by Ava MacKinney

As Steve and I drove home from Vermont this past weekend, we prayed together about fasting and prayer. What kind of fast should we do? What specifically should we focus on in our prayers? I had already narrowed my prayer focus down to three areas, but I sensed that God wanted me to fine tune them even more. 

Well, God answered that prayer for sure! He narrowed it down to one area and then, unexpectedly, He put a magnifying glass over one very specific need in that area. This morning, as I went to pray, that magnifying glass intensified to the point that the sun shone through and focused it's burning rays onto this one desperate cry of my heart. I know without a doubt that this is God prompting me and encouraging me to not give up. I've been praying about this for years, but it's so easy to lose heart and to think that my prayers don't make a difference. It's as if He's saying to me, “Don't give up. I hear your prayers. I've heard every one of your prayers. Keep asking. Keep watching. Keep on doing spiritual warfare. Persist. Persist. PERSIST!”

I realize it may be years before I see the answer I'm looking for, but nevertheless, this is a need that must be continually bathed in prayer. Even in the middle of the night, God has been prompting me to pray. Why is God directing me in this way? I believe it's because this is a prayer He intends to answer; in His way and in His time, but He is at work even now, at this very moment. 

And mystery of all mysteries, He chooses to involve us in the unfolding of His plans. Why? I don't know. It seems as if He could simply do what He wants to do and not involve us. But out of His great love for us, He has decided that we, His children, should play a huge role in His Kingdom here on earth. Throughout the Bible we are commanded to pray. Continually! (1 Thessalonians 5:17) About everything! (Philippians 4:6) Things don't happen when we don't pray! (James 4:2) Things happen when we do pray! What a responsibility! What a privilege! 

To some, this could seem like an overwhelming burden. But again, the Bible makes it very clear, that's not God's intent. At times, yes, He will allow us to be burdened with the things that burden Him. But He is also our burden-bearer. We are to cast our cares on Him. (1 Peter 5:7) We are not to be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:6) Both of these heavenly invitations are wrapped around prayer. And God's promise is that His peace, “which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Am I burdened by this one major prayer focus God has laid on my heart? You bet I am! I've been bawling my eyes out this morning because of it and I've been choking back the tears as I write. But I also am filled with awe at the work that I know God is doing and will continue to do. Awe and a heart filled with joy! My God is on the move, folks! And I, for one, will be watching and waiting for His glorious answers!