Jun 22, 2017

Me, Myself, and I....

For the past 10-12 years or so I have kept a prayer journal.

I have stacks and stacks of them in a bookcase in my house. From time to time, when I am in desperate need of hope and faith filling, I look back on the pages of these journals.

Answered prayer after answered prayer.

I have also seen prayers that have yet to be answered. Or at least not answered in the way I had hoped.

Although, after time, I see the weaving of God's plan in a way that I had not expected. Often very different than what I had prayed.

But, I see His Hand. In all of it.

About a year ago, a friend pointed me to a profound concept of prayer. I had poured my heart out to her regarding a specific prayer I had prayed for many years and seemed to see no fruit of this prayer.

She changed my perspective and my prayers from her response.

This wise friend told me that instead of praying for those desires, to pray for others that desired those things. Pray for God to fulfill their longings. Pray for the people and not your desire.

For example, if our prayer is to be able to have children,  pray for others that cannot have children.

If our prayer is to adopt or foster children, pray for the children to be adopted and fostered. Pray over those children like they are your very own. Covering them with prayer from the tops of their precious heads to their little feet.

If our prayer is for relief with our finances, pray for the homeless. Pray for those that are destitute without a place to lay their weary heads at night.

If our prayer is for friendship, pray for the lonely, the widowed, the neglected. Pray for God to surround them with relationships and friendships.

If our prayer is for our marriage, pray for the marriages of others. Pray for God to restore the marriages of those around you.

If our prayer is for us to grow our ministry, pray for the ministries of those around you. Pray for God's blessing and favor over them.

If our prayer is for healing, of any kind, pray for the healing of those around you.

Y'all, her words changed my life.

They were not really her words, they were God's words.

Look in your Bibles to the Lord's Prayer. The prayer where He teaches us how to pray. Notice something...

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you,"
Matthew 6:5-14
 
 
Notice here, how Jesus prays for "us", not "me".
 
A simple word, "us". Yet, profound.
 
It's not about "me", it's about "us".
 
I also notice this with Nehemiah's prayer. Nehemiah's heart aches for the lost people of Israel. He confesses his sins to God, and their sins. . [Nehemiah 1:4-10]
 
God hears Nehemiah, and blesses Nehemiah to do a HUGE work for God's people.
 
So, as I look back over my prayer journal, I see a lot of prayers. Mostly for myself.
 
I see a big lack of prayer for others.
 
Yes, I wrote their names and asked for God's blessings over them, but I did not really intercede for them like Jesus tells us to.
 
I have also had times of fasting over the years. I fasted in order to receive something for myself. A blessing, a gift, something.
 
Mostly, my fasting was not done in intercession for others. It was for myself.
 
I think about Jesus on the Cross...
 
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", were His Words.
 
In His greatest suffering, He prays for others.
 
May we learn from Jesus.
 
May we intercede for others in a way that puts our desires on the back burner.
 
7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:7-8
 
The Father knows what we need before we even ask Him.
 
Let that sink in.
 
Could it be that in all of our groveling, moaning, begging, pleading for ourselves in prayer, we have missed the greatest thing that was needed?
 
To pray for others.
 
Earnestly.
 
Fervently.
 
Could it be that the answer to our prayers lies in praying for others?
 
Could it be that our greatest healing comes from our pouring out, sweating tears of prayer over the needs of others?
 
When we pray for others, God changes us. Our disposition changes. Our hearts are softened. The well-being of others becomes so important to us that we anticipate excitedly to see the answer to our prayers in others lives.
 
We become more like Him when we pray like Him.
 
For the needs of others.
 
As a mother, when I see my children put another first, put their desires aside, to help or bless another...I want to bless them profusely. I swell up with pride and want to fill any need they have because of the outpouring they have shown to others.
 
Surely, our Father feels the same.
 
Intercede on behalf of others.
 
God will take of your needs.
 
Watch and see.
 
 
changing my prayers,
 
 
jill