I had the privilege of serving at a youth camp all last week. There are many takeaways from camp, but my biggest may sound incredibly obvious. Camp taught me how to pray. It taught me to pray more often and with more conviction. Camp showed me that God actually listens and He actually answers prayer.
How To Pray
“Can you just pray with me?” This is what the camp director asked me when a situation arose and I asked how I could help. Shortly after we prayed, the situation was resolved within a minute. It was also amazing to see how God answered specific prayers that we were praying for specific students during the week. God tells us to pray, but do we always do it?
Jesus, when teaching about prayer in Matthew 6:5, says, “When you pray…” Notice that He doesn’t say, “If you pray…” Jesus wants us to know that prayer isn’t just an optional add on. He wants us to see that it is an essential starting point. Paul echoed this teaching by telling us not just to pray about some things, but instead, pray about everything.
Pray About Everything
Do you pray about everything? Is that your first instinct? Sadly, it is not always mine. I think the reason is that I sometimes get stuck thinking, “Well, God will do whatever He wants anyway, so why even pray?” There is deep, glorious Biblical proof that God will do whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases, and that proof makes my heart leap with joy. But there is also proof that He tells us to pray! And there is proof in our ministry this last month, as well as proof at last week’s youth camp, that He absolutely will answer our prayers.
Let me give you a glimpse into my own doubts about prayer. Earlier in the year, we were going to be speaking and fundraising at five churches in a span of three weeks. I thought it was going to be an awesome way to launch our nonprofit vision and start fundraising. Then COVID-19 hit and four of the five church gatherings cancelled. The plan I created had failed and I figured fundraising and actually acting on our ministry convictions would be on hold until life became “normal” again.
God Answers Prayer
We were so fired up about meeting urgent needs around the world, but it seemed as if all of it was being put on hold. But we prayed. We began to pray specifically for more personal funds outside of the ministry, as well as more funds for the ministry. And guess what? God answered. He has provided temporary work and income for me outside of the ministry so that the ministry has more to give away. God has also provided an increase of donations to the ministry. Amazing! His ways and plans are much more effective than mine!
In the crazy times that we are living in, we have actually been able to meet urgent needs despite our fundraising cancelations. God has provided in crazy ways. He is not limited by COVID-19. We have been able to provide $2,300 worth of essential kits (food, sanitation, etc.) for our friends in Haiti. It all seemed impossible when the church opportunities were cancelled. But God answers prayer.
Trust Him in Prayer
I want to challenge you, and myself, to start praying more. What if prayer was our default response? I want it to be mine. Instead of being anxious about everything, let’s start praying about everything. God is faithful. He holds the world in His hands, but He still wants to hear from us! He still asks us to pray! Camp taught me how to pray. God’s provision during this crazy time has taught me how to pray. Will you trust Him in prayer?