"No matter how much I think I come to understand about the purpose and power of prayer there is always something new to learn, or something old to learn at a deeper level."
Jennifer Kennedy Dean, executive director for the Praying Life Foundation, spoke these words during Oklahoma Baptist University's weekly Chapel on March 28.
Dean was guest speaker for OBU's annual Women's Mission and Ministry Day, hosted in coordination with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Baptist women from around the state joined OBU students in Raley Chapel to hear Dean speak on "living prayerfully."
"I began 30 some years ago, at the age of 20, to seek the Lord to teach me to pray. That was just a passion that I found in my life," said Dean. "I had this great hunger to understand what would make prayer work, like the Bible says that prayer would work."
Dean is the author of "Hearts Cry" and other books on prayer and spirituality, and is involved in providing resources on prayer to churches, ministries and individuals.
Though the journey to understanding prayer may be difficult, Dean said, there is an importance of prayer, and it can have power in each person's life.
"In the experience of prayer, there will be a period of time where you're praying and you can't get anything to happen. When you evaluate the circumstances, it will look to you as if prayer is having no effect," said Dean. "But it's not about having a prayer life; it's that we live a praying life. There is an undercurrent of prayer in the life of the believer."
Dean said she saw the work of prayer in her life during difficult times. She stressed the importance of seeing how God works in every opportunity in life.
"There will be times when circumstances have an outcome that you look at and say 'that cannot be what God meant to happen,'" she said. "Wait and see how it works out, how it sets the stage for the next thing that comes in place, which prepares your heart for the next thing that comes in place, which laid a ground work for the next thing that comes into place. Then, you will say, 'Oh, I see! I could not be here if I was never there.'"