7/21/10

Incense Rising

Choosing Intimacy and Legacy


Voices and Choices of the True Woman Movement (Part 8)

I recently read a powerful magazine issue that focused on prayer: Revive, a publication of Life Action Ministries. In that magazine, men and women of God challenged readers to look at prayer in fresh ways. In the heart-searching "Making It Personal" section, the reader discovers 10 hindrances to effective prayer (unconfessed sin, selfishness, praying for show, a proud spirit, unresolved conflicts, an unforgiving spirit, lack of compassion, giving up too soon, lack of fervency, and unbelief).

The Lord balanced all of this heart-searching in my reading with some words by Fern Nichols in another source, the book Voices of the True Woman Movement. Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Touch International, spoke at True Woman '08 on how to grow closer to the Lord and leave a lasting legacy through prayer. She says that we cannot give a greater gift to those we love.

Prayer is so simple that even a child can do it, and yet the most eloquent woman in a relationship with Jesus also needs to pray. As Fern says, "Prayer is an equal opportunity undertaking." God tells us that prayer is powerful. He wants us to ask so we will receive. He wants us to experience the joy of answered prayer (John 16:24).

Fern says, "I'm convinced that one of the most wonderful things about prayer is that it enables us as women to leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren. Long after we're gone and our lives are but a memory, God will still be responding to the faithful, fervent prayers we've offered on behalf of our dear ones."

The effect of our prayers, as God works through them in accordance with his will, is a legacy that will outlive our earthly lifetime.
Fern talks about the prayers that she offered up for her son, a prodigal in high school and college. She wanted to see her prayers answered right away. When change didn't come, she kept persevering in prayer. Year after year, there seemed to be no answer to her desperate praying. She says, "We couldn't see it at the time, but God was acting in hidden ways, performing His wonders of redemption." We must have the confidence that God hears us (1 John 5:14-15).

"The incense still rises before His throne," Fern says. "I believe the incense of those prayers continues rising up before the loving gaze of my God in heaven. I believe this is eternal stuff." The lesson is, don't give up; He will answer in His time. The problem is that we grow impatient and become fatigued. We need to commit to intentional prayer every day, even if it's only for five or 10 minutes. We must pray when we feel like it and pray when we don't. It also helps to pray together (to gather in support of one another, interceding for our children and grandchildren).

Fern Nichols, of course, began a ministry for moms, encouraging them to pray for their family members. She shares incredible stories of the miracles that happened because women fervently prayed. She believes that God has called us to partner in prayer (Matthew 18:19-20). We pray in the unity of faith. This is God's design.

Sometimes our pain for our loved ones is so deep, we can only groan together, because we don't know what to say. Our Heavenly Father hears our wordless, groaning prayers, and He understands. As we pray in unity, we grow stronger together.

Fern suggests four kinds of prayers, and these are our choices in prayer to leave a powerful legacy:
(1) prayers of praise (Psalm 9:10)
(2) prayers of confession (James 5:16; Hebrews 10:22-23)
(3) prayers of thanksgiving (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
(4) prayers of intercession (Isaiah 55:11)

Fern says that she is praying for an army of praying women in every nation who will be obedient to God's call and never tire until his will is done on earth and his spirit moves in the hearts of our loved ones and the needy souls around us. Our legacy of prayer is powerful. It is a gift. Fern says that nothing is as personal and powerful (and perhaps as "dangerous") "in the loving, all-knowing hands of our wonderful God than the fervent prayers of the righteous."

What legacy are you leaving for your children, grandchildren, and others you love? Is it a legacy of prayer?
Fern will be one of the speakers at True Woman '10 in Indianapolis and Ft. Worth.

5 comments:

Marja said...

Thanks Dawn! I can never have too many books on prayer... I'm learning new things all the time!

Dawn Wilson said...

The book isn't all about prayer, Marja -- just Fern's chapter ... but I think you would love (and embrace) all the messages. I highly recommend it.

I hope you are staying cool where you are ... it's hot and muggy here.

Dawn Wilson said...

Oh ... you meant the magazine? Yes. that is an awesome resource!

crazydaisy said...

Awesome! I love how you refresh my walk with Christ! YOU are a resource, Dawn!

Dawn Wilson said...

Thank you, Crazy Daisy. I can't think of a more meaningful comment - "you refresh my walk with Christ." Wow ... that encourages me to try to "refresh" others. (I know that it is really the Lord who refreshes our soul ... but what joy to be used to encourage that process.)
Bless you!