Todd Forrest has lived his whole life in ministry, growing up as a pastor’s and missionary’s son. He has been in active ministry since 1990, and continues to pastor today. He is a board member of Children of Promise International, caring for orphans in 12 countries. He and his wife, Debbie, have three children, two of which are GCU students.
Prayer. As we look at our initial Spiritual Growth Challenge, it brings an immediate reaction to each of us. How can something so simple have volumes of books written about it, yet its effectiveness and consistent use in our lives, seems to elude us?
We can point to times when we have prayed for something and it did not happen. Personally, I am so glad some of those prayers did not come true. God’s plan for my life was a much greater blessing than the prayers that blossomed from such a limited understanding. We all seem to know what prayer is. Charles Spurgeon stated it well when he said, “True prayer is neither mere exercise nor vocal performance. It is far deeper than that—it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth” (Sermons by Spurgeon).
1. Pray in Humility
It is a sobering thought as we delve deeper into a consistent life of prayer that prayer is not about changing our environment or situations as much as it is about changing us. Jesus gave us a pattern in the Bible and clearly stated, “When you pray…” (Matthew 6:5) We may not be delivered from our situation or our sickness, but we have the grace to face every day. This is spiritual maturity.
You may have seen one of our graduates roll across the stage to get his diploma this spring in the College of Theology. As a quadriplegic, he pulled straight A’s through his time here at GCU. I found a depth of spiritual understanding of his situation beyond mere healing. I asked him once about healing and I paraphrase his remark that etched on my memory. “I pray for healing, but that does not stop me from being thankful to God every day and pursuing what he has called me to.” Prayer was not a way out of his situation, it is a link to the heart of God propelling him forward for a higher calling in spite of worldly challenges.
2. Pray in Faith
Now, this should not dissuade you from praying bold prayers. I have seen the sick healed. I have seen people delivered from demons. I have seen radical transformations in people’s lives and in situations because of prayer. I have a friend in India that has, on two occasions seen a dead person raised to life.
This is verified by a Muslim chief in a Muslim village (it really is an article in itself). Either God is impotent or he is omnipotent. There is nothing more fulfilling in my life than to lay hands on people and see the power of God manifest in a miracle in the life of another. I encourage you to step out in personal prayer, but also step out in boldness to pray for someone else. It will change both of you!
3. Pray in Surrender
So, how do I live this out? Some of you are just starting out. Set aside time to pray every day. We will talk about this more in a few weeks, but write down what you are praying about. Check off answers to prayer. Those answers may be yes, no or wait. When you have gaps in your day, rather than checking your Facebook, pray a 30-second prayer. As you walk from your car to the house or into your job, pray the whole way. In this way, prayer becomes your pattern of life, your practice and your source of comfort and strength.
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