Heidi: Hello! We are so glad to have you with us at our podcast today. I’m Heidi Howerton.
Jani: And I’m Jani Ortlund.
What is Prayer? 00:21
Heidi: I am so excited, Jani, to talk to you today about prayer. As you ladies know, we’ve been doing a series on Going Deeper with God, how we can get to know him better, spend more time with him, learn to hear his voice. Prayer is a spiritual discipline that I had struggled with before I did your discipleship group a few years ago. I knew that prayer is important. I knew I should talk to God. I knew it was important to pray over my children, but I didn’t really know how to do that, Jani. I thought, “Oh, maybe while I fold clothes, I’ll pray for each child as I fold their laundry,” but then the children would be screaming and I’d get distracted and that didn’t work very well.
Jani: Heidi, your house sounds so normal. I’m really glad to hear this!
Heidi: And so, but I struggled with knowing. Yeah, I know I want to pray for my family, but I don’t know how to do that every day. And your lesson on prayer really helped me and so I’m just excited that we get to sit down and talk about prayer.
Jani: Thank you, Heidi. I really appreciate your affirmation there, but I have to say I struggle too, and much of what we’ll share in this podcast, and possibly in future podcasts, has been passed on to me from my wonderful mother-in-law who is with Jesus right now. Her name was Anne Ortlund. I wanted to give her honor as well, as I share some of these things. I’m excited to talk about prayer, as you are, Heidi, because for me it was a mystery for a while. I knew how to cry. I knew how to beg of God, but I didn’t really know how to commune with him.
Heidi: Yeah. And commune everyday on a daily basis. I’m learning now that so much of prayer is living in God’s presence and having that constant communication with Him.
Jani: Yes, yes. That’s so true. That’s so good because I think God loves to have us in that constant connection with him. He loves us to commune with him. He wants intimacy with his kids just like we want intimacy with our children and grandchildren. And I think, Heidi, I don’t know about you, but I think one of the chief ways to build that intimacy is through prayer.
Heidi: I agree.
Prayer is verbal – talking. 2:38
Jani: Prayer is different from everything that we do in our lives. It’s a conscious, humble, verbal dependence on God Almighty. And so that’s somewhat of a mystery. And yet let’s not be afraid of the mysteries of God. Just because something is mysterious, we don’t need to shy away from it. We can enter into it and enjoy the mystery of communing with the God of the universe.
Jani: Really, prayer is just talking. And Heidi, you know me well! You know I love to talk. So let’s think of it like that and let that be our first point on prayer. Prayer is just talking. If you know how to talk, you can pray. Try to imagine developing any relationship without talking together. The way that I develop the most intimacy with Ray is through a good meal where we share eye to eye and we can talk together. Do you find that true with Mike?
Heidi: Yes! Or even any relationship! I think the way that I get to know anyone is by having a conversation with them.
Jani: Yes, that’s how we got to know each other. We started talking! And, you know, you think if you wanted to get to know someone, you’ll set up a date and say, “Oh, come on over for a cup of tea or let’s meet somewhere for coffee.” Well, if you know how to talk to a human, if you know how to form any words at all, you can talk to God. You can pray.
Jani: Some of you might be saying, “Well, I just don’t know what to say to him. I don’t know what words to form. I come to pray and I don’t know where to begin.” Can you cry? Can you grown? That’s part of prayer, too. If you can cry, then you can pray.
Prayer is calling on the Lord. 4:39
Jani: The Bible says “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in prayer.” That’s from Psalm 145:18. To call on God is like a visit. If I were going to call on one of you, I wouldn’t take it as a phone call. I would come knocking at your door and hopefully you would invite me in and we’d have a little visit. Calling on someone is not like playing phone tag or just leaving messages. And the Bible says there in Psalm 145 that the Lord is near to all who call on him who want to enter in through communication, through words, and spend time with him—to visit with him, because prayer is a relationship. It’s not a regimen. James 4:8 promises us this, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” Let’s be women who draw near to God with our words.
Prayer is a divine appointment. 5:49
Jani: I love how Isaiah describes prayer and our role as “prayer warriors” in Isaiah Chapter 62:6-7. I’m hoping our listeners will open their Bibles sometime today and look at those verses. Isaiah 62:6-7. Heidi, why don’t you read them for us, please.
“On your walls, O Jerusalem,Isaiah 62:6-7
I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.
You who put the LORD in remembrance,
take no rest,
and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.”
Heidi: “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen. All the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.”
Jani: We see here that prayer is divinely appointed. It’s something that God gives us. God creates prophetic intercessors. You and me, Heidi, we get to be part of that–and our listeners. Look at verse 6, “On your walls. O, Jerusalem, I have set watchmen.” God is actively calling us, inviting us to engage with him in prayer, in a watchman mentality. Now this Jerusalem, when he says, “O Jerusalem,” it’s the center of spiritual life and activity. On the walls of all the spiritual activity around us, God sets watchmen. I love that picture. Prophetic guardians like sentries on a city wall, praying and watching. Oh, dear sister who’s listening–you and Heidi and I, if we know Jesus as our Lord, we are watchmen on the walls of the spiritual Jerusalem of this generation. Take that holy calling as from the Lord.
