Tag Archives: Prayer

This weekend, my son, Jacob, and a group of 15 students and chaperones from our church are leaving for a week-long missions trip to Puerto Rico. I asked Jacob to help with this week’s post so we can tell you all about his trip.

I chose to go on this trip with my youth group because I think that everyone should experience a missions trip at least once. It lets you see how people live in other parts of the world, and it gives you a chance to get away from the distractions of your life and focus on sharing Jesus with others.

This week in Puerto Rico we will be working with kids at a camp. I have enjoyed helping with VBS at my church for three years, and have attended Bible camp ever since I have been old enough, so this is a good fit for me. We have been practicing songs and skits, some in Spanish (which I do not speak!) to perform for the kids. I’ll be playing the part of Jesus in one of the skits. Some of the students will be sharing their testimonies, as well. We have been preparing some crafts for the kids to do – cutting out tons of little pieces of paper to take along. The airline better not lose that luggage or we’ll have to cut them all out again! There will also be days when we are doing maintenance work at the camp, and a day for sightseeing and going to the beach.

The cost of the trip was $1250, which includes our airfare, housing, food, and supplies for the week. I made the $100 initial down payment from money earned at my part-time job at McDonalds, and some of the cost was offset by fundraisers through the youth group. The rest was raised through support letters which I sent to family. Through their generous support, I made my goal and I’m ready to go! Puerto Rico is an easy location for a missions trip. You get the experience of missions in a foreign culture, but since Puerto Rico is part of the United States, they use U.S. currency and you don’t need a passport or have to deal with customs at the airport.

I am excited to see what God is going to do through the youth of Riverdale Church this week! We appreciate your prayers for safe travels, health and unity for the team, and that many kids’ lives would be changed for Jesus. You can follow our adventure on our trip blog, http://puertorico.myadventures.org/

 

The Power of Prayer

Power of Prayer

A “funny” de-motivational type post I found on the internet: “Prayer: How to do nothing and feel like you’re helping.” Statements like that make me sad, because they expose a fundamental misunderstanding, and also because they contain a grain of truth.
I know that when faced with the problems of friends or family members we have all said, “I’ll pray for you,” and then promptly forgot. I know that praying for someone does not directly fill their empty stomach or physically relieve them of their burdens. But prayer is NOT “nothing.”

1. Prayer Changes ME: When I pray for others, it raises my awareness of the needs around me. It also changes my attitude. This is why we are to pray for our enemies. Prayer softens my heart and protects me from becoming bitter. But praying for our enemies is HARD! I know I’m supposed to, but we’re enemies for a reason, so I’m always tempted to pray little prayers. “God, I’m praying for my enemy because you told me to. So, um, don’t let them get hit by a bus. A car though, no, that’s still too much. A bicycle, maybe, they deserve that much…” I’m pretty sure that’s not what God had in mind. It’s like asking your child to go get your spouse and instead of getting up and doing what you asked, they just start yelling. I can yell, child, I wanted you to get up and go get him so this house can remain quiet and pleasant. We are called to pray for our enemies, to pray instead of worrying, to pray because it corrects our mindset to be more Godly. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer replaces worry with peace. Prayer replaces bitterness with understanding.

2. Prayer is a Tool that God uses to Reveal Himself to us: Growing up in the church, I heard countless stories of people waking in the middle of the night or being struck in the middle of the day with a sudden urge to pray for a particular individual, only to find out later that the individual they were praying for had endured danger or trials at that exact time. Why does the all-powerful, all-knowing God need me to pray? If he woke me up, clearly he’s already aware of the situation, right? I don’t think that God NEEDS our prayers in order to act on behalf of our loved ones. But he longs to communicate with us. And if He prompts us to communicate with Him and we find out later that there was a real need or an answer to our prayers, our faith is bolstered and we are drawn closer to the God who loves us and wants to communicate with us.

3. Prayer is an investment of time: Not everyone has the financial means or physical ability to serve as a missionary or to feed the hungry. Are nursing home-bound seniors on a fixed income worthless to God? Of course not! Prayer creates solidarity and a feeling of being fully vested in ministry. It is an investment with great value! Prayer does not excuse the capable from physically and financially serving those in need, but it allows us to be mindful and supportive of the efforts of others. Matthew 9:38 commands us, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” If you’re aware of a need in this world that you can’t meet yourself, you are commanded to pray and ask God to provide workers who can.

Prayer does not replace helping others, it supplements it. Jesus went off into the wilderness to pray in preparation for his ministry, and he prayed throughout his time on Earth. But he also healed the sick and fed the five thousand. He had regular, intentional times of communicating with his Father and, fueled by that, he then got up and served, loved, and gave of himself. We are commanded to do the same.
James 2:14-18: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

I love stories of answered prayers. Share yours in the comments!

Bonus: Inspirational Printable on Prayer

Prayer Printable