Monday, May 16

Pray It Like You Mean It.

Read Ephesians 3

I so often feel inadequate for this task of "helping busy moms discover abundant life through Jesus Christ." What do I know?

It reminds me of my first time on the ski slopes and my "teacher" had never skied before either. I heard a lot of "I'm pretty sure you are supposed to do it this way...", and "I think it would work better if you did ______." Some experience and knowledge would have been greatly appreciated.

I constantly ask God if he could use me later... say when I am full of wisdom, learned all life's lessons, have adult children who call me "blessed" (Proverbs 31:28), and have more than 5 minutes to rub together at one time. He reminds me time and time again that I have something to share now -- even if it is just encouragement from one haggard mom to another deep in the mucky trenches.

One thing I am trying to figure out right now is prayer. Do you want to figure it out with me? Kinda like the blind leading the blind, but only if we forget that God is guiding all of us.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; 

knock and the door will be opened to you. 

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; 

and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Matthew 7:7-8

(Read this compiled list of Scriptures related to prayer and be inspired!)

Growing up in church, I should know something about how to pray, but it often comes out as head knowledge instead of heart knowledge. I know "how" to pray a good prayer and I can even can say with eloquence and feeling, "I'll pray for you." Do I mean it? Prayer isn't meant to be flippant. I want to be sincere in my prayers.

When I say, "I'll pray for you," I don't want it to be empty. But so often my prayers are rushed and I whisper, "God bless so-and-so" and move on to the next topic.

Is that good enough? Does God get that I care, but I just don't have time? I thought so for many years until I read these verses in Ephesians (possibly for the first time without blinders). This is how Paul prayed for his friends:

For this reason I kneel before the Father

from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power 

through his Spirit in your inner being, 

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 

may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 

to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge

that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God

[Ephesians 3:14-19]

Whoa. Paul takes prayer for a friend to a level far beyond, "God bless so and so." I was deeply convicted to pray differently for my loved ones.

I learned a great way to pray from Bible study this last year. We closed each meeting in prayer for each other (a group of about 10). Our teacher handed out notecards and we were to write down a need or a praise in a few descriptive sentences. Then, the cards were shuffled and we each prayed for someone else. It was deeply meaningful to pray for other in that way. What impacted me most was carrying a note card home each week. Neatly tucked in my Bible, I remembered to pray for those specific prayer needs. It was totally awesome to see how God answered as the weeks went by.

This morning I finally decided to make some notecards of those "I'll pray for you" people in my life. I want something deeper in my prayers to God. I feel that my general prayers for family and friends are limiting my all-powerful God.

I started writing note cards for all the people I remembered I wanted to pray for. I wrote specifically for their needs. In less than 20 minutes I came up with almost 20 cards. You can imagine that once I started thinking about it, I had a whole lot more to write than "please bless so and so." I was inspired by Paul's deep words.

God has so much to show me about prayer. I'm like a non-skier trying to be an instructor. But in this case, we rely on an always true source for our how-to on prayer. Be encouraged to pray more earnestly, take more time, and be more specific.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him 

and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; 

the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 

The prayer of a righteous man is 

powerful and effective.

[James 5:13-16]

1 comment:

Andee said...

Funny you should post this. I just pulled out my little box of note cards from a drawer I was sorting through. It made me sad when I thought about how long they had been tucked away. I found them though, and I will be reinstating them immediately :)