The Oddest & Greatest Prayer Warrior
Sunday - July 26th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 6:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Let's pray about that."
"It seems to me this is something we should pray over."
"Let's pray right now."
"Sounds like we should pray to God for answers."
"Then, it is time to talk to God in prayer."
It seemed like every five minutes, Gigi encouraged us to pray. In her way of thinking, nothing was to be left outside the scope of prayer. She did not just wait to pray over a list at a designated time she spent in prayer and reading God's Word. She prayed all of the time. At first, it seemed a bit much. It felt phony to me and the others. We quickly learned that it wasn't too much. It was just about right. After our ten days together, her heart for prayer had infected and affected each of us for the rest of our lives.
In the summer of 1982, at the age of 14, I attended a Child Evangelism Fellowship training camp for teens. We were being trained to spend our summers running weeklong Five Day Clubs for kids in the back yards of folks from our churches. We were running miniature Vacation Bible School programs for the neighborhood kids. We spent a lot of time learning how to teach the Bible to children in a fun and engaging way. Our goal was to teach the Bible so the children could understand it and apply it to their lives. It was some of the earliest and most valuable training I had regarding how to communicate the Bible to others.
Each teenager was assigned to a group of 3 or 4 other teenagers and each group was given an adult trainer. My trainer was a woman around the age of thirty named Gigi. She was a single woman who deeply loved the Lord. But, Gigi seemed a bit behind the times for her age. She wore frumpy clothes with styles like a decade or two earlier than the early 1980s.
Some of the teens at the training camp found Gigi odd and out of touch with the modern world. When I first learned Gigi would be my trainer, I was disappointed. She seemed boring and awkward. I wanted a trainer who was fun and inspiring. By the way she looked and carried herself, no one would use the words "fun" or "inspiring" to describe her.
After spending the better part of ten days with her and our group of trainees, Gigi still seemed frumpy, odd, and out of touch. That did not change the fact that she would have a significant impact on how I would pray for the rest of my life. While I have met a lot of prayer warriors throughout my life, I have not, nor do I think I ever will, meet another prayer warrior like Gigi. Gigi didn't return to the same training camp the next year. I never saw her again. I don't even know her last name or where she lived (other than that she lived in Indiana - we all did). That does not change the impact she had on my life.
Gigi prayed about everything and prayed all of the time. She embodied what Paul said to the Thessalonian believers in the final instructions of his first letter to them. "Pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Gigi prayed as most people breathe. She had a simple, sweet connection with God all of the time. It was not a showy or hyper-spiritual aspect to who she was. Gigi just talked to God whenever she felt the need to do so.
Part of our training was to conduct one of these 5-Day Clubs in the community near the training camp. Each day for five days, our group of three trainee teenagers and Gigi piled into her old, late 1960s Chevy sedan and drove into town to hold a backyard club for kids. Gigi stopped and led us in a quick prayer as we got in the car, as we arrived at the house hosting the club, just before we started the club, and immediately after the club hour was finished. Most of that the majority of trainers would do as well.
Gigi would pray a sentence or two as someone mentioned they felt unprepared or did not know how to talk to a parent dropping their child off. If you mentioned in passing a grandparent, friend, uncle, or any other person in your life and there was even a hint they could use prayer, Gigi would pray. Yes, at times it was a bit much. The first day or two, it got old, and I thought I should get a different trainer. After all, I was there to learn how to teach the Bible stories to kids, not to have a class on prayer.
As we spent more time with Gigi, we learned this was genuine. It was her. As a single Christian, she had cultivated a deep and personal connection to God. She breathed her prayers to Him about everything and everyone. Rarely were her prayers more than a sentence or two. But praying continuously was a way of life for her.
Gigi impacted my perspective on and practice of prayer. I am nowhere near the kind of prayer warrior she was. Not sure many of us are. She taught me that prayer can happen anytime about anything. And that it should be a natural communication all day long with God.
Find five times in your day to day to stop and say a quick prayer about something or someone in your day!