April 11, 2011

When I pray for you...

A few days ago I received an urgent prayer request for a friend in need. Immediately I began to pray. As I was asking God to move in that situation and be with my friend the thought hit me:
Does God really need me to remind him of a situation of which He was aware even before I was?
This got me thinking about the purpose of praying for other people.
Do I pray to call God’s attention to someone’s problem?
He knows the situation in even greater detail than I ever will.
Do I pray to tell God what He should do about someone’s problem?
He certainly does not need my advice on running the universe.
Do I pray to move God to action?
He is behind us, with us, and before us, always in constant motion.
But as I was lifting my friend in prayer, I felt the anguish of her situation in my own soul. And then I understood…
We pray for others to change our own hearts.
When I pray for you for a few minutes my heart is not focused on my own little world but it is connected to yours, hurting with you, rejoicing with you as we were commanded to do (Romans 12:15).
When I pray for you we become community, you and I and everyone else who is lifting you up and He is there because we join in before the Lord in petition, as were commanded to do (Matthew 18:20).
When I pray for you God reminds me of your need, He tells me what to do about it and moves me to action as we were commanded to do (Galatians 6:2).
In that moment of discovery Christ changed my focus a bit. I started to pray less for God to move in my friend’s situation, trusting He knows what to do, and more for him to keep her heavy on my heart so I would not forget her suffering.
I began to ask not for God to move but for God to move through me and to show me how to help her in practical ways, how to do my part to ease her pain and support her through this, how to be his hands and feet.
We throw the phrase around: “I’ll pray for you” without understanding the magnitude of the promise we are making. It is not a small thing to lift someone in prayer for it will change your heart and fuse it to that of the person in need as you help them shoulder the weight of their pain by your love and concern.

But prayer is powerful and much more than words sent up to the ceiling.
When I say “I’ll pray for you” I don’t want to mean I will sit in my quiet corner and remember you as I talk to my Savior, unless I am willing to move when He prompts and touch your life as He requires.
And if you pray for someone, He will require it.
Prayer must not be a passive act but rather one full of action. The type of act that prompts a phone call, a card, a meal, a check, a hug, a sacrifice.
This, I think, is the purpose of intercession: to bear each other’s burdens heart, soul, hands and feet.
Linking with Michelle @ Graceful for Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday.
and with Jen @ Finding Heaven for Soli Deo Gloria.

10 comments:

stephanie said...

Absolutely speaking the truth in a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding what praying for someone really is and involves. It's not something to be taken lightly, but a powerful tool God has given us that shakes the heavens and the earth!

Tiffini said...

I also am listening as He is teaching me about prayer. prayer does unite us together..fusing us. Bearing others burdens...this reminds me of Isaiah 58 too...I love all that you've shared. Nice to meet you...xo

Jen said...

You speak tons of truth tonight. You know, something I've started to do -- if I feel moved to pray for someone in the blogosphere, I'll write the prayer right in the comments. It's so easy to say "i'll be praying" and then, well, forget. Just being honest here. But, if I write it and pray it right there, I know that I am fulfilling my promise and speaking out for them. If God moves me to do more, I am right there, too.

Loved this post, Gaby!

Gaby said...

Thank you for stopping by, girls. Jen, I like your idea. I have been learning about stopping and praying right then and there, out loud, with someone rather than tell them I'll pray as well, which is not always easy for me to do.

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I love the thought of praying and waiting for God's direction of what I should do. We all need each other.

Fondly,
Glenda

Heather said...

You are right, we throw that phrase around the same way we do "how are you doing today?" Neither of which carry much weight most of the time. We need to be more intentional and relational when it comes to praying for others.

Pamela said...

I'm not sure I've ever thought of why we pray for others. Your post brought new truth to me and I've been so blest by it. My passion is encouragement so I loved "not passive, full of action."

Joyfully,
Pamela

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Wow, this post is total awesomeness -- you have given me a whole new insight on prayer. This is my favorite part of your post:

"I started to pray less for God to move in my friend’s situation, trusting He knows what to do, and more for him to keep her heavy on my heart so I would not forget her suffering."

Yes!

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Love this post. Prayer is indeed communication, and each time we spend time with Him, we deepen our relationship. I love your desire for Him to "keep her heavy on your heart."

tcsoko said...

I've stopped telling people that I will pray for them and started asking can I pray with you there and then - it is amazing how special you can make someone feel by praying for them in their presence.