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Power of a Praying Woman
This book is divided into 30 short chapters, meant to cover
specific areas of prayer focus. Each chapter includes a Scripture-rich
prayer to be prayed and five verses titled "God's Promises to
Living a Lifestyle of Prayer:
An Intimate Interview with Stormie Omartian
By Laura Bagby
Stormie Omartian is the insightful and best selling author of
'The Power of a Praying'
series, including The Power of a Praying Parent
(1995), The Power of a Praying Wife (1997), The Power of a Praying
Husband (2001), The Power of a Praying Nation (February 2002), The
Power of a Praying Woman (July 2002), and The Power of Praying Together
(2003, with Jack Hayford).
Stormie's quiet strength is so evident you would never guess she was once
the victim of abuse. Stormie was raised by a mentally ill, abusive mother
who locked her in a closet for much of her early childhood. Stormie explains
in her book that her father, a Christian, didn't come to her rescue. For years,
Stormie felt anger and hurt toward both her parents. Then she married her
husband, Michael, an acclaimed songwriter. The cycle continued, only this
time it was verbal abuse. For the first part of their marriage, Michael was
directing the anger he had toward his overbearing and perfectionistic mother
But through God's healing power and the power of forgiveness, Stormie is
a different woman today. Married now for more than 28 years and mother of
three grown children, this Presidential Prayer Team member is a soft-spoken,
gentle, unassuming, and accepting woman. And she made me feel right at home
as she divulged her passion to know God and to help others know our loving
I know that you have written a lot of books about prayer. I haven't read
them all, but I have read The Power of a Praying Woman.
STORMIE: Oh, great. I am glad. Are you single?
STORMIE: That's good. I did this for single women who said, 'What about me?
No one is praying for me.' I tell them, 'You can pray for you. Let me show
you how.' This is for every woman -- doesn't matter if they are single or
married or what their status is, whether they are a mom or not or how old
they are. It doesn't matter. This is for every woman who wants to move on
with the Lord and establish a deep walk with the Lord.
You talk so much about women doing all these busy things, and we don't
stop and pray for ourselves.
STORMIE: Women are the worst at that. Women are by nature nurturers and givers,
and they feel guilty if they are praying for themselves. They feel guilty
if they are doing anything for themselves. They always have to be giving out
and doing and giving. But these 30 areas of prayer focus in the book are all
God's will for their lives, so what you are really praying for is God's will
for your life. Every single area is what God wants for you, so it's not something
you have to feel guilty about praying for yourself. You are praying that God's
will would be done in your life and you are being specific. I think more women
need to feel less guilt and more conviction about the fact that they need
to pray for themselves, they need to pray for their relationships, they need
to pray for their work or the things that are important in their lives. They
have to be covered in prayer. That can't be left to chance.
There is some debate, at least from what I can tell, in terms of books
on prayer. I have seen the "five minutes with the Lord" books. These are short
prayers. But with your books, it is like prayer is a lifestyle. Would you
agree with that?
STORMIE: Absolutely! That's what it is for me: It is a lifestyle. I learned
a long time ago that I can't make it without the Lord. I just can't make it
without knowing that I am in right relationship to Him, that my foundations
in the Lord are good, because you can't build on weak foundations. You have
to have strong foundations. And the Lord's strong foundations are the Word
and praise and prayer, confession, forgiveness--all of those things that are
basics, and God says you have got to do these this way in order for your life
to work. I have learned that praying without ceasing means you pray about
everything. I am praying all the time about everything I do throughout the
day, presenting my day before the Lord and saying, 'God, I can't get through
this day with any kind of success, any kind of lasting results that would
be desirable, without You being in charge of it.'
It is really wild how many women--and men, too--are really intimidated to
pray. They don't know if they are praying the right thing. They don't know
if they are doing it right. They don't know if God is listening. They don't
know if they deserve it. There is all this doubt. I really wanted to help
them understand how much God is waiting to hear from them and loves them.
He wants to help you. He wants to move you along in His purposes.
So, is there a right or wrong way to pray? I have had people ask me that
too: 'I am scared that I am going to pray the wrong thing for my life. The
enemy is going to get a foothold.' I have heard of ACTS: adoration, confession,
thanksgiving, and supplication. Do you have a certain way that you pray?
STORMIE: I always pray from the heart, and I am always very honest with God.
That 's really important. I don't try to pretty it up for Him because He already
knows the truth. He asks that we pray, that we partner in Him, so I don't
have to impress Him with how good I am. He already knows whether I am good
Confession is really important because that puts up a wall between you and
God when you have any kind of sin in your life, even when you don't even realize
you do. Maybe you are critical or judgmental or unforgiving and you dont
even realize it. Get before God and say, 'God, I just confess my sins before
you. If there is anything in me that I am not seeing, show me and I will confess
it. It is just like David. He says in the Psalms, 'Show me if there is anything
in my heart.' Also just praying that His will be done. 'Your will be done'
is the final bottom line. 'If I am praying something that isn't Your will
for my life, Lord, I still want Your will more than I want that.'
