prayer and talking to God is just good for the relationship. God cares about what His children care about. And pouring out our hearts to Him is what He wants. I’m going to fill up my bowls. And my relationship with God will benefit, too, because that means I’ll be conversing with Him much more often – not only to ask for things but just to communicate with Him more frequently. The bible says we should pray without ceasing, which means always be in an attitude of prayer and talking and walking with God. And I’m going to make sure my bowls stay full.