Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California. In times like these—who else is tired of hearing that phrase?—in times like these, no matter where we stand, all Christians can agree on one thing. We. Need. To. Pray. It is my honor today to interview author Elaine Helms, who has not only dedicated her ministry to prayer, but to teaching others to pray. In that vein, she’s sharing about a very timely book.
Welcome, Elaine! Please tell us about your book, Prayer 101, What Every Intercessor Needs to Know.
This tenth anniversary edition is a comprehensive guidebook for discovering how to pray as God intends—with eternal impact. You’ll journey through Scripture, find inspiration in the stories of others, and learn simple, effective strategies for prayer. While for beginners, it is also a challenging refresher for the seasoned believer.
That sounds so useful! What inspired you to write this book?
While leading a church prayer ministry, I was learning from God and His word so much about prayer! I began to write what God was leading me to teach at churches and conferences. Also, answers to prayer were too good not to write about.
Why did you write this book?
Later, when I was working as the national prayer coordinator for our denomination, I invited church prayer coordinators from across the country to come to our headquarters for a listening session. They talked and I listened!
Their top need was for prayer “boot camp” for their intercessors. A friend in attendance, and familiar with my writing, said to me, “Elaine, I think you already have the basis for prayer ‘boot camp!’”
What would we do without friends like that? So what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Prayer originates with God, He enables us to pray through the Holy Spirit, and He answers prayer. So my hope is that readers will be inspired to pray more and with more assurance. God not only hears, He wants us to talk with Him about everything. Let the dialogue begin!
Isn’t it amazing that the Creator of the Universe wants to chat with His little clay-people? What a blessing. And how do you share Christ in your writing?
I use Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 and write a leading prayer that the reader can pray to begin a relationship with Jesus. Further assistance is offered to get them started with Bible reading and church attendance to grow in their faith.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
God offers us more authority than we are appropriating in prayer. I want to help Christians boldly pray the big, seemingly impossible, prayers that God prompts and loves to answer. It starts with confidence that God is all-powerful and greater than any problem we face. “God is able!” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
In the beginning of my ministry in prayer, there were opportunities to write prayer articles for the church newsletter, then an intercessory prayer newsletter. The more opportunities I saw, the more I recognized that my love of writing was a gift from God that He wanted me to use for His glory.
What a lovely gift. In addition to writing, what ministries are you involved in and why?
After I retired from being my denomination’s national prayer coordinator, I was the prayer coordinator for My Hope America with Billy Graham for two years, then retired again. Currently I co-chair the Church Prayer Coordinators Network that is part of Southern Baptist PrayerLink. My passion is the church at prayer—God’s people praying.
How would you say your career in prayer ministry has influenced what you write?
My first book about prayer was Steps to Effective Church Prayer Ministry. It was birthed out of my helping other churches and repeating myself—“Listen to God and obey what He directs.” A wise mentor suggested that I “write it down.” She even offered her secretary to transcribe a tape of my teaching to make that book come to life. After 20 years, it is still in print and being used by churches!
That’s fantastic! What’s next for you? Please tell us about your next project.
The book I am currently working on was birthed in grief. God is teaching me much more about our relationship and prayer. I thought I knew how to pray, but when our 40½-year-old son died unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest, I went into total immersion prayer training. Joel was in the prime of his ministry along with his wife at Navigators Headquarters. They had a three-month-old son at the time. The working title is From Grief to Joy in the Journey. I will appreciate your prayers as I complete it.
Such an incredibly difficult topic to write about—and to live. But I know it’ll help so many in their own journeys.
Readers, please join me in sending up a prayer for Elaine.
Writing for Him,