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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Prayer is the Work

A group of us stood in a circle around Mark and Joan (not their real names) and laid our hands on them.
They are missionaries getting ready to go back to Africa in a few weeks.
As Joan sobbed out their story, we shuddered to hear about the horrors they have to face when they return there: broken lives, emotional and physical trauma, witchcraft, Believers who live in defiance of God's commands.
These situations weigh so heavily on Joan and Mark that we drew around them to pray.
We prayed for their physical and spiritual protection, for healing and restoration, and we prayed for the one who had caused great pain, that he would repent and be reconciled.
Then, we sang our praises to Him who has already defeated death and Satan.

I've often caught myself saying "All I can do is pray," as if that is the last resort, and such a puny exercise.

But nowhere in Scripture does it say that we ourselves effect great change.
The Bible always says that it is God who works in us and through us.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil. 4:6)
Jesus said "apart from me you can do nothing."

Why do we think prayer is such a small thing?
Because of our pride. We like to think that we can do great things, and God just kind of helps us along.
Not true.

A great Christian teacher— I can't remember his name— once said, "Prayer is not the preparation for a great work. Prayer is the great work."

Ten Supernatural wonders that happen when we pray:

  1. When we pray, we communicate our dependence upon God. 
  2. We align ourselves with the Father‚ look in the same direction.
  3. We submit to His will in faith and He fills us with his Spirit.
  4. We fully identify with Jesus in His redemptive work for us and through us.
  5. We partner with Jesus.
  6. We praise Him.
  7. We trust him.
  8. As we intercede for others, we invest our will and emotions for their sakes.
  9. We get the opportunity for the Spirit to translate our frail human words into heavenly ones.
  10. We grow closer to the Father and fall more in love with Him.
So, our time in prayer and praise to God as we encircled Joan and Mark was not a small, insignificant thing.
It is a mighty act, because God inhabits our prayers and praises.

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and His ears are attentive to their prayer." (1 Pet. 3:12 NIV Bible)


  1. Good post, Dena. I wonder how many great things God is waiting to do until we open our mouths to pray and ask. Jesus said we have not because we ask not. By the way, I think it was Oswald Chambers who said prayer is the greater work. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Nancy, thanks for the note about Oswald Chambers.You saved me an internet search!