What I’m Learning about Prayer, Part I

When I went to the Orange Conference in April, I expected to learn an awful lot about children’s ministry. And I did. But I’ve realized that most of what is lingering in my head and heart is just Jesus, just bits and pieces about what it might look like for me to continue to follow HIm.

Bob Goff spoke; I about flipped out when I saw him on the schedule, and he didn’t disappoint. I wanted to write down every word he said, and then follow him around for weeks to watch how he does life. (Not creepy at all, right? Right.) I was so relieved and excited to see that the way he wrote was the same way he spoke and it does, really, seem to be the way he lives (as far as I can tell from a non-creepy distance). But he said one thing in particular–about prayer–that I can’t shake.

He said we should not have to announce to people, in response to whatever they shared with us, “Oh, man. I’ll be praying for you.” There’s nothing wrong with saying it, but–as is Bob Goff’s entire deal–love does. Love does not just say things. It does them. We should, he said, be the kind of people who don’t have to say, “I”m praying for you,” because everyone should already know that we are.

My grandma passed away a month or so ago, and I spoke at her memorial service. In elementary school, I wrote an essay about her, about all the things I loved about her, and I was going to read it aloud in celebration of that. But I also needed to say something about how I thought and felt about her now, more than 15 years later. As a little girl, her cooking and card-playing and fun home were so important to me. But what was important to me now?

All I could think about was her love for the Lord, but it especially occurred to me that she was exactly the kind of person Bob was talking about. Every single member of our family knew without question that Grandma was praying for them. And they knew that whether they believed in Jesus or not.

And shouldn’t that be how it is? That everyone I meet knows I live in such close relationship with Christ, I am always trying to communicate with Him. That everyone I meet knows I believe in prayer because I believe in Jesus, and Jesus believed in prayer. That everyone I meet knows I love them so deeply, I wouldn’t dream of not praying for them, because, well, what else is there to do, really?

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