Introducing April’s Inspirational Woman: Lisa Stafford! Lisa is from Homer, AK and has a legacy of prayer that goes back a few generations in her family. She has a passion for prayer and has witnessed the power of it in her life as well as others she has prayed for. She is sharing today about her personal journey with prayer and gives us some practical ways we can become better pray-ers! Lisa is a wife to Tom and together they have 5 children. She is also grandma to 6 grand-babies, with a 7th on the way.
What is your definition of prayer?
I have a few ways I look at prayer. One of them is that its a real spiritual warfare tool. Some times I really am powerless to do anything about a situation. I can’t change it or even do anything about it on my own but the Lord has given us the tool of prayer. I know this sounds lame but I tell people that there’s POWER in prayer. And I don’t know how it works and it what it does in the heavenlies but I know the Lord uses it in our lives and even changes the whole track of peoples lives. One of my favorite verses that I have in my prayer room is Ephesians 1:21.
“He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else– but also in the world to come.”
He is the ultimate authority. There’s nobody that we can go to that has more authority or has more power or would be better suited for this situation. He is the ultimate person, the ultimate place. There’s no other better qualified person for me to bring hard stuff to. The benefits I receive from praying to the Lord, far outweighs the work I put into it.
Prayer is also a comfort to me. Prayer is an avenue the Lord has given me so I don’t feel so helpless. It gives me something I can do, rather than just sit in fear and worry. I can do more than just let the chips fall where they may. The Lord has a plan and a purpose that we get to partner with him in. We get to see roots of things in our kids and we can pray towards those things. Sometimes I think our prayers are for us. For our peace and our relief and to have a place to take it thats so much bigger than we are. He cares for whatever we care about way more than we do.
Prayer is also something you can pass on to the next generation. I wish I would have thought that way when my kids were little. When you’re in the everyday dredge of the diapers, dishes, and laundry – what if we thought ‘how do we want our children to parent their kids?’ It totally changes how we parent. Do we want to let one little thing totally ruin our day or do we want to sow into something so much bigger?
What was prayer like in your family?
I come from a few generations of praying parents. I can think back to my mom saying that my grandma would put her apron over her head so the kids knew she was praying. If they went and sat beside her she would just tuck them in next to her and sometimes they would even go under the apron with her if I’m not mistaken.
That’s how my mom learned to pray. From there, my mom taught me how to pray. There were specific times I can remember her pressing in and praying a lot, like with one of my adopted sibling. My brother Willie is a Native Alaskan and our family had him in foster care and wanted to adopt him. It was really difficult for a white family to adopt other than the biological family to relinquish him over to my parents by their choice. Even if the living conditions were unsuitable.
My mom just went to town praying for him and the Lord gave her verses and she just prayed and prayed. Then one day his parents came to my parents and said ‘would you adopt him?’ and signed the paperwork for it. My mom is amazing when it comes to fighting for things in prayer.
How has prayer changed your marriage and your parenting?
For my marriage, when I realize that I have said way more than I should have – to the point where I am trying to be my husband’s personal Holy Spirit – I try to turn to prayer instead of nagging. It’s a safe place for me to go. I don’t have to fix him or change him, the Lord does that.
I can also go to the Lord and I can be honest with him. I can tell him whatever I am feeling. I don’t have to choose my words carefully or worry about if my words are being perceived the right way like I would with a friend. Its always okay to go to the Lord with things that are hard.
Its different than going to a friend and still trying to be honoring to your husband and your children. The Lord is not mad about our honest words, He takes it and works it for our good.
I think its a real tendency for women especially, to get on the phone and call a friend to talk about everything instead of praying about it. I want to be the type of person that goes to the Lord first. He is just plain old safe. You don’t have to navigate what you should and shouldn’t say, you can just lay it all out there for Him. And then repent haha.
For my parenting, God really changed that for me when my kids were just starting junior high. I started to get really panicky as they started to get older. I went through a long period of time just being scared to death. It was super unhealthy and I was just hanging on to my poor kids really tightly.
I was parenting very fearfully.
I’m not someone that gets pictures often and I don’t hear his voice all the time but the Lord gave me a picture during this time in my life. It was a picture of my white-knuckled hands hanging on to all my kids and they could not move at all. Underneath my hands were these GIANT hands.
I heard him say ‘let them go.’
In this picture I let them go and they dropped straight into his hands and they could move. They were just jumping and joyful and happy. And this picture showed me that we’re not just letting our kids go, we are giving them to the Lord.
After this picture I wish I could say it was smooth sailing from there but it was quite a process for me over many years. As I prayed for my kids during the process of letting go, I always had that picture. It gave me strength not give up praying for them and to not give up releasing them into His hands.
Where do you see your prayer life headed in the future?
