Stories & Commentaries

When We Pray

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She was strong, committed, and determined to live for and be like Jesus. She read and studied her Bible daily. She cared for others — fed, clothed, nursed, housed, visited, taught about Jesus, and sang/prayed for and with others. Her purpose in life and her greatest joy, she often said, was to tell everyone about Jesus Christ.

We called her a prayer warrior. She called it “storming the mercy seat.” I recall on Friday nights and early Sabbath mornings joining her in prayer for family, friends, the church, the community, and various needs locally and around the world. She was instrumental in many people (including me) being baptized, recommitting their life to Jesus, and/or becoming members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

She was my “G,” my second mother or godmother, Glenes M. Robinson (May 1933-April 2020). Sitting at her feet, I learned what happens when we pray: God hears our prayers, and He either is silent or will answer according to His will and time. Through the years, when God has been silent to my prayer requests, it has built my faith and trust in Jesus. I also learned that a relationship with Jesus, coupled with prayer, is like breathing, and without breathing, we perish.

Three additional key points I learned from G about prayer.

  1. Speak with the Lord often. Make time to read your Bible and talk with God every day. Ellen White wrote: “In order to commune with God, we must have something to say to Him concerning our actual life. Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.”[1]
  2. Forgive those who hurt you. When we pray, we must always remember, “Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11, NIV). Consider the Bible story of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. “He who had so recently been forgiven was not tenderhearted and pitiful. . . . But the great lesson of the parable lies in the contrast between God’s compassion and man’s hardheartedness; in the fact that God’s forgiving mercy is to be the measure of our own. . . . We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own.”[2]
  3. Pray and work for those who do not know Jesus. I prayed for many years for family and friends to recommit or accept Jesus for the first time as Lord of their lives. I participated in and witnessed several loved ones and friends recommit or make their decision to follow Jesus. Ellen White observed: “Begin to pray for souls; come near to Christ, close to His bleeding side. Let a meek and quiet spirit adorn your lives, and let your earnest, broken, humble petitions ascend to Him for wisdom that you may have success in saving not only your own soul, but the souls of others.”[3]

Make prayer a significant part of your personal worship time and add Bible or devotional book reading. It will change your life. I plan to read This Far by Faith: Devotionals From the Black Experience, by C. E. Hodges, as part of Black History Month this February. Make time for prayer; Jesus is only a breath away.

— Carolyn R. Forrest is associate secretary-director for Secretariat and Office of Human Relations for the North American Division.


[1] Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View. Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1956), p. 93.

[2] White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900. 1941), pp. 245-251.

[3]  Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 1, p. 513.