By Noëlle Ciganek
Prayer is often described as a conversation between a person and God. While that is no doubt true to an extent, it is unlike any other conversation known to man! Prayer has become a way of life for me…it is what keeps me going throughout each day, both guiding and strengthening every aspect of my life. I cherish that prayer can be done out loud or in my heart when no one around me has any idea that I’m talking to the Almighty!! It is both deeply personal, and at the same time, able to be shared with others.
What has amazed me about prayer is that its purpose has evolved for me over the years. It used to be mostly my laments and requests, but prayer has changed the very core of who I am! I never cease to be amazed and in awe that the Creator of the universe asks me, even commands me, to come to Him! He does not need me to pour out my heart to Him, but He wants me to do so for my sake! Time and again, as I tell Him my frustrations, fears, and failures, He changes my heart, even if not the circumstances, allowing me to see as He sees! My heart is transformed, allowing a new, always more positive and hopeful perspective! Psalm 37:4 tells us to “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As I spend time with the LORD in prayer and in His word, that’s exactly what He does…but I have found that He changes my desires to align with what He wants for me, not what I originally thought I wanted for myself. I desire more and more of Him, and that’s exactly what I get!! He is that good!!
I also know from experience the power that prayer has as we call on Him “to find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). I was leaving the doctor’s office two years ago after being told that my pregnancy had a 50/50 chance it would continue, just six weeks after a miscarriage, when I heard God say, “Pray and believe!” I also felt Him leading me to share our situation with others, inviting them to join in on the miraculous work God was beginning inside me. For the three weeks between that appointment and the next ultrasound, many were praying for God to grow and breathe life into this baby. At the next ultrasound, there she was, a precious baby being formed and knitted together by His hand with a strong, healthy heartbeat! I was humbled by the prayers of those God had brought along to pray with us for the life of this baby and then get to rejoice with us in answered prayer! This experience was hugely life-changing for me as He gave me the opportunity to be a part of the power of prayer.
Another aspect of prayer that God has taught me is taking His words and praying them over my family, friends and circumstances. I found that I was coming to God with, “I don’t know what to pray!” (which He says is okay to do, see Romans 8:26), so I began to take scriptures, insert names of those for whom I’m praying, and go from there! I know that I am praying His will when I use His own words in my prayers and even more confident that He will answer!! For example, from Psalm 40:11, “Do not withhold Your mercy from __________, LORD; may Your love and faithfulness always protect him/her.”
I have verses for each of my children and verses for my husband that God has given me to pray. In addition, I pray the attributes of God over my children through a Moms In Prayer group that I lead for my son’s school.
My hope is prayer will be more than just a conversation for you, that it will be a way of life, connecting you moment by moment to the Giver of Life, and as your heart connects with His, you will find Him to be your delight!