40-Day Challenge: Week Four

I am fascinated by Bottlenose Dolphins.  The most intelligent creatures in the ocean, dolphins are easily trained and can reason, solve problems, think abstractly, and even recognize themselves in a mirror! They are also incredibly fast and powerful.

Stories abound of dolphins protecting humans against sharks, repelling them with high-speed, battering ram-like blows. My dad is one of the few living World War II submarine veterans. “While on long, hot tours in the South Pacific,” he used to tell me, “we hoped to see dolphins. This meant we could dive off the sub for a refreshing swim–sure to be safe from sharks.”

Sharks steer clear of dolphins, wary of their incredible strength and speed.   But there is another reason they stand strong agains sharks.  Dolphins find safety in numbers by sticking together in groups or “pods.”

What do dolphins have to do with prayer?  Simply this. Like dolphins, our teammates can help us gain strength in prayer and defeat our spiritual enemies.  Jesus said it this way: “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).  The Greek word for agreement is symphone (from which we get symphony), meaning “together with the same voice.”  This word can also be translated “music.”

This week, let’s focus on Step Four in our 40-Day Prayer ChallengeAGREE with others in prayer.

For meditation or memorization:

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  Matthew 18:19

Click here to see three versions of Matthew 18:19 and note the various words for agreement.

My prayer partner Beth and I “agree” in prayer, first for our own husbands and children, gradually extending to those around us, and even to the world beyond our own walls.  Throughout the day, we’ll text or leave a voicemail with our prayer requests. We pray with “one voice,” in agreement.  Perhaps this kind of prayer sounds like music to God.

I am mystified as to why this works.  I just know from experience that the prayer of agreement seems to ignite prayer with an extra power.  Jesus promises that when we are gathered, even just two or three of us, in His name, He is there with us (Matthew 18:20).

Now for a bit of “Prayer Coaching” as we continue our 40-Day Challenge:

If you’re reading daily with me in the Gospel of John (the 21-Day Experiment ), you may be discovering that praying God’s Word gives AUTHORITY to your prayers.  And as you continue the process of prayer, are you growing more ALERT, watching and listening for God’s voice daily? And don’t forget to be specific when you ASK—not to be demanding of God, but so you’ll recognized even the tiniest answer to prayer when it comes.

This week’s assignment is to read  Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning to Hear the Voice of GodChapter 7, Teammates.  Answer the Personal Reflection Questions on page 191.

Training Tip #1PODs.  Prayer needs can arise at a moment’s notice.  I call these “prayers on demand,” or PODs.  This week, select your prayer partner (if you don’t have one) and begin to share “PODs” through texting, emails, voicemail, or whatever works best.

Training Tip #2:  When selecting your prayer partner, I find it works well to have  someone whose season of life is like mine.  Beth and I are a good fit.  All of our kids are passionate about sports.  Our parenting styles are similar–and with all those athletes, we have lots of laundry (a good time to pray)!

Training Tip #3: Prayer partners are also good for accountability.   It helps to confess our failures and mess-ups. (“Help–I need prayer.  Just lost my temper with the kids, again!)  Accountability keeps me ALERT-for prayer needs, answers to prayer, and confession. And remember, “POD” can also mean “praise on demand.”  Share answers to prayer as well as requests.

Training Tip #4: Remember: your family can be your greatest prayer partners. .  Have prayer triggers for each member. Share requests and answers to prayer often.  Create your own family history of answered prayer.  I’ve heard it said this way:  The family that prays together stays together!

Prayer: Lord, I confess that sometimes I treat my walk with you like a solo journey.  You tell me over and over in your Word that this journey is not to be traveled alone.  I humbly confess to you that I need the Body of Christ–for protection, for power in agreement, and to simply share the joy of knowing You.  Strengthen my family’s commitment to prayer.  And as we are mindful to notice You, may we develop our own history–a true heritage–of seeing Your mighty works in the ordinary moments of life.  This is the greatest adventure of all.  Amen.

3 responses to “40-Day Challenge: Week Four

  • jackie s

    I “won” your book from a study with Wendy Blight (thanks again for the book). Totally considering giving your book as a gift to the women in my life for Christmas (along with a Chubby!). How to order – and any possibility of having you sign the books? I am about a week behind in the study – on day 3 of the 21 day experience and finding that as a Christian (for 42 years), I have never understood the beauty of prayer as much as I am experiencing right now. Thank you.

  • Courtney

    Dear Marilyn,

    I am so very grateful for your book! I have thanked God numerous times for putting it in my hands. Your stories have been so inspiring to me! I keep telling God that I am eager to learn to pray as good as Marilynn 🙂 I know He speaks to each of us differently but there’s nothing wrong with a Christian role model, right? And I feel like the Chubby method was invented for me personally 🙂 I am a list-a-holic and have been praying all year for God to show me how to pray better prayers. Still working on the alert thing but I know God will get me there 🙂 This has been one of the best teaching experiences I’ve ever had as a Christian. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Many Blessings,

  • marilynnchadwick

    Hi Courtney,
    Somehow I missed seeing your reply, and just read it today. It was just the encouragement I needed! I am so glad you are enjoying the book, and especially thankful that it is helping you find ways to pray more effectively. That’s the reason I wrote it. And I love hearing that you are a “list-a-holic” as well. So appreciate your checking in with me.
    Keep alert…and keep in touch.
    Marilynn Chadwick

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