One cool, spring morning, my friend, Debbie, unexpectedly rang my doorbell. Out power walking, she stopped by for coffee and a listening ear. Debbie wasted no time in sharing her frustration with her prayer group: “So much time is wasted on trivial concerns, idle conversations, or lengthy discussions about prayer itself, we never get to the task of actually praying!” Debbie worked in a large corporation, and juggled a busy schedule both in her business and personal life. Her style was a no-nonsense, task and goal-oriented one. She was all about action and doing.
Debbie enjoyed participating in regional prayer breakfasts and evenings of prayer and worship at her church. Different topics and people groups were prayed for by each person in every prayer circle. She appreciated hearing people pray from different perspectives with the prayer focus God assigned them. She sheepishly admitted, “I soon realized mine wasn’t the only correct one.” Debbie was mindful of how their practical approach to praying revealed a deep relationship with God and a rich prayer life. She wanted the same to saturate her spiritual life.
The dissatisfaction Debbie voiced reveals her personality type – Powerful Choleric. Being a born “doer,” sitting and reading the Bible for a set period of time each day often turns out to be a frustrating and unrewarding activity. Debbie expresses her love for God by serving and doing things for Him. She enjoys praying and communicating with God anywhere at any time. She gains much from listening to others pray, especially seasoned prayer warriors. She reads books on prayer and explores different methods of praying. Debbie believes her prayers should be purposeful and yield noticeable results. She expects God to answer in practical ways, and often becomes impatient waiting for Him to respond.
Debbie finds setting spiritual goals helpful, but is aware of her tendency to control her spiritual life – how and when to pray, and the desired outcome. Studying the Bible, and enjoying a sweet devotion and quiet time in ways that work for her are also a priority. Debbie longs for an intimate relationship with God, to experience His presence in a greater measure, and to learn to surrender control to Him. The Lord regularly reminds Debbie of Proverbs 16:9: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
I heard Debbie’s heart cry and offered to help. I invited her to join me and two other prayer partner friends whom she knew in our loosely scheduled, weekly get together as we lifted our personal needs and requests to the throne room of God. She brightened at the idea it was several friends freely sharing what is happening in their lives, and praying for one another, their families, and whatever Father God put on their hearts. I also suggested she search out Bible studies designed to be accomplished with a friend or two, instead of a larger study group which adheres to a strict schedule and method for studying God’s Word.
Months have passed by and Debbie continues to participate in our informal prayer partnership. Recently Debbie remarked: “I’m finally learning to let God be in control and wait for His direction. However, I tell Him that I don’t want to be the kind of person who passively keeps waiting, never takes action, and never sees a green light.” I laughed and said: “With God every light is a green light until He gives you a red light.”