Whether you are a believer in a specific religion or not, there is one thing that always amazes me. When in doubt or in need of something that is bigger than we can handle, we ask for prayer. This is also true if we hear or see someone in pain or despair, we suggest that we will pray for them . . . I certainly have been on both sides of that conversation. While struggling and feeling that I am too small to ask God for something on my own behalf, I reach out to others. Because I do not hide my spiritual convictions I believe people feel comfortable to ask me to pray for them. I tell them politely I will and hopefully remember to put them on my “prayer list”. Later when they have told me how the prayers were answered, I must confess I felt conviction in my heart because I had not taken the time to pray for that particular request. Time and distance from the encounter helped me forget to make it an urgent priority and therefore was not acted on.
After years of living with this pattern in my life I became convinced that I should stop saying I would pray if I could not keep my word; and yet people still continued to ask for my help. My journey through this “crisis of conscience” has led me to look at prayer differently. I have been challenged to consider what a great privilege it is to be brought into an intimate personal struggle that brings about change in my life. . . I was the one missing the opportunity to see the God that I profess as being my creator, redeemer and peace, to show Himself in a miracle. How awesome and powerful it is to invite the God of the Universe to come down and intervene in the everyday lives of His children! The things that are important to us are truly important to him.
Then came the challenge. What if I would
stop saying I would pray and I would stop and pray — immediately. Right there. Right then. Repeating the concern and inviting the heavenly Father that loves all of us to come into the situation and do what needs to be done.
Case in point. My daughter called from her workplace very frustrated. The day had been
going downhill rapidly and she needed to talk. She could only see darkness and gloom around her circumstance and was anticipating a “white-knuckle” drive home. I listened to her concerns, we laughed together, and then I prayed.
We invited God to take control of the situation as well as take care of the tension that comes with a long commute home. Within an hour of our conversation, things started to move in a better direction. Problems were resolving and people’s attitudes were changing. Even the drive home was full of grace instead of road rage. She arrived at home relaxed and in peace.
Now to some that might seem trite. To my daughter it was everything. For her it was a miracle. There are bigger struggles in her life but that day God was true to His character. The God of the bible tells us not to get overly concerned with this life and let Him take care of it. So what if all of us who are believers in Christ, took the opportunity to stop in the moment when someone is struggling, invite God into the situation and let Him sort it out. It would establish an example of love and genuine concern for those who do not have a relationship with God. It could also strengthen our faith and give confidence to those who have faith in Him and what He is truly willing to do for us.
Some of you might say well of course you would pray with your daughter…
but would we risk inviting ourselves into the lives of complete strangers? Recently a friend shared that her daughter and son-in-law went out to dinner to celebrate 15 years of marriage. As is customary for them, they took a cab to and from the dinner so they could celebrate with wine and not have to worry about driving home. As planned, the cab arrived after dinner and drove them home. Upon arrival to their destination the driver got out of the car and opened the door for them. Once they were out of his vehicle, he told them he “must pray” for them. Stunned and a little unnerved they found themselves the recipient of a gracious prayer . . . “Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for the gift of 15 years of marriage . . . “ The couple was overcome and astounded that a complete stranger had the courage to bless and encourage them on such a special night.
The couple was not offended — only caught off guard. Something they may not have considered doing for themselves, God gave them as a gift to remind them of how much He loves them and how special marriage is.
Can you imagine how your day would change if someone prayed for you right now? Consider how much our world would change if we all had the courage to act on the ‘nudges’ of the Holy Spirit . . . praying for others in the moment rather waiting until later. Imagine a love so great that through prayer, a peace that cannot be replicated takes over and the God of the universe shows up!
Today I will no longer ponder I will pray!