In my last Time With the Family post, I had just begun to address intercessory prayer. I left off asking you to consider who in your life has a need for our prayer on their behalf? What is God’s will for your prayers regarding that person?
Think hard about that second part. It’s so much more than just praying what you want for their lives.
“Lord, please take this cancer from my friend.”
“Jesus please help my sister to see how wrong her behavior is.”
None of these is inherently sinful. They’re good wishes. They’re loving wishes. But they’re our wishes.
And that’s what it all comes down to….In this world, there will be suffering. There will be things that don’t make sense. Had I lived in the days of Christ, I’d have prayed that God keep Jesus from being crucified. Looking back now, we all know why it was so important that He did die on that cross. We now know the true love and beauty in God’s perfect plan for our Salvation but had I been there, in that day and time, I could never have known the wrongness of such an innocent and love-inspired prayer.
So what should we do in these situations? Well definitely don’t stop praying. But always always always seek the will of God. Look to Jesus who prayed “If it is possible… Yet not as I will but You will.”
You may pray for something until the day you die and never see an answer but remember the story of the praying mother above. The answer may not come when you want it to. It may not come as you pictured it at all. But it will come if you pray with a submissive and faith-filled heart.
To wrap this up, let me challenge you today to do a couple of things.
- Ask God to lay on your heart who He wants you to pray for. You may already have ten people in mind but are overlooking someone else who needs your love and prayer because you’ve locked your gaze elsewhere.
- Open your heart. It may not be who you would have thought and you may even balk at the call. I can’t imagine the strength of character it took for Jesus to pray for forgiveness for the men who mocked Him and beat Him and ultimately took His life. He did it anyway.
- Consider that you may be called to examine and make changes in yourself, not just pray for changes in others. Often we pray for God to open the eyes of an unsaved friend or family member never considering that God may intend to use us in answer to our own prayers but we must first work on our own personal flaws!
My final thought is this: Never forget that prayer changes your thinking. The more you talk to God and seek closeness with Him, the more your heart warms toward His loving condition. Not everyone near you has developed a constant line of communication with Him. Not everyone sees the love or feels the peace of His presence. Even confirmed Christians can fall prey to the illusion that they are somehow unimportant or unworthy of His time and attention. So please, stand in the gap and pray for them when they don’t know how. Be the salt and light in this world. Never forget the power of your prayers!
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