Exploring Prayer

November 2013

Many of your support CARE for AIDS through prayer, and we certainly can never thank you enough for your faithfulness.  Each month, we are privileged to send out an e-newsletter with specific prayer requests for our clients and operations both in Kenya and in the US.  The time that I take putting together the prayer newsletter is some of the most precious time during my week.  It is endlessly humbling and to share in someone’s suffering through prayer and to share in their rejoicing during times of joy.

About a year ago my pastor did a sermon on prayer that changed my prayer life drastically.  When it comes to the spiritual disciplines, prayer has admittedly always been a weak spot for me.  I find it shamefully easy to push prayer farther and farther down my to do list, and I have fallen asleep during my evening prayer and meditation more times than I care to count.  I think part of my weakness in prayer has always stemmed from a misunderstanding, or at least a truncated understating of the purpose and substance of prayer.  My pastor explained it through a personal anecdote;

Kris (pastor) and his family were vacationing in the home of a dear friend who had a very large and beautiful property on the beach.  They made themselves at home in the main part of the house, and did very little exploring- they were at the beach after all, and there were a lot more interesting things to do than to snoop around their friend’s summer home. He and his family enjoyed a lovely week, and as they were packing to return to Atlanta, his wife, as most wives and mothers do, checked under beds and in closets to be sure that nothing was left behind.  The last closet door she opened turned out not to be a closet at all.  It was a doorway to an entire other wing of the home.  Suddenly exploring this expansive wing of the house was the most interesting thing in the world, and they learned that they had been missing out on some of the best aspects of their vacation home.

Prayer is the exact same for me.  I realized that I have been comfortably living in my understanding of prayer in its entirety- too distracted by other, seemingly more interesting things to explore all of the corners of what prayer can be.   I used this beautiful, complex gift as a verbal vending machine– asking God for specific things or experiences and expecting a quick and glorious result– and had been missing out on some of the best and most intimate parts of prayer for years.

One thing I have come to appreciate more about prayer is the posture it creates in me toward those I am praying with and for.  As Justin quoted at the gala a few weeks ago, “If you stare at someone long enough, you see their humanity”- I so fully believe that if you pray for someone long enough, you see their humanity and their value with the Lord’s eyes.

Part of praying with CARE for AIDS and with clients and staff in Kenya that is such a blessing, is that I get to know these people month after month through their prayer requests and rejoicing.  It changes me to see their needs and their victories.  INstead of simply praying for a result or solution to whatever issue I read about on the prayer list, I am able to enter into relationship with them, though I have never even met them.

CS Lewis says about prayer: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”

So know, as you join us in the blessing of prayer for our clients and staff, that we are all praying for you and your families, and we all are being changed.  We are connected through prayer to you, whether you are oceans away, states away, or our literal neighbors.  We are honored that you would explore prayer with us!