Cultivate Courage: Day Five
develop a powerful prayer life
By Lisa Bonnema
READ: James 5:16; Psalm 34:15; Daniel 9:18
When I first became a Christian, I carefully crafted my prayers around God’s will. I understood that God wasn’t Santa Claus, so I made sure to pray for God’s lead and for His provision. I didn’t feel it was my place to ask for things that my heart—and my human nature—desired. After all, what if they weren’t God’s will?
My prayers were often weak, vague, and lacked substance. While at the time I thought I was honoring God’s sovereignty, I realize now I was sacrificing our relationship in the process.
Developing a powerful prayer life isn’t about carefully crafted prayers or formalities; it’s an invitation to an intimate relationship with God. Whether we are crying out to Him because everything seems unfair or praising Him because His grace overwhelms us, He wants to hear it—all of it—the good, the bad; the big and the small.
As our Father, God wants us to tell Him the desires of our hearts. And because He loves us, He wants to give us those desires. He wants us to have honest conversations with Him—to trust Him with the things that tug at our very souls—while also understanding that He knows best. He wants us to confidently present our requests to Him because He is as good and as powerful as He says He is.
Of course, it’s one thing to know this in theory and quite another to put it into practice. Several years ago, one of my daughters was struggling with finding friends at school. She felt lonely and spent many nights crying in my arms. I felt helpless. I knew in my heart we should pray, but I found myself hesitant. What if God didn’t answer her very specific prayer? What if friends didn’t come? What would that do to her impressionable and growing faith?
I realized right then and there that I had to choose to believe that God’s power was greater than my lack of faith. So the two of us prayed for a friend that very night and for many nights after that. And you know what? God answered, and my daughter and I continue to talk about that moment to this very day.
That experience and many others have taught me that prayer is not just about asking; it is about believing that God loves you enough to answer. It is about being courageous enough to leave our deepest desires at the foot of the cross and then trusting that God will do what is best. Prayer is an opportunity to grow our faith by trusting in a powerful and capable God.
Is this scary? Yes. Might we be disappointed? Yes. But even in those moments when the outcome isn’t what we asked for, we can experience God’s mercy and provision if choose to believe that He is as good as He says He is—that He loves us as much as He says He does.
Take heart, sisters. Pray boldly. Present your requests honestly before the throne of God. The Word assures us: We serve a compassionate Father who always watching, always listening, and just waiting for us to ask for His help.
Have you told God your deepest desires?
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help.” Psalm 34:15
What does your prayer life look like? Do you find time to connect to God? How would you like to see that change?
How has God answered prayers in ways you didn’t like or expect? Consider how He remained faithful even through those times.
Take some time to write out a prayer to God and connect with Him in a new and fresh way.