Are you a prayer worrier or a prayer warrior?
Most of us tend to pray when things seem to be getting out of hand. We pray when we notice that we need God’s help because we can’t seem to be able to do things independently. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great time to pray, but why do we wait until things are out of our control?
Growing up, I struggled to trust a God I didn’t really know. I trusted my own power and the influence of my friends. I worried what they would think above what God would think and it left me anxious and fearful.
When I became a foster and adoptive parent, I realized time and time again that there was so much that I had no control over. Out of necessity, I realized that if I wanted peace, I had to ask my Heavenly Father to intervene.
Knowing how much you can actually love someone while being forced to admit that you can’t make life perfect for them hurts a lot. Yes, you can hug the sores, and you can hug them when they’re sad, but you can’t make all the bad things from the past go away. You can’t stop them from making painful mistakes; you can’t always stop others from hurting them, and you can’t even stop yourself from hurting them. It was so emotionally painful to realize this.
I can’t imagine feeling so vulnerable and not having God to turn to when I need someone more important and more in control than me to step in for my children. (Yes, they are all mine in my heart because Jesus put them in my heart, even though I did not bring them into the world). How does a parent with a finicky child find comfort when they don’t have a loving God to turn to?
Praying in times of stress has relieved me a lot. My desire to share this relief had been granted many times.
One particular afternoon I was visiting a friend who needed some encouragement. As I waited outside her front steps after knocking on her apartment door in a sea of ââapartment buildings, I heard screams of despair coming from a separate apartment building.
My heart leaped in my throat as I leaned over the sound to find out if someone was just angry or if someone was in distress and needed help. I noticed the voice coming from one of the adjacent apartment buildings with the back facing me. I could only see the fence surrounding the back yard, although the origin of the sound was unmistakable.
The tumultuous sound of the hoarse voice of a desperate mother echoed between the buildings. I could make out a few words and thought she was begging her teenage son to listen to her and stop doing things that would hurt him and break his heart. I could hear she was screaming for some time as her voice dropped.
Her voice grew and fell as she walked in and out of her back door. I imagined she was following him everywhere. I remember hearing very little about her son. If he said anything, it wasn’t very kind or helpful because his speech only seemed to make his tone more desperate. I was sick to my heart for this mom. I could tell his anger was filled with fear for his son and he didn’t seem to understand it as many don’t.
Opening the door I knocked brought my attention back. I went inside to support and encourage my friend. As much as I tried to focus on the reason for my visit, I couldn’t help but think that God had called me there for another reason. I felt the Spirit draw me to this desperate mother. My heart wanted to comfort her somehow, but what could I do?
Fear of the unknown kept me from jumping out of my seat and running to find this mom to try to console her. What would she think? Would I embarrass him? Would I just make it worse? Doubt has attempted to set in as is often the case when we wait to respond to the call of the Spirit. Finally, I couldn’t hold back anymore. I told my friend that I had some âGodâ business to take care of outside and apologized for a moment.
Outside again I heard the mother’s hoarse cry from outside her apartment. I counted the doors to determine which was hers and walked around the front of the building to her door. My heart was pounding as I knocked. For a short second I wondered what I would say, but God reminded me that He would give me the words. I waited and prayed that the mother would be receptive to my uninvited visit. My first hit went unanswered so I hit it again.
I waited while the inner tumult died down. Then the door opened. An exhausted and disheveled mother looked at me with teary eyes. She couldn’t even speak.
I cleared my throat nervously and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but God told me you would need a hug.”
The woman burst into tears and fell into my arms. Her sobs shook my shoulder as I desperately tried to come to my senses and have the strength to ask her if I could pray for her. I couldn’t, so I just held her until her sobs died down.
Finally, I regained my composure and asked if I could pray for her. She has accepted. I breathed slowly and deeply and prayed quietly for comfort, strength, and patience. I prayed for mercy and grace on his son as well as wisdom for him to see how his actions would affect his life.
I don’t remember everything I said then. I remember the whole situation seemed like an eternity to me. In fact, it was over in a matter of minutes. The mother thanked me and closed the door. I went back to my friends. I felt a calm in his apartment that was not there before. The storm had subsided; at least for this time.
I never saw this woman again, but this experience stuck with me. I often wondered if her heart was crying out to God at that time. I wondered if he sent me to let him know he was listening.
It was experiences like this that made me a warrior and not a worrier when I pray. I no longer wonder if God hears me or if he will answer. I know he is listening and he will respond. There is no more room for doubt in my heart.
It took a few decades of life experience to learn this important lesson: we can be a prayer-conscious or a prayer warrior.
When we pray, it is tempting to be worried, not to really hand over our burdens to God but to hope and beg that He will hear us and give us what we want. This approach to prayer leaves us prone to anxiety about what we think should happen in life. Do we wait to turn our burdens over to God until we have exhausted our own power to handle the situation? If so, perhaps we are praying out of concern. This kind of prayer lacks real power.
On the other hand, we can completely surrender our burden to God and leave it (whatever we pray for) in His hands. We can trust that He knows what is ultimately best. We can be confident that he will fix everything in the end, whatever the outcome.
Are we ready to make his promises boldly and confidently, knowing that he will not be missed? Like Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego, we can declare, âOur God will save us from the fiery furnace, but if he does not, we will be resurrected. Like David, we can boldly scold a giant for speaking ill of our God and go into battle against him with nothing but a slingshot and a pebble because we believe that God will defend our people as he has said. . We can stand before kings and earthly powers like Esther did, knowing that it can mean death. She knew the power of God to save.
To be a prayer warrior, we don’t need to do amazing feats like Shadrack, David, and Esther. But we have to be willing to know the Word of God and believe it with all our heart like them. A prayer warrior fights on his knees for himself and for those in need because he understands that prayer is the most underrated and yet the most powerful weapon we have against our enemy.
Prayer is what equipped spiritual heroes like Daniel, Joseph and Deborah. He kept the pregnant virgin girl alive and hopeful at a time when her condition was punishable by stoning. He kept a nation of desert wanderers alive and thriving for 40 years. He looked after widows and their daughters-in-law in difficult times.
I could go on and on. Prayer has been and still is the answer to all human problems.
Becoming a prayer warrior takes time, practice, and commitment. Fortunately, God is patient with us as we grow. He gave us the Holy Spirit to pray for us when we don’t have the words. As we practice and learn, God gives us ample opportunity to see that his Word is true, that he is faithful, and that we do not need to doubt or worry. All we have to do is pray.
Pray before the worry sets in. Pray when worry causes us to doubt. Praise him before you see proof of his response.
As you grow in faith and in your prayer journey, pray and wait on the Lord. Open your heart to what He provides. It might not be what you expected, but it will be miraculous. He won’t disappoint you. That I can promise.
Two or More Ministries is a nonprofit prayer ministry sponsored by the Hillsboro, Oregon Seventh-day Adventist Church. They believe the words of Matthew 18:20: âWhere two or more are gathered in my name, there I am. The ministry supports those who seek prayer and those who seek to develop their prayer skills. Prayer Warriors pray daily for every request forwarded through Facebook and the Hillsboro SDA Church website. The ministry also holds prayer meetings via Zoom videoconference every Friday at 8 p.m. their hope of encouraging and uplifting God’s people through prayer and arousing the desire to pray fervently so that we can more clearly see the power of God’s love alive and at work in our lives.