I became a Christian at a young age, but prayer was always a mystery to me. Other than saying short, rehearsed prayers at mealtimes, I never seemed to know the words to say, though I was frequently told to “just pray about it.” I went through elementary school mimicking the prayers of my parents, but never quite finding my own prayer life.
This changed when I entered middle school and I faced challenges for the first time alone. Like many middle schoolers, I was the target of bullying, at one point having a blog named “Bashing Bethany” created by my presumed best friend. Those were some of the darkest years of my life, but I would never trade them. For it was in those dark days – alone and scared – that I learned how to pray.
At first it was just ramblings in a tween girl’s diary, then my prayers became more directed. I would go to God with my hurts, my frustrations, my anger, my insecurities. It was my lifeline – the way I survived each day. Prayer wasn’t just a mealtime formality anymore; it was my strength. Looking back on those prayers journals now, I am in awe by both the baseness of my prayers but also the childlike faith.
Freshman year of high school brought new people. I made new friends who warded off the bullies who had terrorized me. That didn’t stop them from moving on to a new target, though. Unfortunately, they moved to my newfound best friend, and one day they pushed her too far.
It was at that moment on the school’s bathroom floor with my friend sobbing in my arms I heard the words, “We need to pray” come out of my mouth. Over the last three years I had learned the power of prayer, and I wanted to share it with her. I can’t remember exactly what I prayed that day, but one phrase remains in both of our memories, “God please cover their mouths with duct tape so that they cannot hurt us anymore.”
As we made our way back to class, we felt God’s peace surrounding us. We opened the door to our classroom, expecting the worst but resting in God’s love, but we found the class completely silent. And they stayed that way throughout the day. No one spoke. We were flabbergasted. Our prayer worked! From that day on, we celebrated our duct tape prayers. We prayed that God would duct tape our broken hearts after hard breakups. We prayed that God would bind us with duct tape as we graduated and went separate ways. We sometimes even wrote the prayers on duct tape.
What we learned that day was that prayer is powerful. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” We learned that prayer is not reciting rhymes at meal time or quoting the Lord’s Prayer at a closing assembly. It is our lifeline to the God who holds our lives and the whole world in his hand.
This blog is a blog about prayer that works. I will allow you into my prayer life and share with you how prayer is working powerfully in my life. I will show you the heart of prayer in the Word of God. My prayer for you, my reader, is that God would draw your heart close to his and bind you to him by his love and grace, which is stronger than any roll duct tape.