this will be a bit different than my previous entries…mainly because it is not one continuous thought. rather…it is a bringing together of a few insights i have had recently about prayer that i want to share with you.
1. many of us within the church get into a pattern of telling every person who has a problem or a need that we will “pray for them”…and then we don’t do it. we may really care about the person and have the very best of intentions…but we simply don’t do it for one reason or another. i know this is prevalent because i hear it from people all the time…and i have been guilty of this as well. if you say it…do it. keep a journal or put it in your notes. make a point of following through with your promise. this is not only important for the person for whom you are praying…but it is important for you as well.
2. we often neglect the simple instruction of Jesus as to how and what we ought to pray for. Jesus said… this is how you should pray- our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. give us today our daily bread. forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. we are quick to turn our prayers and our prayer requests into what WE WANT or WE WE THINK SHOULD HAPPEN rather than what God would have done according to His will. the result of this change in perspective may very well mean we find ourselves in situations we don’t necessarily like or in circumstances we find hard to bear…but we pray for His will to be done in the situation and not ours. have you ever considered that the valley where you find yourself is exactly where you need to be? have you ever considered that your prayer is being answered right there in that place? have you ever considered that God uses the valleys of life for your refinement and His greater glory WHEN you open your eyes to see it. when it is about God’s will and God’s way in your life and in the lives of others…we will finally see the mountaintop from the valley… and joy in it…rather than despair in it. do not lose hope my friends…just open your eyes to see that something bigger is unfolding and be usable in the process.
3. much prayer MUST be accompanied by fasting. i wholeheartedly believe that we will see miracles right in front of us if we ever begin to understand this necessity and then begin to practice it. in mark 9 the disciples had been trying to drive a demon from a man. they were unsuccessful. in response to this Jesus told them, ” this kind can come forth by nothing, but prayer and fasting.” abstaining from food is an absolutely essential accompaniment to our prayer in extraordinarily difficult or tough situations. i find it completely ridiculous and convenient that in the New International Version of this specific text…IT OMITS FASTING! have we made this a cultural option rather than a spiritual essential? i believe so. as i have prayed and fasted…i have seen mountains move, relationships change, and people transformed. ask me sometime and i will be happy to share them with you…
4. my great friend and mentor told me recently that it is essential to “pray while you are moving.” don’t confuse this with “pray without ceasing.” while we both would advocate being the kind of people who pray without ceasing throughout our day…he is talking more about how we convince ourselves that we cannot do anything until we have prayed and heard clearly from God on the path we ought to take. many times this leads us into paralysis…and inhibits us from going into the world and doing what we ought to be doing. there is too much mulling over, considering, praying and waiting… and not enough praying while doing. has God not given us to green light to go into the nations? be bold! live without fear! pray without ceasing! but PRAY WHILE YOU ARE MOVING!
praying for you…