During this past week, I volunteered as a counselor at an overnight summer camp for 8-12 year olds. The camp was held in a location I counseled at several years ago, so I expected it to be run essentially the same: hours and hours of fun and games with a bit of "Jesus Loves You" thrown in wherever it fit. However, this camp was very different. Called "Jump In Camp," we spent around 60% of our waking hours in prayer, worship, and teaching. The rest of the days were spent eating, doing a few activities, and making innumerable trips to the bathroom with campers. But during that time, everyone was looking forward to sessions. During session, we poured out our hearts to God in passionate worship through music and prayer. I've never seen 8-12 year olds understand and respond so much to who God is. And these kids pray like they believe God will do it - and He does.
The people who run this camp talked to me a bit about their vision. They believe that if these kids believe in Jesus and He lives in them, they are filled with the Holy Spirit like all believers. And there is no "junior Holy Spirit." So we take the kids seriously, and they take prayer seriously too. Every day we prayed intensely for a country of the world, whether Brazil, India, Turkey, or America. We prayed one evening for a little girl who was dying, a six-year-old who hadn't eaten a meal in nearly a month and whose feeding tube in the hospital was no longer sufficient; her parents saw a spirit of death coming over her. We prayed all together in smaller groups for nearly twenty minutes. The next day, we heard that the girl had eaten two full meals since we prayed for her. A few of the girls from my group prayed for healing over my neck (whiplash from a car accident last month), and I was 95% pain free all week long. The chiropractor said that I'm now the best I've been since the accident, and that's after a week of not doing my exercises and stretches, carrying a heavy back-pack, exerting myself physically, and sleeping on a camp mattress in a little bunk.
Some campers and counselors spoke words to me that they believed were from the Lord. The Spirit laid on my heart different needs for my campers before I met them, when they were just names on a sheet. Nearly everything I wrote down proved to be completely true. I'm not used to this outright and visible expectation of prophecy, healing, etc. But each day in my personal time with God, the first passage I would open to randomly in my Bible would be verses and stories that clearly reminded me that the Holy Spirit is powerful, and He is very much alive in us. Even Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." So I stand amazed.
Since camp ended on Friday, I've been praying so much more. I've told God that even though I don't understand everything about prayer yet, I will pray because He tells me to, and He shows me through Scripture and through my experience that prayer makes a difference. So I will pray more.
Do you believe that prayer works? That it changes things? If you're still working to believe that, I encourage you to pray about it. Talk to God about it like the man who cried out "I believe; help my unbelief!" If you do believe it, then pray.
PRAY for the crisis in Iraq, where at this very moment Christians are being systematically and brutally murdered for their faith.
PRAY for peace in Israel.
PRAY for the Africans who are starving.
PRAY for the prisoners in North Korea.
PRAY for the Lord to send out harvesters into the field. Be the answer to that prayer.
PRAY for the lost. All of them.
PRAY for mothers who think abortion is their only choice.
PRAY for the church to be a true representation of Jesus - loving and full of grace and Truth.
PRAY for your heart, that God will do what He sees best, that His will may be done in you as it is in Heaven.
PRAY. Just keep praying. Praise Him for all He has done. Listen. Be still. Wait for Him. Be silent. Hear His voice. Read His Word.
Let us be like the church just after Jesus walked on this earth, was crucified, and rose from the dead: "All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer." (Acts 1:14)
I'm ready to see the world change. And I'm ready to see myself change. So I'm going to pray. Are you with me?