Prayer Partnering, Part 2
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Hopefully last week’s post piqued your interest about prayer partnering. And hopefully you have an idea about whom you might like to embark on a journey of prayer with. Before jumping in, I would love to share a few more thoughts about how my prayer partnerships have progressed.
To say I look forward to our Thursday prayer time is not accurate, though I do. I DEPEND on that Thursday prayer time. And thanks to the improving technology of our cell phones, it is easier now to connect. We text one another often when prayer requests can’t wait until Thursday. But also – we regularly share the answers to prayers, so that together we can praise God.
Heather and Debbie are my OG prayer partners, but Ann, Maddie and I also partner in prayer once a week on the phone – every Tuesday morning at 6:30 AM, their time. We are in our 5th year together. This prayer time is equally as precious and powerful even though it has not been as long. That’s because these prayer partnerships have really so very little to do with us, but so much to do with the ONE with whom we are meeting.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…” James 4:8a. As we begin our phone prayer times, we usually pause and remember that God is near to us, that we are boldly approaching his throne of grace, and that he longs to hear us cast our cares and anxieties on him! Just spending those first few minutes remembering who he is sets our minds on his abilities and not our inadequacies.
Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
God tells us to pray. God tells us to pray and not worry. God tells us to pray about everything.
I don’t know about you, but these truths are so very hard for me to follow through with on my own. The beauty of partnering with others in a regular prayer meeting is that we are all anticipating praying for each other. Therefore, on any given week, even if I don’t have a prayer-chain worthy request, I am still asking these precious friends and sisters to pray for me.
I am sure I am not the only one who has experienced that obligatory, but awkward moment at the end of every women’s Bible Study when the leader asks for prayer requests from the group. One of two things usually happens. One: The prayer request question is followed by an even more awkward, brief silence until someone decides that the impending health crisis of a friend or relative is important enough to warrant asking the whole group to pray. This opens the door for other, health-based requests and the final moments of what was a precious study about our amazing God ends with a hopeful word that the great physician might touch one or two of these suffering bodies. Or two: a precious sister is in such a deep crisis that her request becomes the focus of conversation for the next 30 minutes and everyone else remains mute on their minor issues.
Please do not take this the wrong way – we absolutely should pray about health needs and for our friends in crisis. However, this common occurrence can seep into our prayer psyche and leave us feeling that only poor health or a really complicated situation is worthy of mentioning to God.
My point is that praying with my friends every single week has released me from the hints of those erroneous thoughts. Many other misconceptions about prayer, like having the correct format, or needing the correct wording, have also given way to simple honesty before God with my friends. We have learned to exchange our anxiety for God’s peace as we have learned to “pray about everything.”
So after the pause of remembrance and drawing near, we simply start talking to God, and listening to the Holy Spirit. As we pray for one another, The Lord gives us the words, or insights to pray for what we had previously discussed, and he frequently brings to mind scripture or other teachings that speak directly to the heart of what concerns us. It is a beautiful thing to partake of these weekly, holy huddles where God so often gives us his game plans for navigating life!
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
If you have spent any time with me, you have most likely heard about my prayer partners. I share often about these precious friends and our regular phone calls because of the impact they have on my life. I know that they have quite literally carried me through so many challenges.
Last year, when the Covid-19 virus was just starting to shut down life, my husband became quite sick – not with Covid. However, his illness did land him in the hospital multiple times over a six-week period. It was so hard to drop him off, watch him trudge through those emergency room doors and not be able to go in also. I remember leaving him for the 5th time at the hospital and struggling to control my tears and truly being unable to muster the strength to pray, again. I called Debbie. I confessed I didn’t have any faith left, and I needed to borrow some of hers and Heather’s. She prayed with me, over me and for me – and for Todd and our family as well. And she contacted Heather and Ann and Maddie and so many other friends to pray as well. I finally made it home, and Todd did eventually get better. I remain incredibly thankful that in my most desperate times I have praying friends that I can call.
But as I have already said, I am also thankful that I have prayer partners that I can count on in the regular times as well! The mundane, the normal and the simple everyday highs and lows of life are shared with these precious sisters, even though none of us live in the same cities!
Every time we meet in prayer, I like to think of it as making a deposit. This is a concept that I gleaned from Paige Brown, a local Bible teacher. She talked about fulfilling regular spiritual practices, like prayer and church fellowship and Bible study, as making a deposit. When life seems easy or simple, that is when those deposits are made. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, my friends and I are making deposits. The miracle is that when life gets hard, and I need to make withdrawals, in God’s economy I can be assured that I will never write a check that He can’t cash.
To ensure that my prayer partners and I make those regular deposits, we follow a few, simple, unwritten guidelines.
1. Get at least 3 people to agree to call and pray.
2. Set a regular, inconvenient time. We call early in the morning, but it could also be late at night. I labelled it as “regular, inconvenient” because a 9 AM prayer call can easily get displaced by a school event, a doctor’s appointment or some other interruption.
3. Show up, every week. We have had times where one of us might be travelling or unavailable, the other two can still call and pray.
4. Just call and pray.
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Heather often prays these verses or shares them with Debbie and me, and we never tire of hearing them. Through the weeks, months and years of meeting with God and one another, these verses have become reality to each of us. We have lifted one another up, comforted one another, resisted the schemes of the enemy alongside one another and relied on each other’s strength! AND I am convinced that we have even more “reward for our efforts” awaiting us in heaven. Hopefully you can tell that my gratitude to God for my praying companions is immense! I hope and pray that each of you will find 2 or 3 others and begin your own prayer partnerships!
If you have any questions, or simply want to talk with me about the process or benefits, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.