Several years ago, I was in a writing ministry to prisoners. I met a mother online at a prison ministry website, and she asked me to do a favor. Her son had been put in prison with a few years left to go. She wanted me to write to him and help him grow in his faith. It was a grand privilege to do this and so I began writing him. This is a passion of mine, to pour into people and teach them what it means to be a person of honor and principle.
Circumstances do not define who we are; they reveal who we are. “…you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith…though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
As the months went by, I would also correspond with this mother online. Her son never wrote me back, but he would tell her of some of the things that I was telling him, and sometimes she would let me know. I was so impressed by this mother’s love for her son. She would make long travels by bus to go visit him. She too was growing in her faith. We all need to grow in our faith. Adversity is a great teacher for growing in our faith.
Often the things that are tearing you apart are what God is using to build you up. “…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
To grow in your faith, it does not matter as much where you start from but the direction you are going. “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105 NLT).
One day this mother messaged me something that she wanted to pray to God about. It was the pouring out of her heart and her desire to have her son released from prison. It was very raw and blunt and uncensored. I told her that I thought this is precisely the kind of prayer that God would want her to give. How much we need to open our hearts to God by which He can then fill our heart with His love and His comfort.
The level of our faith is revealed in the confidence we have as we pray for things. Jesus taught, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).
Those who pray much will be filled much by the presence of God. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
So, this mother ended up handwriting this prayer and pinning it to a wall above a shelf. On the shelf, she lit a candle. She was a Catholic, and most certainly Catholics love to use candles. What a glorious image that a candle has, a selfless light shining hope in a darkened world. Perhaps more of us would benefit from using candles in our prayer and worship.
Secret prayers impress God more because they are not trying to impress man. “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6).
When you are standing in the light, darkness cannot come near you. “But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7 Living Bible).
Seven days later, this mother was looking across the room at her prayer pinned to the wall with the candle still burning just below it. Suddenly, the candle went out. At that very moment the phone rang, and it was her son. He told her of a great miracle, that they were releasing him early from prison. He would be home in just a few short days. The prayer had been answered. A mother was soon reunited with her precious son.
If you need a miracle, then just pray for one. Peter told the beggar who was lame from birth, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
God wants you to graduate to higher levels of believing. Jesus taught, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22).
In whatever you are praying for, trust that God can hear you, and believe that God can do anything. Don’t worry about grammar or style in how you might pray, but just tell Him how you feel from the heart that He has given you. God loves you. God cares about you. No matter what your circumstances are, He is yet able to deliver you by His great and mighty hand.
God is the power of prayer. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up…” (James 5:15).
God knows the answer before the problem. “…For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).
Blessings to you,
All Scripture is quoted from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. Please use the version you prefer to review the verses shown here. The best version is the one you read. An even better version is the one you live.