Have you ever had times when the need to pray was so powerful you felt almost forced to pray without delay?
During my studies at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews I experienced such an impulse to pray.
After a long day of classes I returned to my apartment and as I opened the door I felt the urge to go in my bedroom to pray. For a quick second I resisted because stopping would interfere with my regular schedule. However, the blessings from responding to past prayer impulses flashed across my mind. I entered my room, postured myself for prayer and began to bless God with praise and thanksgiving, surrendering myself to Him through repentance and then humbly asked Him to speak.
As I waited, the impression was to “pray and fast for your family.”
“My family, God? Why? Is something wrong? Is something bad going to happen? I pray for them every day already, and at times fast as well.”
“Pray and fast for your family.”
“Ok Lord, I don’t know why, but ok.”
It wasn’t long after that I received the answer to my why. It was a call from one of my sisters inviting me to a baptism. She stated a couple of my family members had attended an evangelistic series and made the decision to accept Christ!
On the day of the baptism, I arrived at the church and did not expect to see what I did. It wasn’t just a few family members. I witnessed several family members go down into the watery grave of baptism.
With tears in my eyes, I was reminded of the earlier impulse to “pray and fast for your family.” The verse from Matthew 17:21 (NKJV), However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting came alive for me on that day.
I believe a consistent prayer life is one of the most powerful tools to gaining victory over the enemy, but I also believe we receive prayer impulses that should never be ignored. When God calls us aside, outside of our regular prayer time with Him, it fosters spiritual growth, it teaches us He wants to do something powerful in our own lives. He can be trusted with our concerns, and it allows us to see His mighty hand working on the behalf of others.
Darlene Thomas is the Lake Region Conference adult ministries director and pastors the Chicagoland New Life and Beacon of Joy churches.