I was reminded several times this week of the vital work of prayer. At an all-night prayer meeting, the church prayed for Peter. God miraculously released him from prison and the pending threat of death.
Saturday and Sunday of this week, as I shared this epic story with The Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community, I was reminded of Harriett Cottingham. Harriett was the Sunday school and Training Union teacher for 10 teenage girls in the 1950′s. I was one of those young women. For five years, we sat under her tutelage. She was the only adult I knew who wanted teenagers to call her by her first name.
There are a midrad of things she taught me. But the most important one was the important nature of constant prayer in our lives.
One week during our Bible class, she challenged us to pray each day ten times a day. It seemed impossible to me. Yet, as she broke it down for us, I knew I could do it. At the end of the class, she asked for a commitment to prayer. I raised my hand. From that pivotal moment, I’ve been hooked on the power and importance of prayer.
I devised a plan of action to keep me consistant. I set times each day that I would pray. Harriett had explained that our prayer didn’t need to be long or complicated. We didn’t have to kneel or close our eyes. Our prayers should be a simple request for God to help us, forgive us or bless us.
I remember that each morning leaving for school, as I jumped off the front porch because I never walked down the four steps, I would pray. Lord, help me catch the bus and bless my day. As I stepped off the bus onto the school ground, I prayed. Lord, help me to listen and to do good work in class.
In short, prayer became a part of my life through that easy practice of talking with the Lord ten times a day. Throughout eternity, I’ll be grateful for Harriett and her faithfulness to ten silly young girls. However, I am most grateful for teaching me the value, worth and work of prayer.
I agree with Hudson Taylor that prayer takes strength; but I’m equally happy that Harriett helped me to discover at a young age the joy of frequent communication with the Lord.