Empowered Through Prayer

There are many things about God and his ways that I will never fully understand. Prayer is one of them. I do know and am confident that he is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and he invites me to come to him. In very basic terms, prayer is a conversation with God. It needs no special order or form. He simply extends his gracious invitation. 

We have examples of various types of prayer in Scripture. This will be far from an exhaustive study of prayer, but I want to touch particularly on several types as a personal testimony. 

As a wife, mother, and grandmother, much of my prayer life is spent praying for each of my family members. Though the majority of our children and grandchildren are not near us geographically, I can entrust each of them to him on a daily basis as I pray for them. Then, there are extended family, friends, and co-workers who God has placed in my life. I am so thankful for the privilege that God gives me to intercede on their behalf. 

I’ve recently been reading and thinking about prayers of lament. There are many examples in Scripture of God’s people crying out to him in complaint. We live in a very broken world. Every day we hear reports of tragedies and heart-wrenching atrocities across the globe, in our own country, and in our own backyards. At times, situations of deep pain enter our homes. This can be the result of losing someone whom we deeply love, seeing our children hurting, or feeling a heavy heart over the evil and destruction all around us. There have been problems in my life and in the lives of those I love dearly that have seemed unsolvable and unresolvable from a human perspective. In those times, voicing my grief to God reminds me of his love and trustworthiness. In Mark Vroegop’s book, Dark Clouds Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament (Crossway, 2019), he says, “Lament is the honest cry of a hurting heart wrestling with the paradox of pain and the promise of God’s goodness.”  

Many times I have reviewed my life as I’ve talked to God, “walking” through each stage from birth to present. As I do, I thank him for each place I’ve lived: my early childhood years, school life, friendships, the fun experiences and the painful memories, sweet relationships along the way, marriage, ministry, family, etc. As I make this journey in prayer, he often brings to mind people and situations that he used to bless and teach me. Not all of those situations and memories are good ones, but he truly does work all things out for our good and his glory. These times alone with God truly become times of worship, as I am again assured that he has guided me, cared for me, and will continue to do so in the future.   

Though I still don’t fully understand how prayer works, I know the One to whom I pray, and I testify to you of his faithfulness. 

Jean (Swanson) Quanbeck [FLBC 1982] is a member of Maranatha Free Lutheran, Glyndon, Minn. 

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