By: Jana Greene
I’m not sure if God is moving me slightly out of my comfort zone, or if he just keeps changing where “comfortable” abides in me, but He has been manifesting His love in the wildest ways lately. Like standing under a blackening sky, I find myself a bit afraid of the darkness in the world until….Look! A tiny star appears, and then another, and another. He keeps bringing points of undeniable light all around me until I am so surrounded by his obvious love, and the darkness is overpowered. I just keep bumping into light and love, utterly grateful.
One of the areas becoming new to me is praying aloud with others. Strangers. I am perfectly comfortable writing to God, writing about God, writing with the Holy Spirit guiding me. But verbally, I am not eloquent in the least. I stumble over my words and stutter in making my request. Complicating the matter is that I don’t do so well in large groups, or in public speaking, and the role I’m stepping into requires both. But still, I’ve felt the tugging at my spirit to step out of what is comfortable in order to plead on behalf of others in front of the father. So, I’m trying to be obedient in that.
I am blessed that one of my closest friends, Melissa, is a gifted pray-er. The first time I prayed for others with her, I was humbled immensely. She and I were huddled together with a couple of people who were hurting and needed prayer, all of us crying, and my friend’s words were cascading into the small, intimate space between our faces. She first invited God to our circle, and then her words just knew what to ask Him for. And as she made petition to the Lord to heal the hurts, she praised him for meeting us in that place and for all that He was already at work doing.
Request and praise.
Make vulnerable and give glory.
Ask and trust.
Afterward, I thought about her glorious prayer, which was not stumbled over, but straight from her heart to God’s in the most raw and holy way.
“You are such a good pray-er,” I told her, and hugged her tight. But later on, I wondered if “pray-er” is even a word found in the dictionary. As it turns out, it is not.
Prayer is defined as an address (as a petition) to God in word or thought, or a set order of words used in praying. But in doing a little research, I found out that “one who prays” is called: a “Supplicant” -one who makes humble petition. My friend, Melissa, is an excellent Supplicant.
We, in relationship to God our Father, are all Supplicants – whether our set of words flows easily or with struggle. Perhaps when we link hands with a stranger and petition God to hear us, our willingness to act with supplication is part of our prayer. I’m trying to learn this when I pray with others, not to worry about presentation, but presence.
Last Sunday after church, I went up front to pray for others with my Supplicant friend. We held hands as we waited for others to come forward for prayer, and I peered out into the congregation. The lighting in our sanctuary is kept very low during this time, so that worshipers might concentrate more fully on God instead of worrying what others might think. I’ve always appreciated this twilight-prayer time personally because I get so easily distracted, but today, it looked dark out there in the crowd.
Until a young lady and her friend came up for prayer- two tiny stars of light until they were in our arms and under Melissa’s fervent prayer. I allowed myself to stop nervously formulating prayers for my time aloud, and melted into the pleads and tears and worship that was spreading throughout the entire sanctuary like wildfire. I was the “amen” section for this prayer-time, which was just fine with me. All of us – we prayed in agreement – and Jesus, huddled up with us, delighting in Melissa’s beautiful words of supplication, through her gifting – music to His ears.
On the walk back to our seats, we could not move without bouncing into light and love, and I wondered….
Is it possible my stumbling on words is of no consequence to God, who considers the heart even in silent prayers? If He can read my thoughts, he knows my gifting and lack thereof, He can translate my awkward out-loud requests. Perhaps the word ‘prayer’ is both a noun to describe words that petition and a noun that describes the humbled person doing the petitioning. Maybe we are walking, breathing prayers – going about the daily business of living in constant pleading and praising. Continual requests and praise as we make ourselves vulnerable, asking and trusting and giving Him glory throughout.
And He answers, overpowering darkness….manifesting His love in the wildest ways.