That can be scary because God's ways are higher than our ways, and we
don't get it.
STORMIE: We don't understand it. That is why it is a safety valve to pray
'Your will be done.' My dad is getting more and more frail and suffering more
and more. I just say, 'God, if it is Your will that he go to be with You,
then we just release Him into Your hands. But if it is not Your time, then
we pray for him to be healed.' We always have that way up that it is God's
You are never going to cause God to do something that He doesn't want to
do. You are not going to twist His arm into doing something by giving you
an answer to prayer that He doesn't want you to have. He isn't going to wake
up one morning thinking, 'Why did I let her do that? Why did I answer that
prayer?' That is not going to happen. He knows your heart. He looks on your
heart more than He looks on your words. He sees what is in your heart -- that
you want to please God, that you love the Lord, that you want to do His will,
that you have compassion for other people too and you pray for them. He sees
One thing you stress in this series of books is praying God's Word. Why
is it so important to pray God's Word back to God? He knows it already.
STORMIE: He does, so you are not informing Him. He has read it. He wrote
it. What you are doing is you are speaking something that is a sure thing.
I know that if I pray God's Word as a prayer, I am right on. That is really
comforting. Plus, it writes God's Word on your heart in such a profound way
that it becomes etched in you. You hear yourself saying God's Word. When you
hear yourself saying it in prayer, it increases your faith. It is amazing
how it does that. You are speaking something that brings life, something that
is able to cut through darkness and send light through the dark areas of your
life. It is a powerful dynamic when you do that.
With the whole spiritual warfare thing, sometimes we as Christians can
be out of that loop. We forget because we are not in God's Word all of the
time. We don't hear Him. It seems like He talks to us more when we already
know His Word.
STORMIE: You are absolutely right because you are getting so acquainted with
the Author that you hear Him speak and you can tell when it is His voice.
A lot of times we hear these voices, these tapes that play over in our mind.
Those are the voices that get us off on the wrong path. You have got to be
able to discern whether you are hearing God or you are hearing the voice of
the enemy or you are hearing the clamor of the world trying to draw you in.
You have got to know the voice that you want to listen to, and the way you
find out is by reading God's Word because as you read, you hear that voice.
You hear His voice through ever word of Scripture. You hear the kind of God
He is and the heart He has. When He speaks to your heart outside of the Word,
you know it is God. 'Oh, this is the Lord. I shouldn't be doing this. It is
a mistake if I make this decision. The Lord is really showing me that I should
turn this thing down and go the other way.' You really hear God's mind to
you in regard to your life and the decisions you make every day.
For someone who is still struggling to hear God, and he or she is in that
waiting mode, how do you encourage that person? Because sometimes God answers
instantly, and sometimes you wait years and years. Like you and your husband
with the whole anger situation, that was not overnight.
STORMIE: No, I still pray about it. He has come a long way, but I still pray
about that. It really comes down to a decision. Who are you going to trust?
I remember when I first became a Believer every so often wondering, 'Is this
a hoax? What if someone stands up and says this is all a joke and it isn't
really true?' I remember thinking it when I was really a young believer, during
that first year, and I remember saying to myself, 'OK, wait a minute. I have
decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.' Whenever I get
those words in my head, 'Is this really true? Did He really live?' I just
say, 'I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to believe He is who
He says that He is.' And that changed everything for me.
When I pray now, I don't give God a time limit. I just pray and trust that
He has heard my prayers. I have done my part. My job is to pray; His job is
to answer. I dont have to worry every moment about the answers. If there
is something more crucial when I have to know and I have to make a decision,
I just keep praying and praying. If I need to, I fast and pray, I am in the
Word praying, and I am praising. You do all those things to be in the presence
of God, whatever it takes as much as you can, because the more you are in
the presence of God, the more powerful your prayers are and the more likely
you will be to hear His direction for you and your answer to your prayer.
Sometimes we have to wait, especially when it concerns other people. You
are not just dealing with your prayers. You are dealing with someone else's
will. And that is another issue. God has to break through that strong will.
But when you are praying for somebody, interceding for someone else, especially
someone in relationship--your boss or your husband or wife or child or neighbor--it
allows them to hear from God better. It clears their head so that they can
hear from God. Our prayers aren't answered as quickly as we would like because
we have to get through the cloud.
It seems like, too--and I know that you have experienced this as well--that
we pray, 'Oh, change them, God.' And a lot of times the answer is, 'Uh-uh.
