Both enigmatic and profoundly intimate.
One of my favorite things about our Jesus is that he's totally fine with the immense limitations of our minds. He offers a multitude of ways to speak about the deep truths, so we can begin to learn more and more about our infinite God. His is a beautiful love, isn't it?
So while a front door explanation of the power of prayer is locked to me, there is a back door that’s swinging open, so let’s try that one.
I’m a language girl through and through. Selecting the right adjectives, explaining grammar rules, aligning verb tenses, using parts of speech in blog titles…I love it all. And while it’s easy to see language as my personal playground or just a necessary tool, scripture makes it clear that our words matter much more than simple amusement or practicalities. Take a look:
“The tongue has the power of life and death.”
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Words hold power. They matter. And there’s one word I haven’t been able to get off my mind: for. I’m particularly overwhelmed by its use in the common expression “I’ll pray for you.”
See, this phrase that I’ve heard since I could stand falls out of my mouth and slams into ears and I don’t think I pause to actually hear what I’m saying.
I’ll pray for you. I’ll pray on your behalf. I’ll believe the prayers your heart may not yet be able to utter. I’ll use my voice to stand for you.
And ladies, does it ring in your ears with the conviction that I hear in mine? Because I must confess…I’ve used it callously. I’ve used it as a conversation ender. I've used it in an attempt to be spiritual. I’ve used it with good intentions and failed follow through. James says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each another. The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective.” May I apologize? Will you offer forgiveness to a girl who loves words yet uses them foolishly?
What would happen if we understood the true power of our words offered to our omnipotent God? Jesus is called the Word. God spoke and creation formed. What will he create through our echo? What reconciliation will he bring through our words?
My mind falls far too short, but I want to be there when our Jesus shows up in the ways that burst beyond our asks and imaginations.
Next Tuesday we’re gathering together to pray for our church and our city, for our hearts to be filled with gratitude, for our world to know God’s love, for his people to be unified. We’d love to have you join us.
Anne Summers is a communications associate at Valley Church. She has a deep love of sharing good conversation and good food, spending time with her high school small group, and road tripping with her husband Nate.