The Prayer Life of a Struggling Christian

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I’ve had this stirring within me ever since I attended “Secret Church” on April 21st. The meeting was very good and I have been trying to get back into the booklet we received and go through it again. But that hasn’t happened as yet. Instead, a word has been stirring in my mind over and over again. That word, PRAY. I’d like to write about that and tell you a little of my journey in this.

Just a few words to fill you in on my prayer life. It has always been a struggle and sometimes non-existent. I set aside time for prayer nearly every day, but almost always struggle with my thoughts wandering off someplace. Sometimes I take walks just to keep me from being distracted. That works somewhat. But there is another problem that I’m a bit ashamed to confess. That is the lack of belief that prayer does any good. I continue to fight this and pray for a stronger faith. God, in His mercy has been teaching me in this area for a couple of years now. It has been slow and hard, but growing nonetheless.

My new prayer life actually started a while ago. In my latest job at GFA, I have been working with a group of people who support the ministry. Basically, I write emails, notes and sometimes call them to thank them for gifts that they have sent in to us and asking if I can pray for them. As I started out in this new position, I noticed that when I would send an email out to a person I would often get a return email sharing some prayer requests. Some of the requests are heartbreaking. One of the downsides of having a sensitive personality is that my heart breaks and I struggle not to get down about the requests. After all, all I can do about it is to pray. But later I began to be impressed to with the thought that praying is the best thing I can do. After a while I started to compile these requests into a prayer list. I would always write back and assure the person that I would pray. So, I make sure I do. This has grown over the past year and a half and now I try to follow-up with some of them to check in to see how they are doing. In all honesty, this has turned into a small prayer ministry for me and is becoming a joyous part of my work here.

The second thing that has begun to change my prayer life is some emails I receive and things in the news. The most recent news item is the bombings in the UK. We have friends in the UK. By God’s grace, they are all safe. But the threat of more bombings continues. Then there are other ministries I receive emails from. Two of them are Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. Both these ministries work in very difficult areas of the world. Again, it is heartbreaking to receive their emails and hear about the struggles of our brothers and sisters in these countries. Recently, I have been impressed that I need to look at these emails a little closer and prayer seriously over them.

The third thing that made me think and change my prayer times was re-reading David Platt’s book Radical. I just finished the book a few days ago. The last chapter talks about a year-long challenge. While I didn’t commit to doing the whole challenge, there are some parts I am already doing and some I want to start. One of the points was to read through the Bible in a year. I have already started that, but told God I was not going to restrict myself to finishing in a year. You see, I am a project oriented person, to a fault. If I set myself a goal to complete something in a year I will do everything I can to make that happen. But the results have always been disappointing. When I have read the Bible in a year, that’s about all I accomplished. I took no time to think about or pray over what I had read. So now I read the Bible nearly every day but I also ask God to teach me what I need to know and soften my heart.

But there was another part of the challenge I haven’t ever seriously thought about. That was to pray for the whole world in a year. Again, I am not limiting myself to a year, but I took a book I have on my bookshelf, called Operation World, and dusted it off (shameful on my part). I have used this book before, but until I read this in Pastor Platt’s book it never dawned on me to just pray for the world. So, I now I am praying for the world from A to Z (the book covers every country in the world and gives a description and how to pray for each country).

Well, there you have it. I’m not telling you all this to make you think how cool I am (or how not so cool I am, either). Nor am I bragging about these changes in my life. In fact, I struggle with shame that they are coming to me at this point in my life. But I do want to tell you this because I think we are in an urgent time. I don’t think it will get easier. I believe for myself, at a minimum, I need to read God’s Word for all it’s worth. And I need to pray. But not just pray like I always have. I think I need to have “focused prayer.” I read or heard somewhere that all revivals we have heard about in the history of Christianity happened because a group of people somewhere started focused prayer for their town, village, state or nation. Can that be what we need here in East Texas, focused prayer? How could that ever happen? It won’t happen by wishing that we were better at prayer. It will happen by us praying with focus, by fighting against our chief enemy as he whispers how foolish we are to think this will change things, and fighting our flesh that wants to not commit to this. May God forgive us our prayerlessness and give us His grace to PRAY!! God bless you!

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