It is about you.' That is humbling.
STORMIE: Oh, it's terrible! [laughter] When the Lord first spoke that to
me, I wondered, 'Why do I have to change? It wasn't my fault. Obviously, he
is the one who is really messing up.' But then God says we need to change.
There isn't anybody who doesn't need to change. If you are willing, God can
come in and do a great thing in you. It is amazing that He did that in me
with my husband. I can't believe that I didn't see certain things. For a while
he wasn't doing what I thought a husband should do or be. When I began to
say, 'Change me, Lord,' He really began to give me eyes to see things in him.
That is really amazing. You begin to see the other person, why they are reacting
the way they are, why they are doing the things they are doing. That really
helps, the 'change me' prayer, even as much as you don't want to pray it.
It breaks everything down in you to pray that. He shows you things from a
new perspective. It is amazing how praying from a right heart makes all the
How has God changed you? Obviously, He has because your life before had
abuse. And now I sit before you and it is obvious that you know the Lord and
have an intimate relationship with Him.
STORMIE: He has changed me so much. I am not even the same person I was.
I remember how everything felt. It is not like I have forgotten. I remember
how it felt to be so depressed that I wanted to die, so lonely that it was
painful, so miserable. There is an emptiness, but there is also a burning,
like it is burning out your insides, the frustration, the lack of fulfillment,
the emotional pain. I remember how it all felt and then trying to get rid
of it and nothing working more than temporarily. You get into alcohol and
that works temporarily. You get into drugs and that works temporarily. You
get into the occult and different Eastern religions. You get into all these
things. It is temporary relief. And then you are worse off afterwards. It
is like taking medicine that has side effects. You take the medicine and you
feel good, but then you have these side effects.
When I think about the fact that I got free of all that, it is just amazing
to me. It is a miracle. I had tremendous fear about things. You get free from
the self-hatred. You couldn't even be a real person because you had so much
turmoil inside. You couldn't even be a normal person. You are so self focused
because you are in so much pain. You can't give out to other people because
you are just trying to keep yourself together. I have just changed so much
-- miracle after miracle after miracle. To come to be a patient person is
like oh, gosh. You know what I mean?
Pray for patience! [laughter]
STORMIE: No, I didn't. I know better than that! [laughter]
Pray for grace is what I say.
STORMIE: Exactly. That is what I say, too. Grace and mercy--I like that.
God gave me patience where I didn't have any before. I wanted things done
now, and when they weren't done now, then something was terribly wrong. To
have the patience to wait for God to answer and also just the faith to know
that He is going to do it, He has never let me down. Gilda Radner's autobiography
is called It is Always Something, and I thought, What a great title!
In life there is always something to deal with, always something facing you.
For me, I don't think life is easy.
You talk in your book about that time in your life when you were actually
writing a Christian book about prayer and you felt so distant from the Lord.
You were busy. You felt overtired. A lot of women are in that situation, especially
STORMIE: Yes, I know. It is so easy to get there. I wrote The Power of
a Praying Woman because women get depleted so easily because we are torn.
Women, more than men, are pulled in so many different directions. Men are
very focused. They are focused on one thing, and they go do it and they get
it done. Women have twenty different things going on in their lives at one
time. I think that is because God gave all these children for women to raise
and they have to have in mind where each of them is. I think that is just
the natural thing. In one moment, we can have our minds on our work, on our
relationships, on our families, on our feelings, what we need to do, how our
hair is doing that day. When one of those things is off, it can throw everything
off. That was another reason to write the book, so women can pray and focus
in on one area of prayer focus at a time and really cover that area.
We can get depleted and exhausted. I got that way. I had been sick. I had
two surgeries back to back, which just wasted me. I was wasted and I almost
died. I had my appendix explode. They didn't know what it was for so long,
so that is why I almost died. They took all of these tests and my tests always
showed that I was "healthy as a 200-pound truck driver." That is what my doctor
always said. I didn't know how to take that exactly.
I couldn't read the Bible. I was so full of drugs my brain was fuzzy. It
was hard to read. I couldn't even focus; even with my glasses I could hardly
see. What little Bible I had going into me was other people reading it to
me. That was pretty sporadic. It was really hard. I couldn't go to church
for almost five months. Once I got home I had nursing care. I couldn't walk
very far so that is why I couldn't go to church. I couldn't climb up the steps.
It was five months without being in church, and you need that corporate worship
and corporate prayer. I would play the Bible tapes, but it just wasn't penetrating.
When you can read the Bible, you can circle something and you can meditate
on one verse. I couldn't do that. I got up one day I felt so empty. It was
just awful. I just needed the Lord so badly in a powerful and strong way.
