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Praying and the Power of Prayer and Community-By Destiny Phillips

As someone who has struggled most of my life with depression, praying has not always come easy. When things are going great, I find myself praying more often. Although when things are falling apart and I feel alone, overwhelmed, and like darkness is closer than God, that is when I find it so hard to pray. Over the past few months, I have been learning that prayer has an immense amount of power even with a small amount of faith.

In Mark 11:24 Jesus says, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” This verse has always stood out to me but for the wrong reason. See, many people, including me, have only read this verse and not all the context that goes along with it. The verse that comes before this is Jesus saying that if you have faith in God, and genuinely believe that you can tell a mountain to move itself into the sea, it will. Again, most people only see the one verse instead of looking lastly at the verse that comes next, verse twenty-five (25). Jesus finishes by saying, “But when you are praying first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

This last verse is where I falter because I have not forgiven myself for things that have happened in my life, and I have people who I still hold grudges against, unfortunately. This is where prayer can get hard especially during the dark times. We can feel like we are alone and that no one will understand us because we have not truly forgiven ourselves. We can feel like our problems are insignificant to the God of the impossible. Like, how could God want to help me when I am in such a low place or when I am holding a grudge from 10 years ago? So, in this moment or in the days where we feel these things, we do not pray as often, or at least I do not.

But God!!! My absolute favorite saying from church so far, we love big Buts. In this case, its not God saying but, but me. James 5:19a says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I believe when it says confessing sins, it means so much more than just sin. It means our struggles; it means confessing that we are not perfect and that we need the help of our sisters in Christ to pray for and with us through our time of need. We need community and this is why praying holds so much power because of the rest of verse nineteen (19) says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great POWER and produces wonderful results.” Now, the word righteous always used to scare me because I thought only those who were perfect could have their prayers heard. This is not the truth. God sees our heart and where we are praying from. He sees that we are praying from a thankful and sincere heart even if we are so low, we do not feel like ourselves.

If we are not praying with a selfish or unforgiving heart, God hears our cries for help. When we call on other sisters in Christ, we have a much better chance to see what God has given us to be thankful for. He changes our perspective through prayer and community. God has given us so much and blessed us beyond measure. Unfortunately, when we are in our depression, we do not see these blessings, but this is where the power of prayer comes in. When we remember to pray even in our pain and despair, God can redirect our focus and guide you to the people you need. We continue coming to church and our wonderful sisters in Christ will help lift our heads to see exactly where God needs you to be. Prayer and community are immensely powerful especially when used together.

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