By, Joy Joyner
"Lord, Make me a prayer warrior!"
I prayed this prayer in college with very little understanding of what that actually meant. I knew that I was surrounded by many prayer warriors in my life and it was something that always inspired me. What is so crazy about it all is that I didn’t even realize that God answered that prayer. That is how God works many times. We pray for something and never think of it again but it puts into motion a series of events that we are completely unaware of. Events that change the trajectory of our paths in such a way that we don’t even realize it until we look back and say woah! I didn’t even realize…!
I am at that place in life where I am looking back. It hasn’t been easy, still isn’t easy, but all I can say is wow! It’s almost been like a crazy roller coaster ride, moments that are so fun and amazing you want to repeat them and then others that you just aren’t sure you are going to make it out alive. It’s been in those moments that I have been pushed into prayer. I had no other option. Like a scream that has to escape while riding down the steepest slope of the coaster all you can think to do is pray!
What is interesting is that I am not typically a screamer on a roller coaster. It’s just not something that I have to do. I’m quite content just riding in silence while I brace for the impact.
Until recently that is.
A couple years ago we bought a season pass to DollyWood. My kids love it but they don’t love the scary coaster rides. I finally convinced my daughter to go on a slightly scary one. She was not enjoying it at all. It is then that I discovered the scream. In order to make if fun for her I started to scream on the coaster encouraging her to scream to release the tension and fear and have some fun. It worked! She learned to love it and I learned to scream because it just makes it that much more fun!
I feel that many of us need to learn how to “scream” out in our prayer life! Many of us don’t instinctually “scream” when we face the scary seasons of life. We run to our friends, we seek out counsel, we research, we silently roll things over in our mind again and again. While none of those things are wrong in and of themselves those are our first instincts.
It’s time to change that. It’s time to teach ourselves the art of “screaming out in prayer” as a first instinct. Let me illustrate the difference of the approaches and how they may impact your final outcome.
Let’s use marriage. For many of us, that is a huge struggle where satan tries to attack so I believe this illustration will speak to many. Some details are based on real life events. For years your marriage has been struggling. You finally, through self introspection, research and studying God’s Word, have learned some areas that are causing the failure and are trying to make changes. Change is never easy and because not all are on board it creates some intense, unhealthy, situations.
Scenario 1 without prayer:
You begin to do research, your search leads you to youtube channels bashing the personality of your spouse and hating on the behavior. You begin to despair. Everyone tells you there is no hope and that your best option is to leave and start fresh. You seek counsel, the counsel you receive only pities you and feeds your despair and hopelessness. You lose sleep , thoughts swirling in your mind blowing everything out of proportion. You finally remember to pray but it just doesn’t seem to work or help. Thoughts continue to swirl and build anxiety and depression. You feel helpless, and victimized…
Scenario 2 with prayer:
You begin your day with prayer, praying the example of the Lord’s prayer, you focus on His promises for you and His love for you. You ask God for strength, courage, wisdom and discernment. You pray for wise counsel.
You begin researching, your search leads you to youtube channels bashing the personality of your spouse and hating on the behavior. You begin to despair. You remember you need to seek God’s Word, He leads you to a scripture that says those who trust in Him will not despair at bad news. You are strengthened and encouraged. You write the verse down so you can see it to remind you every day of His promise. You seek counsel, the counsel you receive only pities you and feeds your despair and hopelessness.
The Holy Spirit encourages you and tells you He has some bread for you. Later that evening as you are researching some more you come across a story of someone who went through similar things as you and now their marriage is thriving. They explained the tough things they had to go through to get there. Your hope is restored.
A few weeks later, God brings a Lady in your life to mentor you through the tough things that have to be done and encourage you in them. Your thoughts are swirling around at night in your head as you think on the overwhelming tasks and try to fight off the lies. You get up and go to your prayer closet and pray your heart out to Him, you release all the tension and emotion, then go back to bed knowing that God is in control and He has this. You rest peacefully. You do the hard things which create hard situations. You begin to feel hopeless then the Holy Spirit clearly, sternly, and lovingly tells you that you are not a victim! You are emboldened and encouraged to press on knowing that God is with you and He will not leave you and you will get through this!
I hope this helps someone who may be on a rollercoaster and for those who are not yet in that place, you will be. I encourage you to let your first instinct be to “Scream”!!!