Praying in the real world

J. C. Albert has to be one of the greatest followers of Jesus I’ve ever met. I met him in India in 2012. He was the most open, loving, friendly guy and he had these wonderful stories to tell of adventures with Jesus. He has visited and shared the good news of Jesus Christ in nearly 3,000 tribal villages in India. He has walked nearly 10,000 miles for Jesus while being chased by tigers and bears and Hindu extremists. He is a true adventurer who is fueled by the love of Jesus.

Every need Albert has had since beginning in ministry in the 80s has been met without him ever asking anyone for anything. He lets God determine both the need and the provision. Here is what he says about that in his little book on evangelism:

“Prayer is the fuel that runs our ministry. Every experience, trial and inspiration I have recorded is a result of prayer. The foremost thing I learned in ministry is prayer followed by Bible study. Prayer empowers and gives vision.”

Those words resonate with me and are proven not so much by my faithfulness as my failures. In seasons when my faith has faltered, I can invariably point to a fumbled prayer life. Prayer empowers and gives vision; the lack of it weakens trust and causes me to wander.

Maybe for the sake of improving my vision, God has been leading me more deeply into the place of prayer. For the last three years, I’ve been on a journey with God centered on intimacy. It started late in 2014 when the Lord spoke and challenged me to give my whole heart to him. Wholehearted devotion is not for the faint of heart. It will break and expose us like nothing else can. And it can also lead us into depths of joy and surrender that are too rich for words.

I’ve written elsewhere about things I’ve learned on this journey toward more intimacy in prayer. This year, I add these thoughts to an ongoing list:

  • I’m learning how prone I am to pray my wishlist, and how quickly I lose interest in just having good conversations with Jesus. If I had a dollar for every prayer I’ve prayed in twenty years of ministry asking God to accomplish some thing for me so I can be happy and fulfilled as a pastor, I’d be a rich woman (and the tithe on that would set my church up until Jesus comes back!). In this season, God has revealed to me the joy of being in conversation with him — not just being with him but talking to him about things and sharing hopes and fears without expectation that he will be my Cosmic Fixer who makes it all right. This is about learning to trust God’s character, not his ability to come through for me.
  • I’m learning to seek God’s perspective. Rather than begging him to get on board with my needs (which are defined by my limited perspective), I’m learning to ask God to show me what he sees. This kind of prayer is a doorway into the prophetic. It is a call to God to show me that which is not as if it is. Praying in this way has increased my deep-level joy and decreased my chronic anxiety. I find myself actually believing God’s got this.
  • I’m learning to pray my hungers. I’m hungry for Heaven, for the Kingdom to come, for seeing God move in real and tangible ways, for deeper and more vulnerable love, for purity of motives. I hunger for all those things, but rather than praying for God to make them happen, I’m simply praying so God will hear my heart … and maybe so I can hear it, too.
  • I’m learning to pray for the healing of others. As I’ve let go of my own wishlist prayers, I’ve discovered an increased ability to pray for others’ healing. My gift is inner healing; I rarely see physical healings, but have seen quite a few miraculous inner healings. In this season, God is giving more authority to move around in this realm of prayer. I’m discovering that as I let go of my begging prayers, God is increasing my authority in prayer.

Mostly, I’m realizing just how vast and good God is, and how deep is his well. As I explore this call to wholeheartedness, I find myself hungry and hungrier still. I want to encourage you to explore new pathways in prayer in 2018. Let prayer lead you more deeply into relationship with the One who loved you first and loves you most.

Carolyn Moore

I follow Jesus within the communities of Mosaic Church, Asbury Seminary and the Moore household.

6 thoughts on “Praying in the real world

  1. I too am like Sunny — that season of life of hunger for more of Him. Would you be willing to share your ongoing list of what you have learned/experienced these past 3 years years towards intimacy in prayer? Thanks in advance and I hope that we may someday meet in person. Your writings are a great source of encouragement and challenge to me. My pastor is Rob Townsend and he “introduced” me to you and your writings (via Seedbed) about a year ago.

    1. Such a kind word. I’m so glad these blogs resonate. I’m not sure I can make a list, so much as give you a general impression of how it has happened for me. I’ve leaned in, prayed for a closer walk, sought to understand God better, and asked him to help me know myself better. That part has been huge. I’ve allowed God to show me who I am and I have found great healing in that exercise. Really, this is how all relationships deepen, isn’t it? Two parties just get to know each other more and more, and trust each other more and more …

      1. Thanks for your openness and sharing. I’m reading the book “The Hour that Changes the World” by Dick Eastman — recommended by someone via the Seedbed Daily Text Facebook group. It’s providing new insights and suggestions for ways to “lean in” — and spending an hour daily in prayer (which I’m far from doing — yet) will sure be a good way to get to know someOne better.

  2. A rich life of conversation with the Creator leads into a rich life of fellowship with the Creator and His creation! Prayer changes things- starting with me and my heart. Father, thank you for the leading of Your Holy Spirit, bringing those who seek intimacy into deep communion with You and the Body of Christ, to accomplish Your purposes and release Your power into this needy, desperate world! I ask in Jesus name, amen

  3. Carolyn, how does one take the first steps in praying in this way? Stillness? Contemplation? Meditation? It is too easy to pray “wishlists”, as you say; or to merely pray prayers written by others. How does one begin to discover the intimacy that you seem to be describing? I am at a season in life that I desperately desire this.

    1. It is good to hear your hunger, Sonny. I believe it starts right there, with hunger. Tell God you’re hungry. And then just talk. Simple conversation has been my lifeline lately. I don’t ask for things. I don’t whine. I just tell him what’s on my mind, without expecting a specific response from him. It seems almost trite to write it that way, but for me it works. Lots of conversation at the deep-trust level, and allowing Jesus himself — not his answers to prayer — will satisfy me.

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