Prayer and Life DirectionDear Daughter,
In my last letter I shared some thoughts about how to give your life direction. I would like to continue those thoughts. There is another important factor that shapes our lives. That factor is our spirituality, or our relationship with God.
If you pray and ask God to use you and your life for his purposes, your prayers will be answered, if you are sincere. This is a submission to God and a willingness to walk through opened doors, or opportunities, to serve God and others. If you pray this prayer, it''s a good idea to also pray for the wisdom and insight to recognize when a door opens for you.
Prayer is real. God is real, as is the Holy Spirit and Jesus. It is easy to begin thinking that God and church are more of a social function than anything else. In fact, Church does serve as a social function and as a type of support group for Christians. We meet to encourage one another and to help each other grow. This is one of the purposes of church.
These things are the "seen" part of church. Just as the "seen" is real, so is the "unseen." Again, God is real. The Holy Spirit is real. Jesus was and is real. When you pray, your prayers are heard.
I believe that prayers are sometimes said out of routine and without proper respect. Use your imagination as you read this. Suppose that you are allowed only one prayer in your lifetime. You decide that today is the day you will use this one prayer. You go to a private place for this prayer. Just as you bow your head, a bright flash of light, like lightening, fills the room. At first you are blinded by the flash, and then you realize that it wasn''t a flash at all. The unbelievably bright light continues to fill the room. Your heart pounds and you notice trembling in your arms and legs. Suddenly, the light becomes even more intense and you panic. As you turn to find the door, you hear a thunderous, powerful voice that is unusual; it sounds like three voices speaking in unison. It is a frightening and awesome sound. Then just as suddenly as it began, the powerful three voices come together as one. You hear and you understand:
"Don''t be afraid my child, for I am your Heavenly Father and I love you very much. I knew you before you were born, I know you now and I will know and be with you when you leave this earth. I am here now to listen. I want to hear what you have to say. What you say is important to me because I love you more than you can understand."
How would you pray? Would your approach to the prayer be any different than usual? Prayer is powerful and real. Prayer is your direct hotline to God. In addition, when you pray, you are not praying alone. The Holy Spirit is helping with your prayer by communicating your deepest thoughts and needs, even the things that you don''t know how to verbalize or pray for. Do you see why I say that prayer is powerful?
Answered prayers shape and give direction to our lives. Prayer is powerful and prayers are answered. I suppose some people would have a different opinion on this, but it has been my experience that prayers are usually answered by the opening and closing of doors. An exception would be prayers for the seriously ill. I have talked with several people who have witnessed remarkable medical recoveries in response to sincere prayer. Again, my experience has been that prayers are often answered by a door closing in one direction and opening in another. On the surface, it can appear to be coincidental, chance, or good luck. However, as you go through life, remember what you are praying for and look backwards with 20/20 hindsight. You will find that there are just too many coincidental events. You will realize that God''s hand was involved.
I hope that you pray. When you pray, pray as if you are praying that once in a lifetime prayer. Remember that you have God''s attention and he wants to hear what you have to say. When you pray, don''t forget to praise God. This just means let God know that you recognize His greatness, that He is all-powerful, the one and only God, and that you love and praise Him. Also, don''t forget to thank God for all He has given you. Then, pray for other''s needs and your own needs. I hope that you ask God to help you get through the teenage years, to help you get through the dating years safely, and to eventually marry a godly man. You might also pray for God to use you for his purposes, which is what brought us to the topic of prayer to start with.
So, I would suggest that our lives are directed and shaped by our choices, some random events, and God''s intervention in response to prayers. We can choose to drift through life and hope that things turn out all right, or we can choose to influence our direction in life through prayer and good choices. I hope you choose wisely and I hope that you pray. I will be praying for you.
Alan Yarbrough, Ed. D. is a retired psychologist. Letters to my Daughter is a series of heart-touching letters written by a Christian psychologist to his teenage daughter. These letters deliver what most parents want to say, but rarely do. Available at http://www.pricelessebooks.com or http://www.amazon.com