The other day my friend said to me, "We can pray better because of our experiences."
As I ponder that statement, I absolutely believe it to be true.A husband or wife who has walked through a separation or divorce knows the words to pray for those walking similar roads.
Someone with a chronic illness knows what kind of prayers to pray for others struggling with disease and pain.
Those who have a strained relationship with a family member, can pray specifically about that situation.
An individual who has experienced deep and personal loss...of a child, spouse, loved one...understands the prayers of the heart that sometimes have no words.
A person who has experienced a life-changing diagnosis, is well-acquainted with the prayers that are required to adjust to a 'new normal.'
Someone who has waited for a season, or possibly even a lifetime, can offer up prayers for others walking a similar journey.
Why am I writing about this?
What am I trying to say?
I'm trying to communicate exactly what my friend said to me the other night: we can pray better because of our experiences.
Scripture tells us that we can comfort others because of how God has comforted us.
Scripture says we can mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice...and I believe we can do those things better because of our experiences.
I also believe that we can pray more specifically and powerfully because of our own personal experiences.
Your current season...whatever that may be...your past seasons...whatever those may be...don't waste them.
Let God use them. For your good. For His glory. And to love one another.
I don't know what it is like to have cancer or another life-altering disease.
I don't know what it is like to walk through the death of a spouse. Or separation or divorce.
I don't know what it is like to face depression or anxiety or addiction.
But I do know what it is like to go through unemployment and the loss of our family's income.
I do know what it is like to lose babies in my womb.
I do know what it is like to wait on God desperate for Him to move in my life and answer my prayers.
My friend called me last November and with heartache in her voice she sobbed, "There's...no...heartbeat." And I knew. I had been there. I had heard those words. I had felt that heartache. I could pray for her passionately and purposefully. I could ask God to make beauty from those ashes. I could pray for healing for her heart and that He would minister to her in a way that left her breathless for more of Him. And I have been able to continue to pray for her as she grieves the loss of her baby and the due date that is to come.
When people share with me that they are waiting...for a spouse, for a baby, for a job offer, for health, for healing...I haven't always experienced what they are longing for, but I understand the waiting and I can petition God on their behalf. I can pray that they would wait well and that God would refine them during their waiting. I can plead with God to help them not waste their waiting.
I believe it is both a privilege and a responsibility to pray for others. And I believe when God brings someone into our life who is journeying through something that we've experienced, we can call on God on their behalf and pray life-changing, powerful prayers.