I had a real sense at the beginning of this year that I should focus on and read more about prayer. Although I was looking forward to it, I had no idea that embarking on this journey would teach me so much more about prayer or that I would see so many of my own personal prayers answered this year.
A major turning point in my prayer life was when a close friend and colleague and I decided to meet up each week to discuss a book (unrelated to prayer) that we were both reading at the time. 1-2-1 style...
We went through a chapter of this book each week and said a short little prayer afterwards before heading off to work. However, things took an unexpected turn a few weeks later. Instead of discussing the book like we had been each week (which I am yet to finish reading), we started to use the time to just catch up and pray more intentionally for each other. It was mostly about the things that were going on in our lives personally, difficult work situations and for our family members and friends, etc.
On one of the days that we met, I remember having a note book in my bag. I took it out and started bullet pointing what we were praying for that week and I have been doing so ever since. This was one of the best decisions I made, because our faith has really been built up as we have looked back and seen so many of our prayers answered. Our confidence in God has grown and our conviction that prayer truly is powerful and effective is stronger than ever.
Don’t be misled though, not all of our prayers have been answered and some that were, weren’t answered in the way that we expected. However, we can both agree that all things worked together for our good, and that the prayers that were answered, were without a doubt in God’s perfect timing and in accordance with his will.
To encourage you, here are just a few of the very specific prayers that my friend and I have seen answered this year:
- A relationship restored after several years.
- A family member starting to attend church again after not attending for a few years.
- Being offered a place to start a doctorate degree.
- Being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom
Without a doubt developing and sustaining a private prayer life is vitally important but I can testify that I have definitely seen the fruits and the benefits of having a prayer partner to pray with on a regular basis in the past, and most certainly in the last few months.
As we head into the week of prayer, may I encourage you to commit to making private prayer, praying with a friend and corporate prayer a priority and to be expectant that God will hear and answer your faith filled prayers in the coming season.