Don't Stop Praying

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I had just returned from a life-changing mission trip to Brazil. I didn't want to be back in the US. I wanted to be with the amazing people I had met, prayed over, prophesied over; who poured into my soul like I had never experienced. 

Now, on a separate continent from it all, I wasn't myself when I returned to San Diego. My closest friends noticed the change in me; some had been with me to witness everything. But only one friend understood that my heart was homesick for a country I barely knew.

"You haven't been yourself since you got back. You don't wanna be here, do you?"

"I wish I could go back. I miss everyone so much. Suddenly I feel out of place here."

I kept in touch with a friend I had met there via Skype. We talked often, updating each other on the amazing things God worked in our lives since I had gone home. We would pray and prophesy together over the people I'd met. One evening, I told my friend how I felt since returning home. His words still resonate in my heart to this day, 7 years later:

"I know exactly how you feel. I felt that way coming home from my last mission trip. Don't let that get in the way of what God is doing back at home! If your heart is always somewhere else, you're going to miss out on what God is doing right there in front of you.

Whatever you do, don't stop praying for people!

Your prayers are powerful, you are a prophet. Things change when you pray. Don't stop praying for people."

We all end up in places we don't want to be, whether it's circumstantial or physical. 

It could be a job, a situation, a city that doesn't feel like home. I had a friend who would always move every few months because nothing seemed to fit. I eventually told him, "If you're moving everywhere and nothing feels like home, the problem isn't the city--the problem is in your heart. You need to feel at home with yourself first."

So often our hearts drift to other places or circumstances. But if nothing feels like home, the problem isn't on the outside--it's within. And if we only focus on what we're missing out on, we will miss what God is putting right in front of us. 

I know life throws wrenches in the gears. Lately it seems like our church family has been getting beat up--literally! So many people have had surgeries, been in the hospital, or even lost family members. I look at my growing prayer list and I asked God, "What do I do with this?"

His words resonated in my heart. Don't stop praying for people. 

I encourage you to do the same. Keep praying. Keep pressing in and then press in again!

God hears you, knows you, and knows the bigger picture better than we do. And do not EVER diminish the power of prayer. Sometimes we feel like prayer is so little compared to the issues at hand. The truth is, prayer is what deploys angelic armies to fight on our behalf or other; prayer is what builds our faith, our confidence; prayer doesn't just change the situation, it changes us 

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.
— CS Lewis

Prayer will strengthen your inner spirit-man to conquer, to keep going, to have faith, to believe the impossible, to partner with an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God who can do anything! Prayer. Changes. Everything. Including our very hearts. 

Don't stop praying for people. You have no idea what's moving in the spiritual realm when you refuse to back down. I can guarantee you, if you immediately feel resistance--it's working. The enemy will fight back when he feels threatened. Keep praying. Keep pressing in, and press in again. We are heirs of the kingdom of God. He gave us power and authority in this present realm. Use it.