"If only an audible alarm could jolt us out of our spiritual slumber every day and call us into prayerful action for our community." - Amelia Rhodes
I'm sure you've noticed—the needs of this nation, of our world, are great. Oftentimes as I read the paper in the morning, I am completely overwhelmed by the wretched state of affairs. Natural disasters, government corruption, shootings, budget deficits...the list could go on seemingly forever. My heart breaks and I feel out of control, at a loss for words, and confounded at what I could possibly do to make this world a better place for my children and generations to come. It all seems too far to reach.
But even when it's closer to home, needs are overwhelming. Every year, our newspaper has "Season for Caring." It features twelve families nominated from non-profit organizations from all over the city. This Sunday, the paper introduced us to all of them. I had to stop half-way through. My heart couldn't take the despair, the incomprehensible situations, the depth of the pain. I searched for what I could give, but it seemed my paltry offering paled in comparison to the greatness of the needs.
I have to admit that oftentimes, my first reactions to the crises around me is two-fold: 1) be overwhelmed or devastated 2) figure out if I can tangibly help or not.
But this is a sorry approach because I have greatly diminished the power that my family and I have. I have failed to let prayer take the lead. I have cut God out at the precise moment we need Him the most.
This is dismal. I am a woman of faith, and yet, I allow myself to get derailed by hopelessness time after time.
Why pray? There are so many reason, but here are two I think are incredible important:
- Our words have power. When we ask God to intervene, we interact with a realm we, for the most part, cannot see. Our words have spiritual implications we may never know, but praying God's Word (which is active and alive) into situations can very much be as though we have hands tangibly working in the field. God's Word, in Ephesians 6, is the sword of the Spirit. This sword is used to slay the enemy and his workers. We cannot be physically present at every disaster, but we can certainly pray that God's angels and the Holy Spirit will be.
- Our words build relationship. Prayer is a two-way street. When I pray for others, I can trust that how God wants me to proceed in caring for my community (or the world at large) will be known to me. How? Because He will tell me. God instructs us to care for those who have not and this can take a variety of forms. I can be still and quiet and listen to how He asks me to respond and then follow through accordingly.
Many times, my follow-through is prayer. This is why I love Amelia Rhodes' new book, Pray A to Z. From "adoption" to "zeal," Rhodes' book gives you tangible ways to pray for the needs of yourself and your community.
Furthermore, this is an incredible tool for you to use with your spouse! When Craig and I ask couples what keeps them from praying regularly together, the response is often related to awkwardness or not knowing what to say. This book has two things to help you with that—specific ideas on how to pray on this topic and an actual scripted prayer, as well. You may start praying the scripted prayer together and, as you get more and more comfortable with praying, begin to branch out in praying based on the ideas in the book. You'll begin to see how the Holy Spirit can guide you—in your words and your actions.
Keep reading below and find out more about the book and a fun giveaway!
Learn more about Pray A to Z and how to pray for your community, and enter to win Amelia's Guide to Prayer Prize Pack to get you started.
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A copy of Pray A to Z
- A set of Pray A to Z prayer cards
- A custom wood sign (similar to this one) made by Amelia's friend
- A prayer journal
*I was given a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group for my honest review.