Like a security system. 7:45
Jani: What are watchman? Well, they’re like sentries, like a security system. Sometimes we’re aware of it, sometimes we’re not, but there is a great spiritual conflict being waged in the world around us right now between ultimate good, which is God himself and all those who hate him and his ways. We’re warriors, and we need a watchmen mentality. Who is standing guard over your family? Who is the watchman on the wall of your home? Who’s watching over your school, your neighborhood, your church. Believe that God has called you to be like a security system for your personal sphere of influence.
Jani: Now look again at verse 6. It says, “All the day and all the night they shall never be silent.” I love that. Oh. My goodness. It’s almost exhausting, isn’t it?
Heidi: And convicting. I think it relates to living in God’s presence like what wee were talking about at the beginning.
Jani: Yes, all the day and all the night. That’s good. Heidi. It’s not a meeting, but it’s a mentality isn’t it? All the day and all the night. I should always be in an attitude of prayer, ready to pray, living in an attitude of open, continual communion with God. So I’m driving down the driveway. “Lord bless me and help me to drive safely.” I’m going to pick up my child from school. “Oh Lord, bless that child getting into the car ahead of me and behind me.” that mentality of always being in communion with the Lord.
Jani: I love it when he says in verses 6-7, “Take no rest and give him no rest.” Give God no rest. Take no rest. So all day and all night we’re supposed to be in an attitude of prayer. And then he drives it home even further. Take no rest and give him no rest. I think there’s a sense of urgency here–of pressing in, almost a rudeness. I know sometimes as moms, Heidi, maybe you can speak into this, but I remember getting so tired like, “I need a rest!”
Heidi: Yes. As a young mom, I feel that all the time! You get tired or think, “I just need a moment alone.”
Jani: Yes. God never gets tired. He invites us to pester him continually all day, all night. “Take no rest and give him no rest.” Oh, I love that. God has a such high tolerance when we turn to him. I wonder sometimes, Heidi, if our prayers are too polite, too boring, too genteel, too hesitant. We can never ask too much of him. We can never ask too often.
Prayers that P.U.S.H. 11:02
Jani: Let’s be women who learn to take risks in our prayers. I want to take greater risks. I’m praying for our 13 grandchildren these days and I’m praying big prayers for them. I’m taking some risks. Why not? He’s the God of the universe who thought them up and created them and brought them into our family. Why not pray risky prayers? There is a persistent rudeness, a slightly stubborn kind of praying, a righteous impudence that I believe God hears. Think of the parable that Jesus tells in Luke chapter 18:1-8. Luke records that Jesus tells us about this persistent widow who just keeps coming until finally she wears down the person she’s coming to. Luke says, “And Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Those persistent prayers again. Let’s be women who don’t lose heart.
Jani: I know some of you have prodigal children who are wandering right now and you’re tempted to lose heart. Don’t give up. Keep your watchmen mentality on the gate of your home. I know that some of you are exhausted. You’re pregnant again and you’re wondering how you’re going to manage all of these children and serve their needs. Don’t give up. Keep praying! Take no rest and give him no rest all the day and all the night. We’re praying to a God who hears. I call these prayers, prayers that push.
Heidi: I love prayers that push. I remember as we had different struggles when we were in discipleship group together, there would be some where we spent a whole year praying over. And I remember you looking us in the eyes and saying, “Girls, let’s push. Let’s pray until something happens.”
Jani: That’s good, Heidi. Thank you. Yeah. That’s what “P.U.S.H” stands for, isn’t it? The P for…
Jani: …and the U for…
Jani: …the S for…
Jani: …and the H for…
Jani: Yes. Pray until something happens. Pushy prayers. Take your stand on the walls of your own personal Jerusalem. Wherever God has you planted, you stand there. You be the watchman over your family, your job, your own body and heart and soul. And pray, strong, persistent—we call them “pushy”—prayers until God has established his kingdom in your Jerusalem.
A prayer for us all 13:56
Jani: So dear friend, as we close this podcast today, let me pray for us all. “Oh Lord, thank you for giving us these words from Isaiah chapter 62. Thank you for setting us as watchmen on the walls of our Jerusalems. And Lord, I pray that you would encourage us so that we would never be silent all the day and all the night. For those of our listeners who wake up during the night worried, Lord, help them to cry out to you. For those who drag through their days, concerned, burdened, heavy, weighted down. Lord, help them to cry out to you. Thank you for your invitation to take no rest and to give you no rest. Lord, we want to be women who never give up, who are like that persistent widow where you teach us we ought always to pray and never give up. So help us! Help us to pray pushy prayers—prayers that push; pray until something happens. Oh Lord, help our listeners! Help Heidi and me. We want to be women who pray! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Heidi: Thank you for joining us today, ladies. We hope that you have benefited from this episode on talking about why we want to be women that pray. Please join us next week when we begin to talk about how to pray. How do we really apply these truths on a day-to-day basis?