There’s so much water under this bridge between God and me. He and I have been in a relationship for a very long time. And this praying? I’ve been doing it for decades. I still can’t fully explain how it works but I can tell you, it does. And it feeds my soul.
Entire books – complete with spiral-bound study guides – have been written about prayer so plenty of deep theological scrutiny has already been done. I just want to share a few reasons I personally include you in my prayers:
I pray for you in response to a specific request or need.
Your daughter is spiraling down in her depression, your father is gravely ill, you lost your job. You asked me – or I offered – to pray. So for me, it starts with a desire to comfort and bless you. I petition Heaven for a positive outcome on your behalf. I really want God to come through for you in this.
I believe God chooses to release His power in this world through prayer. Don’t ask me why He does it that way – that’s His deal – I just know that in this moment I want Him to release His power in your situation, so I pray.
Like in any close relationship, my conversations with God are filled with questions, protests, pouts, and pleas. Sometimes there are gasps of gratitude . . . other times, numb silence. No, I don’t hear God’s voice in an audible way, but I feel His presence and at times I sense His very clear response.
And this is beautiful to me: When I pray for you, we are brought together, you and I, in the presence of a holy God. There is true safety and deep spiritual intimacy there, as the very Maker of the universe turns His attention to us and smiles a blessing over us. Imagine! I trust God to answer my prayer for you if it aligns with His will and is what He deems best for you at this time. He is always good, regardless.
I pray for you because it teaches me perseverance and increases my own faith.
No matter how sincere or well-intentioned my prayers, sometimes nothing seems to change. Honestly, there are some prayers I’ve been praying for years that God hasn’t answered. At least not yet. So I keep praying.
In Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of a persistent widow, who bugged a judge night and day until finally, just to get rid of her, the judge agreed to hear her case and rule in her favor. Jesus’ stated reason for teaching this parable was to encourage us to “always pray and not lose heart” and to remind us that God is not like that judge.
Our God is good. He doesn’t need to be convinced to act righteously.
I drill down deeper. I sense Him embracing me tenderly as I beat my fists against His chest like a petulant child. He invites me to slide my concerns for you into His grasp. Relinquish it to Me, He says.
And I realize I didn’t need to win Him over to the worthiness of this request. It was He who prompted me to bring it to Him in the first place and gave me the gift of prayer as the means to do so.
I pray for you because there is value in praying as a community.
I ask others to join me and we buckle down in communal prayer, lifting our voices to “storm the gates of Heaven” for you. We gather and put our arms around you – literally, if you’re there, figuratively if you’re not. We ask God to show mercy and grant our request. And in the process we are a family, with you at the center of our love and all of us awash in God’s favor. There’s so much beauty in that.
I have no doubt that you and I are the beneficiaries every day of prayers spoken by people who will never know us personally. Likewise, we have had an impact through the prayers we’ve prayed for entire nations and people groups, for government leaders, disaster victims, and the unborn. All prayer is beneficial. Even if those we pray for are unknown to us individually, they are not unknown to God.
I love to think about the prayers of generations past, wafting around the throne of God for all eternity, pleasing our Heavenly Father with their sweet aroma and I want to add my prayers to that precious incense. Jesus Himself prayed for us before He was crucified, calling us the ones “which You have given me”; I want to join my prayers with those of Christ.
I pray for you because it disciplines me to rest and listen.
When I quiet myself to speak to God about you, He sometimes whispers answers to other prayers I’ve prayed, surprising me with insight that could only have come from Him. He gives me peace by reminding me that He is actively working all these things out even when I’m not aware. I learn to rest in His sovereignty.
I trust God’s goodness and I never want to treat this privilege of prayer lightly, even though the answers may not come this side of Heaven.
I prayed for you who are reading this blog post. You don’t mind, do you?
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