We’ve had the privilege of walking alongside a couple of families who are newcomers to Canada. Both families have come from Africa and are deeply devoted followers of Jesus. We’ve been blessed by our relationship with them in so many ways. They’ve also joined our Home Church (small group), so we have many experiences of engaging Scripture and praying with them.
Recently one family had car trouble, and I met my friend in a parking lot where his car had died. He sat in my car as we waited for the tow truck. He thanked me for my help, and for the inconvenience this was causing. I took the opportunity to thank him for blessing our lives as we have journeyed together. He shared with me that he has been learning from us as he hears us pray.
“You pray as if you are talking with a friend, so relaxed and at ease," he said.
When I asked him if he was accustomed to more ritualistic prayers, he said, “No, we typically pray Scripture. When we pray Scripture, we are speaking God’s Words back to him. We are reminding him of his promises, we are trusting that he will do what he said in his Word.”
My friend went on to quote the words of Isaiah 55:10-11:
“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
He said, “We pray his word, believing that he will do what he said he will do. The word of God does not return void, it will fulfill his purposes.” (NKJV)
I was humbled. Have my prayers been too focused on self? What will it look like if I pray using God’s words to shape my conversation with him?
Marian Lensink is a Resonate Global Mission Local Mission Leader for Classes Hamilton and Niagara in Ontario.