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This One Thing Is Radically Shaping My Spiritual Life—And It Took a Trip to South Asia to Discover It

We often talk about the power of prayer in church, and it’s true! Prayer is powerful and often untapped resource in our lives. We can walk into the throne room of the almighty God, the Creator of the universe and our Savior. How amazing is that? I hope that always astonishes me. But so often I forget about this and get distracted by selfishness and busyness.

Do we know the power of prayer when we have little and when we have much? What if it’s the only resource we have? What if we stopped looking at prayer as something we do when making a decision or opening a meeting, but something our souls crave on a daily basis?

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

Prayer is oxygen to our spirits. I saw this first hand on a recent trip to South Asia where I felt the deep sweetness of prayer in a new way.

These brothers and sisters were planting churches, doing ministry and facing persecution. They were studying to become pastors so they could go back to their village and start a church and lead their family, friends and community to Christ, but not without resistance.

 

They shared their stories with us. Their testimonies were filled with hardship, heart ache and even death, but they also had hope. I’ve never seen anyone give and receive prayer as freely as they did.

They were so comfortable in their vulnerability. They shared prayer requests with tears streaming down their faces. They prayed in whispers and moist eyes, hearts and voices soft and pliable. They prayed in shouts with hands clenched through passion and determination.

Our team spent time with 15 brave and beautiful women. After a devotional on friendship and the deep soul connection between the biblical characters of Jonathan and David, we asked if they would like to share their prayer requests with the person sitting next to them. They shared their prayer requests with each other, but then, all on their own, they stood up one by one and shared their prayer requests with the entire group.

One woman looked especially heavy hearted, but our language barrier kept us from understanding why. Through a translator – and through tears – she said God put the desire in her heart to start a children’s ministry in her home, but she couldn’t read or write, so there was no way she could start this ministry.

We stopped and prayed for her. She stood with open hands and received our prayer. She stood with tears dripping down her cheeks, but she never hid her face. No, she received heaven’s poetry with courageous vulnerability.

We prayed for each woman and they received. No questions asked, no fancy church service, no translators. We just prayed and they received.

At the end of our time together, our brothers and sisters wanted to send us off with the blessing of prayer. Our team stood in the center of the room and everyone surrounded us with a chorus of prayer.

We didn’t understand a word they said, and yet our hearts understood completely.

We stood with open hands and received prayer and blessing. A hum of prayer encircled us. The warm air swirled by the fans overhead nurtured a sense of peace as shouts of “Hallelujah” and “Praise the Lord” swelled above the buzz of prayer. It was a moment of soul safety and peace.

Who were we to receive the prayers of our dear brothers and sisters? Who were we to give prayer to those facing hardship and persecution? But who are we not to?

Be brave enough to give and receive prayer. It is oxygen and it is life. Prayer given and received is a gift.

Let’s have courage to bless one another. This is not a trite greeting of “God bless you!” This is a deep and sweet naming of blessings. We look at our sisters in Christ and we called them blessed. We look at our brothers in Christ and we call them blessed. We look at the food and shelter and hospitality and we call it blessed.

Friend, may you be blessed with brokenness and healing,
May you be blown away by the gift of prayer given and received,
May you be left speechless by the profound blessings from the Father,
May you have eyes to see and ears to hear the constant patter and hum of blessing.

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Esther Laurie is a staff writer at churchleaders.com. Her background is in communication and church ministry. She believes in the power of the written word and the beauty of transformation and empowering others. When she’s not working, she loves running, exploring new places and time with friends and family. It’s her goal to work the word ‘whimsy’ into most conversations.