BAHOP: A Journey in Prayer

Evangeline Ehl

Hi, my name is Evangeline Ehl, and I go to church with you. Our family has been attending MBC since 2006. I have recently been involved in the prayer ministry, and Cheryl Barker asked me to write a blog! A lot can be said about prayer, but today I’m going to confine my thoughts mainly to my experiences with the Midland Bible Prayer Ministry.

Two years ago, I signed up for and attended an MBC women’s prayer time on Thursdays. We spent concentrated time in prayer together, sometimes praying aloud, sometimes silently. Different people led the group in approaching prayer in different ways. I left each week feeling refreshed and reconnected to God and to others. This led to attending the Day of Prayer at the church (only for the twenty minutes I could get away from the house), but after spending that time sitting in the silent sanctuary, talking to God about need after need, I was officially hooked on finding new opportunities to pray. And as for private prayer, I started to look forward each day to the concentrated time I’d begun to clear to spend alone with Him.
Next, we participated in praying during the Monday night prayer time, spending the evening in a small group bringing our requests and those of the church body before the Lord. On Wednesdays this past year, I have looked forward each week to a long quiet time of resting at the feet of the Savior during the guided contemplation provided in the sanctuary. And right now, we have the opportunity of meeting to pray before and during the service each Sunday morning, as the Spirit leads, for those in the sanctuary, for needs in our church, for ourselves, for anything. When I go, I leave feeling that I am the fortunate one, the one who has received a blessing, to have spent this time with God and other believers.
I’ve found prayer as described in the Psalms — “In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”
But I’ve had a hard time writing this blog because sometimes prayer feels like Jacob wrestling all night with the angel, only when morning comes there is still no answer. No angel finally granting my request or changing my name to Israel. It feels then as if He is indeed simply the great Clockwinder — that He wound up the universe at the beginning of time and lets it go on with no more interference. And in that doubt and struggle, Hebrews 11 applies: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Prayer is an outworking of my faith. And prayer is the abiding in the vine, the walking in the Spirit, from which flows the fruit. I don’t think there is anything more important to which we, as believers, can devote our time and energy. Maybe you find prayer dry and dusty right now. Maybe you are just plain tired of trying. Maybe you love it. Maybe you have become so discouraged in it that you’ve almost given up.
I hesitate to heap more requirements and activities on anyone. I will say candidly that in recent years, I have finally been exhausted by the impossible weight of the expectations, the exhortations, the never-being-good-enough that we believers pile on. These days I want to simply throw myself on God’s grace and into His presence and rest.
But prayer is not just One More Thing to put on your to-do list to become a super Christian. It is the Only Thing. So let me encourage you to give prayer and the practice of God’s presence more of your time and energy: Sign up for a prayer thing that you might not want to go to. Pray out loud with other believers. Pray with your family at home. Seek the Lord’s presence on your knees alone.
“In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

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