As a young girl and pre-teen, I spent many summers in Alabama with my grandparents. These days were some of the most influential moments of my life.
Papaw always had time for me. His “too hot for love” antics when I tried to hug him always made me laugh. I learned all my gin rummy and croquet skills from him, and he even let me put nail polish on his toe-nails once in awhile.
Mamaw was never too busy to play with me either. We spent hours around the Husker Du game board. She always had chocolate chip cookies baked for me, and I couldn’t wait to look at the old photo albums or count all her ceramic birds on the shelf. Mamaw fed the squirrels from her kitchen window and sang hymns at her piano. I cherished every moment with her.
But the thing I remember the most about my grandmother is that she loved Jesus. She really loved Jesus, and she loved to talk about Him and talk to Him too. Mamaw prayed about everything, and on Wednesday she fasted and prayed all day. She’d make Papaw and me breakfast and lunch, but afterwards she would retreat into her bedroom. As a young girl, I saw that bedroom as holy ground. Serious business between Mamaw and God took place behind that bedroom door. She prayed for hours, and when done, she’d come out of that room joy-filled; I loved being in her presence.
At Mamaw’s funeral many years ago, Richard spoke and asked an important question of all of us that day. Who would pick up Mamaw’s mantel of prayer in our family? I don’t remember much about that funeral, but I do remember Richard asking that question, and I remember my response, “Lord, I will.” I wanted to follow in my beautiful grandmother’s lead because I saw the difference those prayers had made. I was a living example of the power of her prayers. No doubt, she visited the throne room many times interceding for me. Small in stature but oh so mighty in spirit, Mamaw radiated the love of Jesus, and I wanted to be just like her.
“Prayer is the work” is an expression I heard a couple years ago at a YWAM staff conference that has rocked my world. I’ve been saying it a lot too, and isn’t it so true?! It’s a phrase that rings in my ears, for I am more and more aware of the importance of praying. Darlene Cunningham says in her book Values Matter, “Every good thing God has ever done through Youth With A Mission was born in prayer.”
YWAM is dedicated to worship God and engage in intercessory prayer as integral aspects of daily life. We also recognize the intent of Satan to destroy the work of God, and we rely upon God’s empowering presence, the Holy Spirit, to overcome Satan’s strategies in the lives of individuals and in the affairs of nations. (1Sa 7:5; 2Ch 7:4; Psa 84:1-8; Psa 95:6-7; Psa 100:1-5; Mar 11:24-25; Act 1:14; Eph 6:13-20; 1Th 5:16-19; 1Ti 2:1-4) (YWAM Foundational Value #4 ~ Practice worship and intercessory prayer)
Someone recently asked me if I pray in the Spirit, and without hesitation I said, “YES!” Maybe there was more to her question. Maybe she was asking if I had a special prayer language or something along those lines. I don’t know, but for me in that moment, all I could think of was if I’m not praying in the Spirit than what am I doing? I know how much I need the Holy Spirit’s empowerment and insight EVERY TIME I pray.
I love that worship and intercessory prayer go together in our foundational values at YWAM. What is prayer without worship? Sometimes I’ve been guilty of giving God my “to-do list” of things I’ve needed Him to do for me. However, I’ve learned praise is a weapon like no other. 2 Chronicles 20:22 reveals, “At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. As the song Raise a Hallelujah declares, “My weapon is the melody!”
The more I interact with people and hear the stories of life’s hardships, the more I realize Satan wants to kill, steal, and destroy. It grieves me to see how ruthless he can be. Sometimes I even feel the weight of Satan’s deadly strategies. The burden is unbearable and heavy. My only hope is that Jesus is bigger, stronger, and able to destroy his works.
God IS able, and the battle truly does belong to Him. However, the Lord has shown me I have a part to play on the battlefield, and that part is on my knees. He wants me to engage and not just sit back passively. When I pray, I am pushing back darkness and praying down Light! That’s the power of worship and intercessory prayer, for any time you are standing in the gap for someone else, whether it’s a nation, people group, or one individual, you are agreeing with God for His purposes and plans. You are standing against the lies and schemes of the enemy in Jesus name, and praying for Truth to set free!
And so I pray, like Mamaw did. I never remember asking Mamaw why she prayed. I didn’t have to. It was evident in her life. She trusted God and believed that her part in the great commission was to intercede for the souls of many. She entered her bedroom ready to do battle, and she came out rejoicing in the Lord. She loved Jesus so beautifully, and I want to be just like her.
Thank you to all who pray for us. Your prayers make a difference in our lives and ministry here at YWAM every day! We couldn’t do this without you.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)