“Prayer That Annihilates Condemnation” by Shirley Buxton.
Both secular and sacred history tell of prayer meetings that have shaken cities, even countries—if not continents. I have been favored a few times to be in an atmosphere of such compelling, burning prayer that all who were there knew we were hovering in the holy presence of God. “I saw angels lining the walls of this sanctuary,” one of my sisters said afterward. Although I did not see angels, I knew they were there. Some had shed their shoes; and I had buried my face in the carpet. Shaking as though swept by a great storm, I wept. The pure, divine One had ranged about us frail human beings, and we could hardly take it in. Even now I find it impossible to accurately describe those minutes.
Apostolic church schedules tell of opportunity for corporate prayer, and our ministers urge us to attend these meetings. Some are separated by groups: women, men, leaders, youth. We are reminded of pre-service prayer. A time for prayer is carved out in each service. Frequently, those who need a healing gather in the altar area and are anointed with oil as the Bible instructs.
Our ministers and the Holy Ghost within urge us to prayer in our homes. On a regular (or not so regular) schedule we kneel or sit in a special place and pray. Some have a particular method to approach prayer time. Some use lists as reminders of particular needs, and some “wing it,” praying randomly as thoughts gather.
Many of us are plagued with the feeling that we don’t pray enough. We find it difficult to pray as we believe we should. Satan accuses us, and we feel condemned. I’d like to help you with that today, so you may be free of that guilty feeling.
While dynamic church prayer meetings can never be replaced by anything else—at least on that scale—and while you should have a time for personal devotion in your home, I want you to understand there are other effective ways to pray. The kind of prayer I’m encouraging today fulfills the Scripture that says, “Pray without ceasing.”
We know it is nonsensical to think Paul meant we must constantly be on our knees, or sitting in our prayer chair, or living at the church in the prayer room. He meant we must live in such a way, with deep and true conviction, that a sense of the holy is constantly with us, no matter what we are doing. Deep inside, perpetually there, is the abiding presence of God. Not loud, perhaps not even muttered, but we are thankful; we are burdened. We may weep. Or we fall on our faces and wail for the woes of humanity.
Be not condemned by Satan. Be a woman of prayer who in the depth of your soul has secured a virtuous, sanctified niche where dwells the spirit of God. Guard that place so worship ascends freely, wherever you are or whatever you are doing. Protect that space. Cultivate eyes that tear up in the neighborhood market as you become aware of a young woman who reaches in to handle a melon or a scoop of green beans. Then you remember . . . she will live forever somewhere.
Note: Shirley Buxton was born into a Pentecostal preacher’s home, married a preacher, and has sons, relatives, and multiple friends who are preachers. Months ago, after 64 years of marriage, the love of her life slipped away to heaven, and although she yet grieves, she continues to say, “I’ve lived the best life in the world.” The work of God is her heart.
(Info from: Ladies Prayer Intl June 2021 Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries – firstname.lastname@example.org)