It wasn't until I could get up and start moving around and get that anesthetic
out of my system and my brain started clearing up that I started to get back
I realized that I probably wasn't the only one feeling that way. I am pretty
typical of most women. The things I experience are typical of a lot of people.
I thought, 'If I need this, I bet there are a lot of women who need it as
well.' So that is why I wrote the book.
It is for me as well as for other women to be able to focus in on a prayer
focus. We look to other people to meet our needs and they just can't. Especially
the men in our lives, we look to them a lot--our dads, our brothers, our husbands,
our boyfriends, pastor, or boss. They can't do it. Only God can do it. Only
God can meet those needs.
What kind of response have you been getting to your book The Power
of a Praying Woman?
STORMIE: It has been great. I am so thrilled to see how many women are doing
this in a Bible study. I have a prayer and study guide that goes with this.
I love hearing the response of people starting in prayer groups in their house
or in their church. That is a powerful way to do it. It keeps you accountable.
Another reason these books are good is that you can't think of everything
to pray about. Someone might ask, 'Does it count if you pray a prayer that
someone else has written?' And I say, 'Well, do you think it counts if you
are singing a worship tune that someone else wrote?' If you believe God answers
prayer, then it is every bit as powerful as if you pray it. I want to get
people to move from that prayer into their own specifics of their lives. That
gets them started. You pray that prayer and you have got that area covered.
I use those prayers, too.
That's funny. You read through your own books?
STORMIE: I do. I use my Praying Wife book and I use my Praying
Parent book so that I can pray those prayer because you can't think of
everything. We are always praying about the urgent. It is hard to think about
these other ways you can cover your life.
I have been dying to ask you this: How long do you pray in the morning?
Do you go by a standard, like an hour or two hours?
STORMIE: I don't. Every time I have tried to do that, it is a set up for
failure. I wish I could do that. I wish I had a life where I could say, 'Don't
anyone open the door. Don't anyone call me.' I don't think I can go 15 minutes
in my house without being interrupted. That would be a long time, really.
I just don't want to shut anybody out, like my kids and my husband. So what
I do is the first thing when I get up--and I learned this from my pastor,
Jack Hayford--I get to my knees immediately. I have a special chair where
I just say, 'Lord, I commit this day to You. I thank You for this day. I
thank You that you are my Heavenly Father.' I praise Him for certain things.
I praise Him for whatever I need Him to be that day or He was the day before:
'Thank You, God, that You are my Provider. Thank You, God, that You are my
Healer. Thank You that You are my Deliver. Thank You that You are my Wisdom.
God, I set my day before You. I just pray that You would be with me every
step of the way, that everything I do will be to Your glory and not to Your
Then I will pray throughout the day. If I have time, I can spend more time
with Him and then I can get into the Word. I always pray for the president
of the United States and for our soldiers in the Armed Forces overseas, for
their protection. We [those on the Presidential Prayer Team] are notified
every week on how President Bush wants us to pray, and we pray that way, for
the things that are on his heart. We pray for all the people under him. I
know that they feel those prayers. I know it is making a difference. And I
pray for our country. It is a mandate.
STORMIE: More than ever. A lot of times I wake up in the middle of the night
and I pray then. If I can't sleep, I will either read the Bible or pray. If
I really can't sleep, I will read the Bible and pray. Sometimes I get prayer
time in that way. It is not my favorite time.
I don't pray to be woken up to pray about something at 5 a.m. Some people
STORMIE: That's not my prayer! [laughter]
Don't give me the gift of intercession, Lord! [laughter] If there were
only one thing that a woman could pray, what would it be?
STORMIE: That is a good question. No one has ever asked me that before. Just
that you want to be close to the Lord. That is my main prayer. I just see
myself embracing Jesus, white robes and all, putting my arm around Him and
saying, 'Lord, I just want to be close to You. Just let me hear Your voice.
Let me feel Your heartbeat. Let me walk close to You. Just keep me on the
path.' I think that if you prayed that and that was your heart cry, He would
guide you. That's where it starts, with that intimate relationship with the
Lord. That's the first chapter. You can start there. If you never get beyond
the first chapter, you will be OK!
Are you going to complete your series with The Power of a Praying Man?
STORMIE: People are asking that. I keep thinking that a man is going to write
that. I don't know. I didn't think I would write The Power of a Praying
Husband, but men kept asking me to write it. I was really surprised. Then
I thought I could do it because I could give a perspective that a man couldn't
give. I could give the perspective of how a wife wants to be prayed for and
why. I saw a real purpose in that. I haven't really gotten why I should write
The Power of a Praying Man. I will ask the Lord, because I do get requests
I do have several others planned for the series. I have requests for Praying
Grandparent, which I know would be different from Praying Parent, and for
Praying Teens. I will probably do those at some point. I am doing The
Power of Praying Together
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