As I write this, I’m riding in the backseat of a nine-passenger van between Timisoara (Romania) and Budapest (Hungary). Fields of corn, wheat, and sunflowers border the road. A cloudless sky and a gentle breeze go with us.
Music fills the van. One song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” brings tears to my eyes. I’ve known these lyrics for my lifetime, but the depth of their meaning has become clear to me only in the recent past. I’m especially comforted by knowing Christ invites us to bring every concern to Him in prayer.
If I were to sum up what I’ve learned on this year’s ministry trip so far, it would be to get more serious about prayer. Several weeks ago, I asked God to teach me to pray more effectively, and He’s been bringing mini-lessons to me ever since.
The most recent mini-lesson came on the last day of our camp. Several kids stood to share a few words about what they’ve been learning. One young man—a special fellow who has known more hardship in 25 years than most of us could imagine in a lifetime—said, “I pray every night with my friend.” His friend sat a few feet away. He, too, has known untold hardship. In fact, if I had the freedom to describe their experiences to you online, I guarantee you would find them beyond comprehension.
This young man’s words taught me more about prayer than listening to sermons or reading books about it. They challenged me to never settle for excuses about being too busy to engage in conversation with God. They encouraged me to pray in simple, childlike faith expecting God to fulfill His promises. And they motivated me to be more intentional.
I’ve been a long-time proponent of living in the spirit of prayer, and I’ll continue to be so. But I’m going home determined to set more substantial time aside daily for prayer—earnest prayer, not just asking for God to bless a particular person and keep him safe.
What a friend we have in Jesus, and what a privilege to carry all our concerns to Him in prayer. I’m so thankful for this truth, for the reminder to apply it, and for my special Romanian friends who did the reminding.
BTW–here’s a free resource loaded with Scripture-based prayers. Enjoy!