Once again we have the beautiful, kind, creative and passionate Kristen Stansell as CWP's guest blogger. I met Kristen in March of this year and instantly knew there was a depth to her love for Jesus. Her words carry weight because she is battle tested. She does not just talk the talk, but has walked out what she writes. May her words and heart for the Lord bless you as they have me.
Do our prayers really matter? Have you ever wondered that? I certainly have. God knows all, sees all, and hears all. Because of this, there was a time that I wondered “If God already knows the outcome of my situation then why do I need to ask for help?” I had the attitude that said, “God is going to be God so how are my prayers going to make a difference”. It is silly to think that I even had these questions because I have seen up close and personal the effects of prayer. I have personally been healed during a time of prayer. I have had doors of opportunity open after prayer. I have been delivered from scary situations as I prayed. First hand I have experienced the power of God moving through prayer. But still, I wanted to know more. Why are we called to pray?
In my wondering, I prayed and asked God to show me the purpose of prayer. I wanted understanding on the importance of having a healthy prayer life. I wanted to know my prayers mattered. Matthew 7:7 says,
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”[/mk_blockquote]
As I asked, sought the face of the Lord, and searched for answers. He then began to reveal Himself to me.
Years ago, around the time I was seeking answers about prayer, my mentor told me about a book called Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets. I purchased it right away and dove in. The one thing that stands out the most from this book is a short passage of scripture in Ezekiel. It’s a passage about a land full of people that had turned away from God.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.”- Ezekiel 22:29-31[/mk_blockquote]
In this passage we read that God sought for "a man among them who should build up a wall and stand in the breach before me for the land so that He would not destroy it"… But he didn’t find one. The whole land had given in to their own desires and turned away from God. I believe God wanted to spare this land and His people. In an attempt to do so, He looked for just one person who was standing in the gap and praying for their nation. Just one person's prayers could have changed the outcome of this situation. Just one. But God didn’t find anyone who was standing in the gap for the nation so He scattered the people among many nations.
What does it mean to stand in the gap as mentioned in Ezekiel 22:30? When we sin there is a separation that happens between us and God. There is a gap that needs to be repaired. It is often referred to as a ‘sin gap’. A prayer intercessor is someone who takes notice of that gap and prays on behalf of that person, city, or nation. For example, let’s say your co-worker has not come to know Christ yet. There is a sin gap between them and God. You, as their friend, co-worker, and believer can stand in that gap in prayer and ask that God would forgive them for their sins and draw them close to Him. We can not control the outcome of the situation but we can take responsibility. As a believer we can do our part to pray for those that are far from God. I believe God placed us right where we are to be able to minister to those who are in arms reach.
This one scripture, opened up my heart to understand that every single one of our prayers matter. This might sound extreme but what if you and I are the ONE to stand in the gap for our neighbor, or city, our state, or nation? What if we have been placed, for such a time as this, to pray for the lost to be found, and pray that God would heal our nation?
On an even more personal level, what if we are the ONES called to pray for our spouses, children, and even our own future? What if God is waiting for our prayer to release a blessing from Heaven into our lives? Maybe you have been praying for a while now and have not seen God move on your behalf yet. Trust and know that God is a good God who longs to bless you. Sometimes a delayed answer is a blessing because God knows what is best for you in each season of your life. I want to encourage you to start praying if you aren’t already and continue praying even when you don’t see an answer in sight. Our prayers matter. Don't take my word for it, check out what the word of God says on how and why we should pray:
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3).
“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray” Psalm 17:6
“So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” Hebrews 11:6
Why not step out? As a child of God, why wouldn't He use you as the ONE to bring heaven to earth? One way to find out... step out and pray.
- Kristen Stansell
To check out Kristen's handlettering prints and more check out her website at www.crafted.by