Last year at Change Conference, I wrote in my journal that I felt led to prayer, that I think it might be a spiritual gifting. This year, I looked back at that entry and it still rang true – very often when I am worshipping God, prayer rises up in my spirit. Very often when people share burdens with me, I am moved to pray, even if they don’t know about it, and that burden of prayer stays with me for a day or two. Prayer is one of the ways that I know God the best, that I feel him near me, feel his coaxing and guidance of what to say, and it leaves me peaceful.

This year at Change, I believe God added an instruction to this gift of prayer, which I am sharing to hopefully create some accountability, that it won’t be something God says to me and I write in my journal and forget about until next October. If I am to pray for others as I believe God calls me to, then I have to make a better effort to connect with people, to learn what they need. I cannot be content in having a quick answer if anyone ever asks me about my spiritual gifts, and I cannot coast along with general prayers for well-being and help when God has called me to deepen relationships, to be more vulnerable, and to risk learning and prayerfully saying the specific needs of others.

It is not that prayer is easy and relationships are hard, because both of these pursuits have been gifts that come easily at times and elude me at others. Ideally, I think they should be inter-woven, each one deepening the other.

But just as talking the talk is no advantage if it does not translate into action in real life, being able to draw a diagram of how prayer deepens friendships that in turn lead to deeper, stronger prayer, gives no benefit unless it is put into practice.

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