Reflections in a Season of Turmoil: Prayer
One of the more universal reactions to this season of turmoil has been the increase in the need of and expressions of prayer. At least initially, most of the prayer needs I responded to and the prayers I lifted up for my own family were centered in confusion, frustration, and fear. I could sense what others called “the invisible enemy” and my prayers were filled with pleas to God to provide light so the enemy could be spotted and dealt with. In truth, these pleas are still a major component of the prayers I make.
Yet, as this season has progressed, I have found that prayer has taken on a much more fundamental role in the framework of faith and Christian life – at least it has for me. Rather than being a simple forum to vent and plea with a God whose work I may not sense or understand, I have come to see that prayer is the link for several very important components that make up our faith.
First, prayer is a way for us to commune with each other spiritually even in the midst of isolation. One of the first ministries initiated by Mt. Hebron was an online prayer service. We soon sensed the need to expand this beyond online in order to include those who don’t have or use internet. This desire for spiritual communion has culminated in Watch Post Ministry. Every evening at 6pm, someone is hosting a church-wide prayer meeting that reaches our members and others wherever they may be. God’s Spirit has clearly been at work in this prayer gathering, and I look forward to how its presence will shape us beyond this season.
Second, prayer provides the chance to God to speak clearly to us. I have found that slowing down during prayer time, focusing, and listening intently for God during prayer has really transformed how I hear Him speaking. I knew this before this season of course, but I have had to quiet down from making my pleas and still my heart so that God could ready me to hear Him.
Finally, God can and does provide a real sense of His presence and voice within our prayer time. As my prayer has evolved during this season, I have witnessed and heard God giving me perspective, understanding (maybe small, but it’s there), comfort, and challenge. And at its heart, isn’t this what the purpose of prayer is anyway? We commune with God, much like we converse with each other. We talk, we listen, we vent, we cry, and we laugh. At the end of it all, we are most glad we shared a moment of communion – being with each other.
This is another of the truths that has revealed itself most clearly in the very midst of this season of turmoil. Again, I wish it had not taken such a season to draw back the curtain upon this truth, but it has. I praise God for revealing this, and so much more, during this time.