Prayer is important. Prayer has always been important to me, but this past year God has taught me just how important it is. It is especially important to be able to pray and to focus on God when in a stressful situation, such as graduate school. God has been teaching me how to pray, in the past year or so specifically, not just for myself and my relationship with Him, but more importantly for others. "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."Just about anyone and everyone that comes into my path on a daily basis, He has impressed upon me how important it is to pray for them. As I go through my day, I am constantly collecting information about people, places and events and making notes as to what they need prayer for. The apostle Paul, to the Colossians writes:
"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."
I find this verse extremely powerful and convicting. He says, "we do not cease to pray for you". Why is it that we are so quick to pray for God to give get us a good parking spot, or to let us do well on a test that we haven't studied for? I remember a few years ago when I first started going to church, a pastor asked why we always say the "help me, save me" prayers. After hearing that, I resolved to limit those prayers. I would cry out to God for myself and for the sake of our relationship, yes, but more than that I would pray for others. As I continue to pray for others, I find this verse giving me a guide for what to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ:
* That they would be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding
* That they may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him
* That they would be fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God
* That they would be strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power
* That they would live their lives with Jesus with patience and longsuffering with joy
This is my second and final year in grad school, and God being as awesome and loving as He is, gave me an incredible roommate in a beautiful off campus apartment. When we moved into the apartment we saw that we had a decent sized storage closet, and we both had mentioned wanting to create some sort of a designated space for prayer in the apartment. We knew that this closet would become our prayer closet, and it finally has! We used a couple of tension rods, a scarf valance, a mattress and a few pillows, and it is my new favorite place in the apartment.
Now I realize that verse 5 in Matthew 6 says, not to pray like the hypocrites who pray so "that they may be seen by men", and please hear me, that is not my intention in posting this. I want only to encourage others to pray.
I believe that many believers know the value of prayer and know how crucial it is to our relationship with the Lord, but I also know that many have a hard time praying regardless. There is always something or someone to distract us, and sometimes we really don't even have a place where we can pray. Susannah Wesley (mother of John Wesley) had 19 children, but knew the importance of prayer. When she couldn't find a place to pray, she would put her apron over her head and her children would know not to bother her because she was praying. I don't know about you, but I aspire to have such dedication to my Lord that I'll put an apron over my head just to be able to spend time with Him. Praise be to Him though, that I don't have to do that. He's given me a beautiful, quiet space to just abide in Him, and a wonderful, thoughtful roommate who is equally in love with Him, to share it with. I am truly blessed.
Here are a few more pictures of the prayer closet and what is inside it, to give you an idea if you feel inclined to make a space of your own designated for prayer.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." -Matthew 7:7-8