I have spent a lot of time this week thinking about what it means to labor in prayer. Pondering what it means to do the work of holding someone up before the throne of God. It’s a constant awareness – as I wake in the dark of night, as I scrub out the dishes, as I take my boy out to celebrate his birthday. Sometimes it is the heart and spirit groaning wordlessly when the mind cannot form words. Sometimes it is opening God’s Word searching for the truth that my friend always challenged me to see and praying that for her, for me, for all of us. Sometimes it is putting on praise music and stopping in the middle of vacuuming the floor to raise my hands and sing loud, offering my prayers of hope and faith and victory.
We say, “All I can do is pray.” Why do we dismiss the labor of prayer so easily? I tend to dismiss prayer so easily because I want to see results. I want to help in a way that shows tangibly that I was there and I accomplished something. And maybe sometimes I dismiss prayer because I am selfish and prideful and doing something tangible makes me look good to other people and brings me praise.
Prayer is work. It is loving labor. It is holding up my sister when she may not be able to stand for herself. It is tirelessly storming heavens gates on behalf of my friend. It is knowing that there is an unseen battle that is raging and I have a part to play. It is knowing that yes, we bring God’s kingdom by meeting physical needs, but we also bring God’s kingdom by using our prayers to beat back the demons of despair and unbelief that threaten the heart.
Last night as evening began to fall big soft snowflakes began to fall as well. I was cozy in my home enjoying good food and relaxation with my family around me but I felt restless, guilty, weary. I felt peace falling as the world outside my window was blanketed in white. My thoughts turned again to my friend and I prayed for peace for her too. The calm and quiet of a snowy night turned my heart to pray for calm and quiet to fall in the heart of my friend. I prayed for physical, restorative rest for her body. As I prayed I knew that somehow somewhere my prayers were pushing back the darkness.