A catalyst is something that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction, kind of like what starts a fire. What are the catalysts that drive us to prayer? What causes us to WANT to pray, and to be burdened to pray? In a recent sermon at my church, the pastor described three catalysts to prayer. While he was preaching, I was scribbling my own thoughts in every margin of my note page. This is the result of all my scribbling:
Testimony – A sense of what is happening in people's lives will give us a desire to pray for them. If we are disconnected from people's lives and don't care about them, we will never feel burdened to pray for them. I have to say, though, that sometimes in my own life, I would force myself to pray for someone who was injuring me, and God gave me a supernatural love for those people BECAUSE of prayer, not the other way around. So if you don't love people, pray anyway, and the love will come. That's what's wrong with us. We just don't love each other. Someone is going through a crisis, and the reason we forget to pray for them is that we are self-absorbed. But once we care about and have a burden for people, we want to know what is happening in their lives, and we have joy to get updates on their lives because our hearts are connected to theirs.
Trial – Most trials are spiritual attacks from the enemy. God uses prayer to grow us. We acquire perseverance and patience through waiting upon the Lord through trials. We learn to trust God. We learn our own weaknesses and limitations. Trials drive us to depend on God and be emptied of our own resources so that He can swoosh through us and transform us. When nothing is wrong, for some reason our necks are stiff and we don't walk by the Spirit. I wish this wasn't true. This is why prosperity in our lives is usually a curse.
Thanksgiving – The more we hear about how God is working in people's lives, the more thanksgiving we give to God in prayer, because we feel so much joy that God answered our prayers. In my previous church, I was interconnected spiritually with almost every woman in the church. I spent two hours after church just catching up with what God was doing in the lives of those women. I was burdened with their requests and I cared so much that I sometimes wept before the Lord on their behalf. ALL of us ought to care about each other in such a way that we can feel the living pulse of the church. It is Christ emanating from each individual, however imperfectly we do it. God gets glory and thanksgiving and praise when we are praying for each other. He answers our prayers because we are focused on what matters in life, which is the spiritual growth of other believers in our lives. I am so blessed when I spiritually interact with other members in the body of Christ, because they provide what I am lacking. Christ in them is manifested in a way that I need, and Christ in me is what they need. And the result is joy.