Ghinwa Akiki

Have you ever felt like you’re drowning in a sea of worries, adrift with no land in sight? Amid life’s turbulent storms, many of us in Lebanon today are weary, relying on security updates from other countries for hope and peace. Overwhelmed, we reach for the desperate lifeline of prayer. But sometimes, we forget its true essence. While prayer connects us with God, there’s a risk of it being perceived as self-interested solely aimed at achieving specific outcomes.

Too often, we treat prayer as a venting session to feel good about ourselves. Consequently, we approach God with closed ears, unable to receive His guidance. This turns prayer into a one-sided conversation centred around our feelings and peace of mind.

So, what is a Changing prayer?

Prayer is a means of shifting our perspective, finding courage to confront challenges, and nurturing hope. Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. It is a direct interaction with God. It often reflects our belief in God’s ability to listen, respond, and act according to his will.

How To Pray and Rest in God’s Sovereignty?

To pray and rest in God’s sovereignty is to make sure that the prayer is aligned with the will of the father, also to ensure that it is genuine, and the bundle of worries are placed in God’s hands, as He will take care of them.

Whether it is praying for peace in a conflict or strength through a personal challenge, the Bible reminds us of five timeless principles of prayer to keep in mind as we navigate through life’s experiences.

1- Prayer Guides Us with Wisdom

Feeling lost in a no-way-out situation? Prayer acts as a beacon, guiding you towards wisdom and a clear path forward. God has a greater plan for our lives, and He desires that we align our plans with His purpose. As a church, ministry, or organization, you can express your desires and confusion, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your steps.

As a faith-based organization on a mission with God in the Middle East, Thimar LSESD sees it crucial to align ourselves with the will of God.

2- Facing Goliath? Prayer Strengthens our Faith

Life throws challenges, some of which seem insurmountable. But isn’t it true that even a giant can be brought down with a single stone?

Remember David facing Goliath, his prayers for strength echoing before his victory. Prayer does not guarantee an easy win; however, it empowers us to confront our giants with courage. David’s story is similar to that of a little girl who experienced an answered prayer that indeed strengthened her faith and that of her family.

During one of the Christmas events at a partner church in a vulnerable community, Salt and Light, a ministry of Thimar – LSESD, supported the church by providing gifts for children. A young girl who attended this event had been asking her mom for a Barbie doll for Christmas. Unable to afford it, the mom told her daughter to pray to Jesus, and the girl did. When she received the gift during the event, to her surprise, she received a Barbie doll. She approached her mom, excited and crying tears of joy, and shared “Jesus answers prayers!” This little girl not only enjoyed her gift but also learned that Jesus is alive and hears her prayers.

Prayer can be simple, and we often learn from the simplicity of children’s faith. It always aims to draw us closer to the Father’s heart, enabling us to dive deeper in His wide, unending love.

The God who answers prayers

3- Prayer Heals the Broken-hearted

Whether facing physical illness, emotional pain, or the scars of trauma, Prayer does not always erase the pain, but it offers comfort, strength, and hope for healing, both physically and emotionally. God has His ways of surprising us, and through Thimar’s ministries, the team gets to experience God’s faithfulness in providing and hearing prayers lifted in darkness.

MERATH, a Christian NGO and a ministry of Thimar – LSESD, rejoiced upon seeing Abissa’s prayers answered.

The war in Syria forced Abissa and her family to flee to Lebanon, leaving them in financial hardship and sickness. Abissa’s husband faced abuse at work and pressure from the landlord. Faced with these difficult challenges, Abissa silently prayed in darkness, seeking a way out of the endless tunnel they were trapped in. The Lord heard Abissa’s pleas for help and embraced her family with His love through prayers and support from the church and MERATH. Abissa shares, “I had been praying about it for so long; it was truly an answer to prayer!” Their faith sustained them, as she believes, “Our role is to pray, and the Lord will provide. Nothing is impossible for Him.” (Full Story)

The God who answers prayers

4- Prayer Creates Community

Few acts resonate as deeply as praying for one another. Among Christians, this practice is a tangible expression of love and the glue that binds a supportive community. In the previous story, Abissa received this gift of love when she knew that people in the church were supporting her and her family in prayer. Praying together and for each other unites us in shared faith and acknowledges our dependence on God’s grace and intervention.

How does prayer create community?

Prayer creates community within the frameworks of communal prayer, through which members can express love and empathy for each other. Jesus told His disciples in John 13:35: “Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

What is the most valuable gift you can offer someone today? Time. Communal prayer is a gift of time you give to others. It is a public proclamation that the people of God are an integral part of the Body and that the Holy Spirit is within them. This proclamation is a visible practice, as God values the visual aspect of putting our faith into action.

Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have the habit of doing. Rather, let us encourage each other, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Church is a community of people who gather. It is through this gathering that the church becomes visible.

5- A community that Practices Prayer

Often time, we tell someone “I am praying for you” to offer comfort. This statement has become a cliché way – A “Christianise” way – to show empathy, particularly within Christian circles. But what if we actually act on what we say? How many times have we prayed for someone and witnessed God working in their lives, breaking through situations, or offering healing?

If we consider how regular communal prayer could transform our lives, it fuels our desire to make it happen. The practical aspects of communal prayer nurture a deeper connection with God and with each other and serves as a means to experience spiritual growth together within a supportive community.

When God’s people come together to share their burdens and be united in prayer, it is a visual testimony of the work of the Holy Spirit amidst the Church.

As a member of a local church in Beirut, I have recently experienced the power of communal prayer. I was in a challenging situation where the road seemed blocked, and I had no reason to hope. Darkness loomed over my thoughts, and my soul was down. I called my pastor, crying for help in a situation where nothing seemed to work out, and no comfort seemed possible. He told me, ‘We don’t know what to do or what the way out is, but we will pray.’ He prayed with me on the phone and asked for peace and comfort to fill my mind and heart. Later, people from the church joined in prayer, and the next thing I knew, I was not alone. Peace miraculously overruled my heart! I was reminded that God is in control.

Communal prayer helped me overcome fear, especially the one of the unknown. Praying together offered me comfort and support during that difficult time and reminded me that God has put people together to help carry each other’s burdens.

Our prayers may not seem significant alone, but when united, they create a force.

How to Pray for the Middle East?

Today, the Middle East, a land etched with history and resilience, faces ongoing struggles. From conflicts and displacement to economic hardship and religious persecution, peace and hope are more urgent than ever. Thimar – LSESD Lebanon invites you to actively participate in this transformative practice that we believe, when uniting our voices, the Lord will comfort the broken-hearted, heal the sick, cease wars, and be glorified among people.

Let us join hearts in lifting the region and its people in prayer.

Pray for Lebanon: Since the war erupted on October 7th, there have been constant artillery exchanges along the Lebanese southern borders. Pray that hostilities do not escalate further in Lebanon and for an end to the conflict on the borders.

Pray for Gaza and Israel: Pray for peace to the conflict in Gaza and for the millions being affected.

Pray for Sudan: Pray for Christians in Sudan as civilians are killed, wounded, and displaced and infrastructure is damaged and destroyed.

Pray for Syria: Pray for an end to the civil war that has dispersed millions of people worldwide.

Pray for Thimar – LSESD: Pray for Thimar’s ministries as they spread and demonstrate the Gospel amid these turbulent times.

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