October 19, 2012

More about Prayer

     Prayer has been a big part of my life in this spiritual season. I know I've written a bit about prayer in my past posts, but I just have to write more.
   
     Even before going to Nicaragua I had to step out in prayer. I had to choose between going to Guatemala or Nicaragua. Adventures in Missions had a 1 month trip to either one. I knew God was calling me to Latin America, but I had no clue where. I prayed for about one week. I went back and forth between each one. Whenever I resolved I would sign up for Guatemala, I kept on thinking what would happen if Nica is where I should go? Whenever I resolved to sign up for Nica, I had peace. It was awesome. God answered my prayer! Looking back I can't imagine having gone to Guatemala instead. I needed team Nicaragua. I needed the leaders. I needed the place. I needed the ministry. It was perfect for me. God is so good!
  
     After I had chosen to go to Nicaragua I still had a lot of prayer to do. I was so nervous about every aspect of the trip: money raising, if I would be ready spiritually, if I would be ready physically, if I could handle being away from my family for a month, and if it was really what I was suppose to be doing. Everyday at my quiet time I would pray about these things. Later on when it was time to send out my prayer cards, I prayed for those things too. I prayed for safety, team unity, fluency in speaking Spanish, the ability to show God's love, and opportunities to make a difference. These were the things that God laid on my conscience that I just really desired for my team and for the people of Nicaragua.
   
     Again, looking back, I see God answered my prayers, and the prayers of those who were praying along with me. My team was united ever since we met. We just... meshed. It was amazing to watch. We were all very, very different, but we all loved each other, cared for each other, and appreciated each other. I don't know if it was the worship, our leaders, testimony time, or just prayer, but God worked mightily in giving us team unity. As I wrote in an earlier post, our living conditions were not healthy. God protected me from getting sick, and protected all of us from getting anything serious.God fixed up the whole fluency in speaking Spanish thing in a way that blessed all of us. He gave us the best translator ever, Maricela. She was part of our team. She hung out with us, shared her testimony with us, and was so good at her job. I sometimes think she didn't even need us. Yes, when I prayed for fluency I meant it for myself, but I think things worked out for the better.
  
     As to showing God's love and opportunities to make a difference: GOD IS AMAZING. My team was able to pay for a wedding for a couple. I'm sure that spoke volumes of love into the lives of the whole community. We also made a difference in that community by leading 7 people to the Lord. We even gave them Bibles, and some of them we were able to do Bible studies with. Those studies were some of my opportunities that God gave me.
      Then, when the mission trip was going on, prayer came alive. About a week before leaving day our newly met on Facebook leader, Jessie, suggested that we all bring a new book or two to read on the trip. I had no new books at the time, so off to Barns and Noble I went. After skimming the Christian isle, picking up books, putting books back, almost deciding on a book, and then putting the book back again (it's such a big decision to pick out a book for a mission trip) I decided on buying the newest book by Ted Dekker (to read when I got home) and then Praying God's Word by Beth Moore.
  
     I'm looking at that book right now. It's well used. In Nica I never knew what to pray. Even whenever we would pray healing over the elderly women Socorra, I had no idea what to pray- until I started reading my book. That book has gotten wet, is totally grimy, has bat poop stains on it, water stains, smells, and been underlined to almost the point of death. Praying God's Word is powerful. I recommend that everyone read it. Sometimes you know verses that are so triumphant and so powerful, but you just don't know how to get them into prayer, and sometimes you can't find the verse to fit your need. The book does all that for you. The topics cover depression, idolatry, bitterness, battling the enemy, and lots of others. Even after coming home that book has been put to good use.
 
    Another good book about prayer showed up into my life the day I left my Nicaragua team and went home. We were all hanging out in the Atalanta airport after having debriefed at a hotel the night before. All of us were dreading the inevitable good-bye time. We were joyful. Yes, of course we were sad and crying, but we were joyful. For what we knew was the last time we worshiped God together (yes, we did that in the airport), we prayed together, we hugged- a lot, and we said our final words of encouragement to each other. Maybe we looked different from everyone else in the usual Saturday in the summer crowd at an airport or something, but the airport chaplain came over and asked if he could pray with us. He had never seen a group of young people praying in the airport before. He then gave us some books. The book he gave to each of us was a book called Psalm 91 God's shield of Protection: Military Edition, it was military edition because the Atlanta airport is the one soldiers deploy from. That book is amazing. I read that thing the entire time during my 2 hour plane trip going home. It explains how we can reap God's provision when we pray for things, and those things are listed in Psalm 91. It also gives numerous stories recounting God's faithfulness in saving people's life when they called out to Him to save them. One of them is about an American airman in world War II, Captain Eward W. Rickenbacker, who was stranded, near death, in the South Pacific for 24 days. He is forever thankful to have called out to God for deliverance. He, and the seven other men with him, experienced numerous miracles. The first one was that their four motor engine plane crash landed in the ocean without serious injuries. Another was when, eight days into it, a gull landed on Captain Rickenbacker's head, right after they held their prayer service, and stayed there long enough to get caught. Before this they had been surviving on 2 oranges. After they ate the bird they were able to use the innards as bait and catch 2 fish. They were also sent a rainstorm by God so that they could catch drinking water (they had not been able to rescue any drinking water from the sinking plane). 
   
     All this is because of the power of payer. It's the power of crying out to the God who is in control of every little thing that goes on. It's a lot of power to tap into, and prayer is that tap. As Psalm 91:14-16 says:


Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; 
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him. 
With long life I will satisfy him 
and show him my salvation.”

There is also one last verse I just have to share as well, Isaiah 63:9:
In all their (speaking of those He gives Salvation to) distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.



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