As part of  our Inspiring Women series, Nell encourages us to be praying for women in difficult situations all around the world – that they may find healing and freedom, and ultimately to come to know Jesus themselves.

I’ll be the first to admit it, I was an annoying child.

One of my favourite games was to ask questions. But not just any questions, only one: Why? It would start with a simple statement, an instruction. “Why?” I would respond. Give me reasons. Offer an explanation. Why? Why? Why?

Adults humoured me for a while. But then it got too much, and I received the final answer: “because I said so”, or “because that’s how it is”, or “because that’s how God made it”.

And so, as I grew older, I learned that some things just were. They were unchangeable. They were in place and they had authority and that was that. No need to ask “why?” – just accept it and move on.

But then, aged 16, I sat on my kitchen floor with a friend, and she told me how, as a child, she had been raped. Then I was in school, listening to another friend cry as she told me how her dad hit her mum. Then I learned that one in three women will at some point in their lives be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused.

1 in 3 women will at some point in their lives be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused.

And suddenly, it rose within me. That question which I had learned not to ask, that longing that I had quashed, the longing to know the reasons behind the reality. Why?

I wish I could tell you that I know the answer. I wish I could placate my thirst for truth with the answers that satisfied five-year-old me: “because I said so”, “because that’s how it is”, “because that’s how God made it”. But these answers are not enough. They do not hold within them the finality they used to bestow. They are not the truth. This is not how God made it.

My next question, then, has to be, “so what can I do?”

I can get involved with campaigning, I can fundraise for brilliant charities like Restored, but so often I feel inadequate. After all, I am only one person.

Except…

Except I am one person who has the ear of the King of the Universe. I am one person who has experienced the love and grace of Jesus. And if I believe – which I do – that this is not the way God made it to be, then I can know with a deep certainty that God would want to hear about it. He would want to hear about it from me.

And so, quite simply, I pray.

Prayer changes things. It always has.

God loves it when I pray, when I talk to him about what is troubling me, what is weighing on my mind. Prayer means aligning my heart with God’s, pleading with Him, weeping with Him, being further sanctified by Him.

Maybe I need to channel the persistence of a five-year-old girl with insatiable curiosity into my daily prayers for women less fortunate than me.

So, as I go about my day, I pray for women who do not know the freedom of leaving the house.

As I sit down to read a new novel, I pray for the 130 million girls globally who are out of school.

As I cuddle my friend’s new baby, I pray for the 860 women per day who die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

As I clean my kitchen, I pray for the 40 million+ people trapped in forced labour and servitude around the world.

As I sit down to read a new novel, I pray for the 130 million girls globally who are out of school.

As I celebrate at my friends’ wedding, I pray for the 15 million girls married against their will before the age of 18. That’s one every two seconds.

It’s a simple act, but a powerful one. As I pray, I am reminded that although I am only one person, I am partnering with the one who flung stars into space. The one who brings wholeness, healing, and peace. The one who took all the brokenness of the world upon Himself so that those He made in love could know true freedom.

I am only one person, but I am speaking to the one who has the power to heal, the one whose love and grace compels me to pray, the one who longs for these women – and all people – to come to know Him and find true healing.

I am speaking to the one who can redeem these broken situations, and who can – by His Spirit and through His Church – change our world.

This article is part of our #InspiringWomen series.