The Paradigms of Prayer II | The Father Who Sees
In the course of a journey in building a community of prayer in Singapore for the last 5 years, I've learned to cultivate a few paradigms of prayer that sustains my coming in and going out of the prayer room. Regardless of the number of people in the room or how great I feel as a person, these paradigms keep me there and gave me the motivation for showing up for 4 hours, at least twice a week for the past 5 years.
I believe these paradigms function as an anchor in sustaining a culture of prayer that will have fuel our efforts in missions and gospel advancement
I will be breaking them into 5 different paradigms in 5 different posts. I hope these paradigms can help you, your family and your community to cultivate a consistent and enjoyable prayer life that will impact your heart and the people around you.
Paradigm II | The Father Who Sees
Everyone, who spend their time praying, at some point this one question would have crossed our mind: "Does God even hear my prayers?". It gets amplified when we feel nothing in those moments of prayer.
In the early years of my life as a young follower of Jesus, the prayer meeting was like the staple for me. The first meeting I attended after giving my life to Jesus was a prayer meeting that runs daily in Church. Over the weekends, I will follow my brother to the early morning prayer meeting at 630am weekly for 9 years. These prayer meetings laid a foundation of prayer that shaped my life since the days of my youth.
The atmosphere of these prayer meetings was so glorious and it made my prayers feel powerful and God was there to hear all my prayers. So I equate a successful prayer meeting with an energized feeling when I pray.
For many years, that mindset I had a successful prayer meeting has crippled my personal prayer life. I became demotivated to stay faithful in showing up for prayer meetings that don't provide that "atmosphere" where I feel powerful praying.
I totally believe in contending for the fullness of God to break with His power and presence as we gather to pray. It is still my constant pursuit to see that reality happen in all our gatherings, especially in the place of prayer like how God did it in the days of Acts as Luke recounted it
"And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." - Acts 4:31
That should be our vision and hope in all our gathering, but it should not be an equation of what a successful prayer meeting is.
The first few months of my time in Kansas, I had to spend at least 6 hours of prayer in The Global Prayer Room. It was a struggle for me because of my definition of success in the place of prayer. For the majority of my time there, it felt more of a routine than glorious. For me to stay in that room for 6 full-hours made me feel weak as a person. Every prayer that I made felt weak and reluctant, yet there was a reach within my heart in wanting Him to hear me. I felt like my prayers meant nothing and it was not going anywhere.
Until one regular day in the prayer room with my Bible opened to Matthew 6:6 where Jesus was preaching about Prayer. That last sentence of Matthew 6:6 "And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." became the point of conversation God that changed my paradigm and definition of success in prayer.
At that moment, I felt the Lord asked me these questions:
"Do you believe in the words of My Son regardless of how you feel?"
"Do you believe that I see and hear in the secret when you pray regardless of how you feel?".
"Do you believe that I Am True to who I Am as a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Me regardless of how you feel?"
It was at that point of time I realized the success of prayer is never about how powerful I feel when I am praying, but recognizing God is the Powerful One we choose to anchor ourselves in Him. The act of praying itself is already a success because it is a demonstration of our faith in God and what He is able to do. Faith is never about feeling, but an inward confidence that you have towards Him. And without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Now when I pray, I looked beyond my feeling because I know our Father sees and hears in the secret regardless of how I feel. That in itself my success and it kept me showing up before Him. It is my hope to experience a greater manifestation of His power and presence in our prayer meetings, but that is never the definition of success because God knows the right time and the right season for an outpouring.
We can only do our part by staying faithful to watch and to pray, but to manifest power and presence is something that only God can do and no man can fabricate it. I can imagine that 10 days in the upper room after the disciples witnessed Jesus ascended to heaven, and all that had left was a promise given through the words of Jesus. For that 10 days in the upper room before the Holy Spirit came, I can imagine how dry, weak and broken that prayer meeting is. Yet they put their faith in the promise of the Father through the words of His Son, and they kept on showing up until that "suddenly" happened.
I want to encourage you to keep showing up in your personal time of prayer and stay faithful to the small and weak prayer meetings because God loves weak and broken things. These weak and broken prayer meetings are our opportunity to experience His power and grace(2 Cor 12:9). My prayer for you is this: God will give you a persevering faith that goes beyond your feelings, knowing that when you pray, your Father who is in the secret sees.