4 Ways to Strengthen Your Prayer Life
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to be flexible. The sixth annual Idaho Conference Prayer Conference was scheduled to be a limited in-person meeting at Camp Ida-Haven. Over the past five years, attendance has rarely gone above 45. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, planners prepared to accommodate up to 50 people, following safety protocols including distancing and face coverings. But a rise in COVID-19 cases in both Idaho and Washington influenced the decision to move the conference to virtual only. This decision was made just two weeks before the conference.
Our guest speaker was Randy Maxwell, who is pastor of the Renton Adventist Church in Washington state, and serves as prayer ministries coordinator for the Washington Conference. The weekend’s theme of "The Time Is Now" perfectly fit the current environment we are experiencing. With the isolation imposed upon us by COVID-19, how do we keep ourselves connected to God and share Him with others? How do we make an impact on our communities when we’re not supposed to interact closely with others?
Maxwell used engaging titles to draw us in: “The Time Is Now to Wake Up,” “The Time Is Now to Be Born Again,” “The Time Is Now to Disturb the Peace” and “The Time Is Now to Pray Different.” Using Facebook Live, the livestream reached a larger audience than recent in-person prayer conferences. Several commented on the live posts, emphasizing points Maxwell made with “Amen!” and liking comments. Using Facebook Live or another social media live venue provides a unique opportunity to connect with viewers, replying to their comments.
Karen Pearson, Idaho Conference prayer ministries coordinator, moved quickly to let churches know the Sabbath morning session would be available to churches to stream for their worship services. Some churches took advantage and livestreamed it to their own congregations.
After the sessions (except for the worship service), a Zoom videoconferencing prayer room moderated by Karen Pearson was available shortly after the end of Maxwell’s message. This was a time of “popcorn” prayer. Members of the prayer ministries committee gathered together in a large room, physically distanced and masked, to watch Maxwell’s sessions together. A time of prayer was held before each session, with the committee members asking for God’s presence and blessing on Maxwell and on each person who watched the live feed.
Maxwell asked us to consider having a prayer journal. Using one can show you how God has led, how He has answered and how you have grown in your prayer life. Early on, it’s often about us and about our family and friends. We are great at asking, but we need to be great at listening for God’s voice. It reminds us we are plugged in to God. When we are connected, we have life. We have a need for revival. Maxwell said we can find revival either through devastation or desperation.
When Jesus asked, “Who touched Me?” in Luke 8, what He felt was an uncommon touch, a touch of faith. That’s why He felt it. Our prayer should be uncommon, prayers that cannot be denied.
Maxwell brought the conference to a close with the topic, “The Time Is Now to Pray Different.” One might think the word should have been "differently." Praying "different" is more than about praying in a different way. It’s about having our prayers make a difference because of the difference God has made in our life. When Jesus makes a difference in us, He gives us a whole new life. It’s different than what we were before.
Some comments showed how the message was taken to heart: “I want to be the difference Jesus wants me to be, help me Lord!” wrote one viewer. Another shared in response to the story of the second storm on the Sea of Galilee, when Jesus invited Peter to walk on the water: “Let’s walk on water!”
The videos are archived at Facebook.com/IdahoAdventist and are also posted on the Idaho Conference prayer ministries page at IdahoAdventist.org. Since the live event, there has been increased engagement and views on each of the four videos. This strange year proves God can use any situation to increase His kingdom.