As I settle into my new job as the Youth Program Coordinator at OIM, I can’t but notice a difference in my prayer life. Being on the front lines, facing the war on homelessness, mental illness, drugs, and a host of other issues faced by our street-friends in Ottawa, there’s a regular intensity to my prayers that I have not encountered before. Sometimes my prayers are literally life-and-death pleas for those we serve, sometimes for deliverance from difficult circumstances, illness or addictions, and often thanksgiving for the Lord’s gracious answers. When you’re standing on the front lines, you better believe that your prayer life is going to change!
I am reminded of the intensity of Jesus’ prayers while in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest. “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:44). His disciples meanwhile…sleeping. Jesus saw the spiritual battle that was in that moment and the disciples did not. He was acutely aware of what was happening, of what his Father was asking of him, and what was about to take place. His disciples had just had a big feast, were comfortable, and settled down to have a nap, oblivious to the spiritual warfare that was raging around them. But is that not just like me when I get comfortable and focus on my own appetites – I seldom see the spiritual turmoil around me, and my prayer life is…well…lazy or dormant.
While some of the work that we do at OIM is difficult, directly in spiritual warfare’s line of fire, it regularly puts us on our knees before the Lord – asking for His wisdom, His will to be done, and His hand to heal those who need healing. When I sit at home or in the pew in my figurative Lazy-Boy recliner, comfortable and safe, my prayer life is often weak and somewhat self-focused. I am thankful that we are called to stand on the front lines where the battle is raging, and that we have a God who is mightier than the enemy!
If you want to improve your prayer life, I encourage you to seek where the Lord would have you serve – that is, WHO the Lord would ask you to serve. Don’t shy away if it is difficult. He asks us to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow him (Matt 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23) – not an easy calling nor a comfortable one! It might be, “Who would You have me serve TODAY?” Pray that the Lord would give you His eyes to see the battle raging around us, praying for His wisdom, strength, protection and presence as you obey His direction. And also, please pray for us as we seek to serve the Lord on the Ottawa streets.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil [one.] And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” – Ephesians 6:13-18
~Kevin, Youth Program Coordinator