Where the Work of God Begins

Wednesday afternoons are my new getaway. Kids napping, Nate working from home, and … nothin’ but highway for me. After I travel over the 6 interchanges it takes me to get to the International House of Prayer, which is 9 minutes away, I slide into the back of the prayer room. And exhale.

While I was there on Wednesday, the question crept into my brain that so many have raised to me in relation prayer: why do we do this? If there is work to be done seeing the sick get well, feeding the poor, and telling people about Jesus, why are we sitting in a room praying about it?

The first time my mind danced around that question since I’ve been here, they were praying up front for Korea. Nate joined them in praying for orphans just a few days ago. And last week prayers for Grandview (the area surrounding IHOP) filled through room.

When I say “they”, I mean a room full of anywhere from 300-800 people, led by singers and musicians, praying scripture — to themselves, sometimes in groups, and sometimes out loud–for God to move in these places. These people are from every walk of life you can imagine. Asians sitting beside translators, preppy little college girls with cute bags and flip flops, Africans speaking their native tongue, moms in jumpers, hip-hop types and skinny-jeans of all sorts can all be found in the prayer room. All of them united for the few hours they’re there, asking God to move.

The fingerprint of God through prayer is all over my life. I can’t deny what I’ve lived. God responds to His people. He’s responded to me. But sitting in a room, praying for a country I’ve never been to (and, let’s be honest, might even take this geographically-challenged one more than a few minutes to identify on a map) stretches me. Korea? Are my puny little prayers making an impact in Korea?

Fast forward a few hours, another set of highway interchanges, and I’ve set-up camp at a coffee shop, absorbing my last few minutes of total-life stillness until next week’s hiatus. My phone rings.

On the other end comes an announcement from an old friend …“Sara, we’ve sent in the paperwork. It’s official. We’re adopting!” Last I’d heard from her, she was wrestling with the pain of her most recent miscarriage (not her first), wondering what happened to the blueprint of their growing family God had given them just years before. But in this conversation, I couldn’t get over the glow that this paper-pregnant mom was transmitting, even through the phone.

As she unpacked the details, she told me this: “Sara, months ago as I was listening to the prayer room webstream, I heard them praying for orphans. And I thought to myself … how can I believe God hears their prayers for un-named, unknown orphans when He, seemingly, isn’t hearing mine for the babies I’ve lost.”

I can so identify with this. The question that nagged me that day when I entered the prayer room, wasn’t because I’d inherited someone else’s skepticism. My own, not-yet-fertile body was serving as the barrier.

She went on to say this: “And it just recently hit me, I am living the response to their prayers. They were praying for my child. And somehow, between then and now, my heart has been drawn to go get her.”

They are adopting from Korea.

The seed-work of changing the world is undetected by most, but not Him. It matters. Prayer matters to God. And one of the many Situation Rooms of the kingdom of God is just about 9 minutes and 6 interchanges away from my house. Another, is in my living room.