Category Archives: Spiritual Disciplines

“I’ll Pray For You” And Other Lies We Tell

This past week I had an opportunity to pray with a friend. The two of us gathered with another brother in Christ and we spent time before the Lord. In the course of that time we lifted him up before our heavenly Father and just tried to encourage him and remind him of who is in Jesus. There is nothing better than speaking truth to another because in the end we are speaking truth to ourselves. However, something happened as we wrapped up our time together that I could not have anticipated. My friend, let’s call him Rafael, said something that just blew me away. Rafael looked at us and said, “Thank you for being my words.”

OK, I have to be honest, I did not know what to make of that statement. I was shocked by it. It had never occurred to me that when I pray for someone I would actually be praying for them. That the person that I am praying for would use my words for their prayer to God. That as I spoke, they were speaking. Not until that moment this past week have I ever understood the power of interceding for another, nor my own failure to follow through when I offered to pray for someone.

I have said, “I’ll pray for you,” and “I’m praying for you,” and just offered one prayer right then because I was thinking about it, but forget about them and their situation until I see them again. Or, “You should pray about that,” and I do not even offer to pray for them right there. Prayer is not our way of feeling better about ourselves or what’s going on around us. Prayer has become therapy rather than trembling; at outlet rather than an opportunity to engage God and allow Him to speak. I wonder sometimes if we see prayer as an option rather than as an act of surrender. Rafael needed someone else to speak for him. His heart had feelings and thoughts that were held captive by pain and confusion; issues that I and the other brother did not have. Look around you. What friend, neighbor, family member needs your help in expressing what they are feeling, but are unable to articulate? I found the following quote by Richard Foster as I was looking for pictures related to prayer.

Intercession is a way of loving others. - Richard J. Foster

Does this reflect your view of intercessory prayer? I cannot say this was me before this event. However, I have found myself praying more this week. Not just because I need to because I do. I find myself praying for those that I have promised or offered to pray for, but have not done so like I should. I have come to realize that when I intercede I am standing in the place of another. The word “inter-cede” literally means to surrender for another. I have not been doing that like I should.

If you read my random ruminations would you pray for me? I desire to be more consistent and faithful to walking and talking with my Lord and Savior Jesus, my heavenly Father, and the great helper, the Holy Spirit. I need to surrender more and more in this area and I need your help.

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Prayers Purpose: What Prayer Actually Changes

Over the course of my life I have heard people say, “Prayer changes things.” I have to agree. I believe that. The question that has often lingered in my mind though is this: What exactly is being changed? It is very easy to say that prayer changes things, but when you do not know what is being changed how can we benefit.

Because of my pastor’s emphasis on prayer in his current sermon series, I have found myself thinking on this subject regularly. As much as I would like to think that I pray as I should, I know it is not the case. As Pastor David was preaching this past week I wrote down this simple phrase.

Prayer is about Preparation

As I have thought about this over the last several days I have found that prayer does change things. What I have failed to realize is the changes serve a greater purpose than I have ever understood. There are at least three individuals or groups that are changed as we pray. I would like to look at each one of these in order.

1. The Person Praying Needs to be Prepared

Prayer prepares me for what God will do. Whenever I fail to pray through an issue with God I am missing out on what I will need to receive and use what God sends to me when he answers. If there is any one person that needs to change as a result of prayer it is me. One of the most confounding realities that James writes about is the fact that prayers go unanswered, not because God does not what to answer them, but because we are asking for things that do no conform to the plans and purposes of God. When we pray amiss, what we are doing is asking God to accept our petitions as his own. We want God to approve of what we have been doing, instead of asking God to allow us into what he is doing. Continue reading Prayers Purpose: What Prayer Actually Changes

UPDATED: How Long Is Long Enough?

This post was updated on June 13

Pray Hard

This past week my pastor continued teaching on prayer in the The Circle Maker Series. The subject of this weeks message was “Praying Hard.” The story that he used was that of the persistent widow in Luke 18. The story tells how a widow seeking justice pestered a judge until he caved into the requests of the woman, just to get her off his back. It is an interesting story because she did not wait until her appointed court day. She continued to seek after the judge. The twist in the story is that this is not seen as inappropriate. Jesus seems to imply that God desires this kind of tenacity and stubbornness. Continue reading UPDATED: How Long Is Long Enough?

The Bishop and His Beautiful People | “Your Call Is Still Calling”

The South Georgia Annual Conference met from June 3 – 5, in Macon, Georgia. This meeting takes place once a year and is the time for the conference to handle the business of the church. I was not able to attend, but did watch on the live stream online. One of the wonderful benefits of technology. As the conference drew to a close Bishop King shared some important thoughts with the clergy and lay members of the conference. I would like to share with you these thoughts and some of my own reflections.

Our bishop regularly greets the members of the conference by saying, “Hello beautiful people.” And he does so with such a warm smile it is hard not to smile back, knowing that this is a sincere greeting from him. I hope I never take it for granted. I am always left with the impression that the bishop really means it and he wants us to believe it for ourselves. We are a beautiful people. Not because of anything intrinsic within us, but because of who we have become and are becoming in Jesus.

Bishop King then said to those in attendance and those of us viewing online, “Your call is still calling.” Continue reading The Bishop and His Beautiful People | “Your Call Is Still Calling”