Until I was about 12, my parents didn’t go to church. On Sunday mornings, my mom’s mom, Mamaw Deloney, insisted that they bring me, my sister, and my brother to her house, which was six miles away. She and Granddad took us to services.
Mama and daddy would come to pick us up and eat lunch. Often I stayed over and went to church with my grandparents on Sunday evening. That led to a memory that branded my childhood.
Granddad would often go outside to stretch his legs after the Sunday afternoon football game on television (one game for the whole day!) Mamaw took advantage of the quiet to slip away to her fortress of solitude, her bedroom. There she prayed and prepared her heart for the Sunday evening service.
Often I would still be in the living room as I heard Mamaw “raising heaven” in the back bedroom. If I get still, I can still feel the power and urgency of those prayers as my grandmother spoke with the One she loved so fervently. Her prayers not only touched heaven, they also touched and changed me.
I have hundreds of memories of this remarkable little country lady—apple pie, fried chicken, stories, hugs, etc—but those prayers hover near the top of the list.
I wonder what my grandchildren will remember about me.
Mamaw’s prayers were fervent, not just loud. I’ve heard people thunder prayers that shook the dust out of the rafters, but I’m not sure heaven listened. Samuel’s mother prayed and only her lips moved (1 Samuel 1:13). Still, a remarkable son resulted from her praying. Loud or quiet, the prayer that moves heaven is full of heart, heat, and faith.
“The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMPC)
Prayers that raise heaven ache for what they ask for. If you’ve got an answer figured out or you don’t really care if God answers your prayer or not, why should He care? This poses a problem because we’re asked to pray for a ton of people and situations and many of them we don’t know. How can you feel your prayers in that case?
Sometimes I try to put myself in the person’s place asking prayer. What if that was my son or daughter? What if I faced death?
The other secret weapon that God gives to help us care is the Holy Spirit. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom. 8:26-28, ESV)
A third principle of prayer that succeeds is an “I’m-going-to-have-this-or-else” attitude. I love Jesus’ story of the little lady dealing with the crooked judge. She had faith that this scoundrel was going to help her or he would wish he had. And he did.
Now, God wants to answer your prayer, but he also wants to develop an attitude of faith and persistence in you. That attitude will serve you as well as an answered prayer, because you learn not to quit. Here’s how faith prays:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7, 8 NLT)
Do Your Prayers Raise Heaven?
When your kids and grandkids think back on you, what will they remember? Will they remember you raising heaven or raising something else?
Get busy making memories for the generations who follow you. And get some prayer results yourself while you are at it.
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