Let me tell you about my Uncle Fred and one of the ways he influenced my life. Uncle Fred lived with us when I was very young.
I loved to watch Uncle Fred come through the doorway for any reason. He stood about 6’ 5” and always had to stoop down to get through. He was a man of few words and had a dry humor that rumbled just below the surface all the time. His favorite thing to do with me was to pick me up in his strong arms, flip me upside down and let me walk around on the ceiling. With my vivid imagination, this was magical and made Uncle Fred my hero.
Our parents, uncle and grandmother were in the ministry and prayer was a large part of our daily lives. When Uncle Fred prayed, he bowed his head kind of to one side, folded his hands behind his back, drooped his shoulders and the first words out of his mouth were always “Great God, Almighty!!”. When he said that so fervently, I just knew, without a doubt that God was GREAT, and God was ALMIGHTY and probably could do anything Uncle Fred was going to bring up for His review.
Over the years I have naturally continued to believe in the power of serving others through prayer. People who are religious and people who are not usually have no trouble agreeing with this point of view and have some anecdote they can look back upon where prayer saved the day for them. Others, when filled with joy, can speak of their gratitude for the blessings they are experiencing.
*Removes barriers between people for a common cause
*Verbalizes and gives focus to a problem
*Creates hope in a source of power to act on a matter out of our control
*Creates a sense of support in the accomplishment of a goal
*Provides a vehicle for expressing thankfulness when the prayer is “answered”
Prayer removes barriers by exposing vulnerabilities in a safe, private loving way to the person praying with you. It lifts them up to an outside, powerful source Who can and desires to help.
By verbalizing and focusing on a problem, we open ourselves up to the possibility of change and unknowingly free ourselves from some of the self -defeating attitudes that keep us from growing and changing.
Discouragement obviously accompanies seemingly insurmountable problems. This is squashed at least a little when someone, a stranger or a friend, comes along side you. An offer of prayer creates hope that someone more powerful than you can fix things.
Receiving the gift of prayer creates that sense of support in knowing that another human being is agreeing with us. This opens our heart and mind to the possibility of things improving and belief in the desired end result.
Praying together over the need or concern of another is an act of selfless giving. It is investing in the ultimate success of that other individual. It is a core value of building a true and lasting relationship…giving with no expectation of personal gain.
My heart can’t imagine how those who believe in nothing but their own personal power know what to do with gratitude.
Prayer provides a perfect vehicle for expressing thankfulness. When we are in alignment with God and at least one other human being over a situation or need and focused, we are better able to receive the answer. We actually cooperate in the creation of the answer and will recognize it when it comes. When it does come to fruition, we cannot but be filled with joy and gratitude. The best place for this to be expressed is again in prayer, the original source of focus while it was still a problem.
Perhaps you’ve had someone in your life like my Uncle Fred whose prayers were strong and sure and encouraged you to pray the same way. Or was there someone with a sweet quiet voice, but no less sure that they were heard-who helped you realize a prayer can also be the smallest whisper?
Or, have you had the experience of a stranger praying for you and it was the catalyst to change, growth or success in overcoming an insurmountable problem?