“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy…” -Matthew 6:9
When it feels like our prayers don’t matter, the Spirit reminds me: Jesus, God Himself, prayed. Jesus made it pretty clear that we too should pray. He was even gracious enough to show us how. If God asks us to pray, we can trust that our prayers are important to Him.
Every Wednesday morning from 6:30-8:30, Lifeline supporters gather in the clinic basement to pray over the ministry and the community of Kirksville. Posters line the walls, covered in marker-scribbled prayer requests for clients, friends, family, and global issues. Board member Chad McNeely leads this component of Lifeline’s ministry, organizing the weekly prayer and providing coffee and snacks for those willing to start their day early.
“The goal with the prayer meetings is to get people from different fellowships to come together in prayer, and to provide another outlet for Lifeline to minister to supporters in a non-financial context,” says McNeely. “While we certainly solicit prayers on behalf of Lifeline and its clients, we spend much of the morning praying over our wall of requests–things like friends and family with illnesses, families going through adoption, churches and other area ministries, our nation’s elections, and so on.”
When living in what often feels like an overwhelmingly bleak world, it seems that there are endless things to pray about. Why should we invest our time praying for Lifeline? Chad has some reasons:
“In 1 Cor 3:12-15, Paul describes our works and giving as falling into two categories- those that will burn away when Jesus comes, and those works that will endure into His kingdom. If we can compassionately support our community, and minister to the lost, then our works will have value in God’s currency. Lifeline is one of those ministries that does both: they care for the needs of the hurting, but they also win souls. If we have a kingdom outlook when we give, and I believe we should, then Lifeline is a smart investment!”
When we get into the routine practice of prayer, we may begin to question its purpose or its power. But if we remember how Jesus prayed, we will remember that He began by addressing His Father. Prayer is not about us changing the world by our own power, but rather sharing our hearts with the God who loves us and made us His children. Our prayers leave our meek hands and rise to the hands that formed the universe. As we pray, we can begin to feel not only our prayers transferring over to His authority, but our whole selves along with them.
“Prayer often changes the pray-er as much as the pray-ee!” Chad reminds us. “Indeed, we should pray as a means of inviting God to do His will in our lives. Speaking for myself, I have grown a lot in the six months we’ve been holding these meetings, simply by the act of spending the time talking to God about others, about His will, and praising Him. I can’t take credit for it and won’t suggest that it is a result of ‘our’ prayers, but in the time we’ve prayed, the Pure Freedom program has grown, some illnesses have been healed, Lifeline has done well despite Breanne’s temporary absence, and there’s been just a bunch of praiseworthy news.”
Giving financially is incredibly important, and Lifeline has been so blessed by the generosity of donors, but this ministry thrives on spiritual support as well. It’s vital to the growth of Lifeline that all of us–staff, board members, and donors alike–cultivate a healthy prayer life for the clinic and all its programs. When it comes to prayer, our work certainly will never be done. But we should rejoice in this, because we never have to stop talking to our Father and sharing in His passion for restoring His world. As Chad poignantly stated, “
There remain many more people hurting or lost, and they remind us to keep seeking God’s presence and comfort and, where He wills it, His healing.”
By Kathryn Farmer