The Thing About Prayer

I’m sitting here staring at a blank screen — wanting to write …needing to write …write  about prayer and wondering where on earth to start. I don’t have a formula to share or 3  outline points and a song — just my heart, which usually flows out in pieces that seem to fit together like a puzzle by the end of the story.

It seems that more and more there are situations in my life that just plain can’t be “fixed” in my normal mode of operation — which sounds very funny to me as I see my own words in print:   “my normal mode of operation”.  My normal mode of operation is always (and I mean always !) to try to find a solution to the problem or problems at hand and put that solution into motion …quickly ! Most of the time this quick-fix approach has just as much to do with my own comfort and happiness  as it does with the others who might be involved.  So often my hurry-up-and-get-it-done-and-out-of-here attitude is because I don’t like tension or conflict and that out-of-control feeling.  Funny thing is, most of “real life” is totally out of my control but I’ve humored myself into thinking I might have a little say-so in my immediate realm I call “my world”.   The truth is, “humoring myself” is really a  less indicting phrase that more accurately is  “deceiving myself “.

Life happens.  People are messy.  Change is inevitable.  Not everyone’s  happy.  Moods swing.   Disaster strikes.  Ropes end.  Money runs out.  Emotions run hot.  Tempers flare.  Hearts cool.  Problems surface;  some are buried.  Words fly. Memories land.  Opinions form.  Feelings crumble.  Energy wanes.   Hope waits.

Then prayer enters — that simple, honest,  talking things over with my Father in heaven. I vent. He listens.  I sob. He comforts. I pour out. He pours in.  He speaks.  I listen. We walk together as friends.

Life still happens.  People are still messy.  Change is still inevitable.

However…   Perspective changes.  Heart attitudes change.  Love happens.  Faith believes. Hearts soften.  Peace comes.  Burdens lift.  Stories are redeemed.  Broken are  restored.  Truth revealed.  Needs met.  Confessions unearthed. Sins forgiven. Grace sowed.  Healing begins.  Holy Spirit  fills. Peace reigns.  Joy returns.

And God reminds me so vividly …prayer just has to be a part of my everyday life and fiber of existence!

 “Prayer first; prayer before anything else or there isn’t anything else.” (words with and

The real battle is not with messed up people like myself; the real battle is in the spiritual realm.

 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesian 6

This is new territory and the weapons needed are not of this world .  And with the needed equipment  for the day’s journey– truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith,  salvation, the Word of God —  we pray through and press through and praise God through it all.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6)

Luke 18:1
 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

                                 1 Thessalonians 5:17   (HCSB)                                                                 Pray constantly.

Photo of my Mom, Helen Waters, taken by my nephew and her grandson, Andrew Waters

My Mom always told me — “Pray about everything” — and I’ll add to that for my children — “…and pray all the time!”   It is the “thing” to do !  It’s the best thing to do!  It’s having ongoing conversations with God about situations that only He  can fix anyway.  My “mode of operation” needs to change.  More of life happens in the spiritual realm than we realize and prayer helps me enter that realm where Jesus reigns.  I enter into that sweet place of  worship and  rest and fellowship with confidence …and ask for His mercy and grace to help me in my time of need once again.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

And, while I love just talking to God all by myself and for myself 😉 …praying with others and for others is a must-have accessory in this walk with Jesus.

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

This can’t be a “chunk prayer” at the beginning of every day or a “closing prayer” at day’s  end.  I have to call Jesus on the phone in the morning and keep the line open all day and even into the night.  This is cell phone service at a whole new level !  At any given moment in the day I might pull the phone out of my pocket and say, “Jesus !  Did you hear that?  She’s hurting badly!  What do I say?  What do I do? Please help her.”  Or I might need to take a long walk while on the phone with Jesus as I sort through words spoken that wounded me or someone I love …”How can I love that person, Jesus?  Help me to love them in spite of what they said.  Forgive them, Jesus,  for they don’t realize the pain they’re causing.  Give me your heart for them — mine’s not very pretty right now !  And when I don’t  know how to pray, I’ll pray like You taught us and leave the “fixing” up to You…

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,
your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

(from Matthew 6, NIV)

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. dawn aldrich

    Oh Joy, this is my heart tonight. I’m one of those fix-it gals. Thanks for the reminder that in everything, pray!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      We’ll keep reminding each other Dawn as we walk this journey ! Glad it was encouraging to you !

  2. Dianne Pace Hunt

    Joy there is a verse in the Bible that says.”pray without ceasing” and as my life is rolling along that verse has become life to me. Today my grandson Noah celebrated his 6th birthday in heaven and praying to the God of all hope has grounded me today! thank you for your words on prayer! I love you!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Oh Diane !!! I’m Nana to 3 grandchildren now so I can only imagine how hard that loss must have been ! I am so sorry. Thank God we have Him as our Comforter and Healer! I love you too !

  3. Honest. Authentic. Real life giving moments to ponder right here, my dear sister. Thank you for yet another reminder that prayer, constant and incessant, is my only place of peace. Yet how easy it is to let it be the first thing to crawl off the table. Life comes so fast. Unless I capture its essence first thing, I’m in trouble. God is helping me to intentionally and diligently seeking this practice in a life-giving exercise of free-flow-Father-God communication . . . all day . . . even after rising from my place of communion each morning. It’s a cherished existence. Life-giving. Life-changing. Life-healing. Period. Thank you for openness and wisdom. Your heart knows Him and it shows. I love you to pieces sweet sister!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      So encouraging Mary Jane ! …still learning 😉 I love you !

  4. Carrye

    Oh Mom, we may be states apart but it is comical that God seems to be working similarly in our hearts so often. I’m totally guilty of wanting to control and fix problems quickly- just reading about “in all your ways acknowledge him” (which a note in my Bible says more literally means to “know God” in all your ways)…and today Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” You talk about pouring out your heart…and it’s like you said, we aren’t ever in control of things but acknowledging that is part of trusting God. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!! Skype soon?

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Oh Carrye … I love you and am so glad we are walking this journey together !

Go for it! Leave a comment. :-)