Friday, April 20, 2012

Refresh My Heart - Part Three

Refresh My Heart - Pray For Me ~

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord 
by failing to pray for you." 1 Samuel 12:23

Just this week I learned of a conflict between two friends. Both are strong Christian women with a passion for honoring God by serving His people. They have different opinions about how something should be done and it has led to hurt feelings on both sides and a broken relationship. 

Later the same day I heard from a friend whose third child, a little girl, was born last week, twelve weeks early, weighing less than three pounds. She is not eating. She may have Down's Syndrome. Her mother asked for prayer for her and for their family. She's a fighter, her mother said, but they are scared. 

Do you have a prayer journal? I do. Are there times when yours is neglected and left to gather dust on your desk? Sadly, the answer for me is yes. 

Why is that such a big deal? Here's why.

Nothing unleashes the power of God on earth like prayer. Nothing protects, guides, shields, teaches, redeems, forgives, heals, restores, comforts, sustains and renews like the touch of God's hand. NOTHING!

Since we are certain of that why do we fail to call down the power of God in every situation? What excuses do we use?
  • I got busy - probably the number one excuse
  • God's going to do what He's going to do whether I pray or not
  • others are praying - it won't matter if I don't
  • I don't know what to pray for them
  • I don't have all the details
  • ________________________  Add your own excuse here. 

Prayer is a privilege. It is also a duty we have to one another, one we are not free to abdicate for any reason. 

We just celebrated Easter - the death and resurrection of Christ that made a way for us to go directly to the throne of God with our petitions. What an amazing gift! 

God is not interested in the coziness of our special quiet time place, the color of our highlighter, how absolutely cute our journal is, or whether we have our prayer time at the same time each day. Can you imagine the condition of any human relationship if we only conversed at a set time each day, and if we missed that time - oh well!

God wants us to pour out our hearts to him all day long. He wants to be more important to us than our blog, our tweets, our Facebook page and yes, our cell phones. 

What if we took every situation to him BEFORE we posted about it on Facebook? Can you even imagine it? How many times today have you checked your social media connections - all of them? Seriously, do you even know how often you did it? And yes, I mean checking text messages, too. 

Scripture tells us that if we want to know where our hearts are, look at the things we treasure. If that doesn't make you stop in your tracks...

Not praying for the people around you is like standing on the side of a pool holding the life preserver and having a party while someone in the pool drowns. God has given us the power of prayer. Do we really want to fail to use it?

Part of loving someone the way God wants us to love is praying for them. Even our enemies. We have a direct line that never loses a charge or a signal, and God never gets distracted by another voice. He hears us clearly. He's given us permission, even a directive to come boldly before him to make our requests known. He waits for us to do it. 

So, sometime this weekend, dust off your prayer journal and begin using it daily. Write down your requests, your thanks for answered prayers, your praises... Just do it! 

Don't sin against the Lord by failing to pray for those he has placed in your path. Start with a time of confession and ask forgiveness if you have been lax in this. God will be faithful to his word and will forgive you and wait eagerly to hear the prayers from your heart. 

Get in the habit of talking to him all through the day. It's a basic spiritual discipline but like exercising and eating right, we have to been reminded sometimes, and sometimes we just need a good swift kick in the spiritual pants. 

There are many ways we can love one another, but none so powerful as the way we pray for them. Who do you know right now that needs to be lifted to the Father? Write their name in your journal and pray for them now. 

What if you don't know how to pray for them? Here is what I do. I picture myself holding their hand and walking with them to the foot of the cross. Then I place their hand in the hands of Jesus and say, "This is my friend, Lord, please take care of her."

That's it. It's that simple. That's what I want people to pray for me. Prayer is not a ritual. It is not a special place in your home. It is not only for church. 

It is conversation with the One who knows you best about the ones who need him the most. 

If you are reading this post today, know that I have walked you to the foot of the cross, placed you in the hands of Jesus, and asked him to take care of you. I may not know you - but He does!


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