There is a scripture that says the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us (Romans 8:11). For me, I haven’t seen that like I want to see it yet. I want to pray for someone and they are instantly healed.
For whatever reason, the Lord often uses a process with me. He walked me through the process of being freed from fear, it wasn’t instantly gone. For some people they are instantly healed, but thats not the way it usually works for me. So one day I want to personally see it happen in front of me.
Where would you recommend someone start with prayer? What are some techniques that you use for prayer?
I started digging deeper into prayer when my kids were hitting junior high. I picked up the books: The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Mom.
I would recommend starting there with those books because they give you an idea of how you can pray. I would often just read a prayer each day from each book. At first it felt a little weird to just read someone else’s prayers but it helped me learn a new way to pray.
A lot of my prayers before that were ‘survival’ prayers like ‘Lord help me.’ They stayed at the surface rather than digging in and praying for specific things. My prayers seemed to be more about me rather than seeing actual transformation in the people around me.
I would also recommend a prayer partner. When I started praying with a friend, that is when prayer was super life-changing for me. With my prayer partner when the kids were little, we made a point to try to pray together weekly. We could mutually encourage each other and call good stuff out of the other.
The other thing is creating a prayer space. I have a prayer room that I recently set up and wish I had done it years ago. I watched the movie The War Room and it reminded me of my desire to have a room to pray. My prayer room is the closet under my stairs. I like it because its private and it has no windows so I’m not as easily distracted.
There is a big cushion on the floor and I have a cork board that has note cards pinned to it. On the cards I sometimes write out a specific prayer and sometimes just a name and it has helped me SO much to be intentional about praying.
Sometimes I would say I’d pray for something and two weeks would go by and I would realize I hadn’t prayed. But with the cards, they are there to remind me of those things when I go in there. The cards also help me to see when prayers are answered easily. I try to go in every day, which doesn’t always happen but I try to be as purposeful as I can.
Do you have any cool stories of answered prayer?
Yes just recently my sister-in-law Kathy was in a roll over car accident. There were two ways that God answered my prayers within that situation. The first part of answered prayer has to do with the crash site.
After the crash happened, I was driving up to Soldotna to the hospital and my brother mentioned Kathy didn’t have her glasses. They had fallen off during the accident and they didn’t know where they were. I decided to try stopping by the wreck site to see if I could find them. I didn’t have any details about where the site was, besides a signpost that it was possibly near. The van had already been towed so I couldn’t look for that to help me find it.
We ended up finding the site amazingly by prayer and a few vague details. The second answer to my prayers happened when we got out and started looking around for the glasses. I prayed “Lord Jesus please help us to find her glasses…” and before the words even finished coming out of my mouth someone yelled ‘they’re right here!’
The glasses weren’t cracked or scratched, even though the car wrecked pretty badly.
Also on a side note: there were people in the car behind her that pulled over when they saw the crash. They ended up being people she had met through the family business and they happened to be retired EMT’s.
They were able to be with her and my nephew while they waited for the ambulance to get there. They were headed to Soldotna (about 1.5 hours north of Homer) for a meeting so they called ahead to say they were going to be late because they were caring for Kathy. When they called they were informed that the meeting wasn’t actually until the next day. It was cool to see that God worked it out for them to be there for Kathy and my nephew.
For the things that take many, many years to be answered or are not answered at all, how do you maintain your drive to keep praying?
I have some things that I have prayed about for 20 years that still have not been answered. When I was younger I HATED hearing that. Because I would think “I do not have what it takes to keep praying.” Honestly I have seasons where I don’t have the stamina and there are seasons where it is heavy on my heart and I start praying again. And for me I think the Lord brings it up when its time.
Would you be willing to pray for the readers of this blog?
Lord Jesus I thank you for your presence and your power to change lives, to set us free, to heal us. I thank you for the avenue of prayer that you give us to have a safe place to go with our deepest needs and desires. A place to know how deeply you care for each one of us.
Father I pray for your will to be done in our lives. I pray that you would empower these women to live lives that are thriving instead of just surviving. Lord no matter what stage of life we are in, you have real freedom, joy, victory, and peace for us.
And I pray that these women would be able to take hold of the abundance that you have for us. I pray that wether we are single and awaiting a mate, or whether we are married, with small children, or we have grandchildren, whatever our story is – you would take our story and make it what you want it to be. I thank you for this day and being able about to talk prayer.
I pray for all of the readers that they would see you at work in their lives, no matter what stage they are in. I pray they would see the fullness of what they are doing right now, in this moment. I pray you would call them out to receive that and understand your faithfulness to them. Thank you Lord, in Jesus name. Amen.
Links and other information mentioned above:
The War Room – available to rent on Amazon Prime or you can buy it numerous places online
Check out Rosebud’s other inspirational women: