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Pray When You Don't Know What to Say

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Best-selling author, latest, Praying Women (Baker Books, 2020)

She has sold more than five million books

Bible teacher

Co-host of Life Today with James and Betty Robison, with more than 1 million viewers

Popular conference speaker

Founder of Braveheart Sisterhood events

Women of Faith speaker for 20 years

Former 700 Club co-host and Heart to Heart host

Married to Barry, grown son, Christian

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Before writing Praying Women, Sheila took a survey on Facebook, asking how women struggled when it came to prayer.  Within two hours she’d received more than 650 responses, many of them the same, such as: “I get distracted,” “I get bored,” and “What’s the point if God knows what’s going to happen anyway?”  This one pierced her heart: “I didn’t get an answer last time, so why pray?”  Sheila responds to that question in her book by referring to Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, in which He asked that His cup of suffering be removed. His request was denied, but He continued to seek His Father, which serves as our model, she says.  Christ didn’t hide His dread of the cross, but accepted the answer and continued to look to God for strength.  Instead of pulling back from God when we don’t perceive an answer, or the one we want, she says we need to “process our pain in His presence.”  When we do, she believes we’ll find that what we need most is not the answer we hoped for, but the Lord Himself.  She wants God’s daughters to believe that He is listening and that He loves them.  

Sheila believes that prayer is meant to be much more than a task on our spiritual “to do” lists, but rather, how we maintain a relationship with God. “It’s meant to be a conversation through the day, our constant companionship with Christ.”  She also believes that prayer is our most underused tool.  “If prayer was Christ’s weapon of choice, how much more do we need to use it?”  To encourage her readers to keep praying when it seems that God is silent, Sheila offers the example of the widow of Luke 18, who repeatedly petitions the unjust judge of her city for justice.  Though he cares about neither God nor the people, he finally grants her justice to get rid of her.  Sheila points out that God, who loves us, will gladly reply to our petitions with perfect love and wisdom. Another example she gives is that of a dear man from her church in Scotland, “Angus.”  Every Tuesday evening at their prayer meeting, he asked the Lord for the salvation of his wife, and continued to ask for forty years. Though Angus didn’t see the answer to those prayers before his death, it finally came at his funeral service.  His wife, seeing the church filled with people who loved her husband, and hearing the message of the gospel, finally came to Christ as her Savior.  “A lifetime is not too long to pray,” Sheila concludes.    

Looking back over the years, Sheila says people assumed that she had a strong prayer life because she was a public speaker and author. “But I didn’t,” she admits.  She says she struggled for the same reasons people cited in response to her survey.  As she researched the topic of prayer, the most effective tool Sheila found to help her pray is the Psalms. Using them as a guide, she says, gives voice to her emotions and the authority of God’s own words.  She quotes the early church father, Athanasius:  “In the Psalter you learn about yourself.  You find depicted in it all the movements of your soul, all its changes, its ups and downs, its failures and recoveries.”  To that, Sheila adds, “The Psalms are brutally honest.  They don’t disguise our pain, and they don’t hide our only hope.  Perhaps if we lived and prayed like the psalmist, more people would be drawn to Jesus.”  It’s now her daily practice to pray using the Psalms.  

On Feb. 5, 2020, Sheila will host the “Praying Women” live simulcast event from Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, TX.  She’ll co-lead worship using songs from her new Braveheart Worship CD, which includes a duet with her longtime friend, Cliff Richards, and teach from her new book.

On Feb. 15, 2020, Sheila will co-lead a national, live-streamed prayer event, “She Loves Out Loud” with the goal of one million women praying together.

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Sheila Walsh
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