Tag Archives: Prayer

“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.

Google Reader Round-up | August 11, 2012

* * * I have a Google Reader account that I use to subscribe to a variety of blogs and websites. I have an immense back log of articles and posts that I need to read. My hope is to share stories, articles and commentary that might be interesting to you. * * *

Here is this weeks round-up.

How The Heck Do We Pray Without Ceasing? — This admonition by the apostle Paul is not always easy to understand, let alone do. Here is a great way to think about how we can pray more diligently. I found it interesting and helpful.

Some Advice for Youth Ministers — I was very impressed by the advice in this article. As a youth pastor it can be difficult to navigate the never-ending sea of ideas. Principles for ministry are what’s needed, a philosophy of ministry that does not depend on trends or age to work.

Harm’s Way: Men, Abortion & Hemingway — “In truth, despite the feminists’ attempts to silence men on the subject, abortion is, and always will be, a matter that concerns men as much as women. Every unborn child, whether aborted or carried to term, is the offspring of a father as well as a mother, and the mere presence of “it” presents a new “thing” in his life with which he must contend. … Now, at last, the aftereffects on men are beginning to see daylight, too. ”

The Number One Failure of 90 Percent of Pastors — “Pastors are notorious for their lone ranger approach to ministry.” This is a very dangerous philosophy for ministry. No one person can do everything that is needed in a local church. We all need help. It is just not easy asking for it sometimes. If you are a pastor find others in ministry that you can share with. If you are a parishioner, make sure you pastor has these kinds of relationships. It will make all the difference in the world.

The Case for Early Marriage — This is an interesting article discussing the negative effect the purity/abstinence movement has had on marriage and our view of marrying young. The author contends that we have to change our focus from preventing sex before marriage to encouraging marriage as a way of remaining pure and faithful to our convictions.

“While our sexual ideals have remained biblical and thus rooted in marriage, our ideas about marriage have changed significantly. For all the heated talk and contested referendums about defending marriage against attempts to legally redefine it, the church has already ceded plenty of intellectual ground in its marriage-mindedness. Christian practical ethics about marriage—not the ones expounded on in books, but the ones we actually exhibit—have become a nebulous hodgepodge of pragmatic norms and romantic imperatives, few of which resemble anything biblical.”

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?