Praying for Others
This morning, Holy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, in that half awake and half dream state, God showed me something.
He confirmed that the Kingdom of God is about Love. That being a Christian is about servitude and loving others. That the only way the world can be healed is through Love, passed from one to another. That humbleness, love and caring for each other are what He is about and what the Kingdom of God has always been about. Love for God and love for each other...all of us together. That is how God has always wanted us to be.
Then He revealed to me, if I only prayed for other people…that it would be enough.
Let me explain.
I have always prayed for others when I have received prayer requests and have thought and prayed for people when they came to my mind. But I realized that my prayer life was mainly praying for myself and my concerns first, and praying for others second, as an after thought.
When the Lord spoke to me, I thought of the people I usually gravitate to: my lover, my close friends, my family, the persons from my fellowship and church, but then...the list starting getting LONGER!
I began to think of my employer and workmates, casual acquaintances, long lost friends, friends whom I had hurt and those who hurt me, including past loves. And then I went on to persons I disliked and had sour experiences with; persons whom I let down and no longer spoke with, and the list kept going…to my childhood. Children whom I was friends with, children whom I had called names, teased and taunted and who did the same to me, but it still didn't stop. I went on to think of people who suffer and are discriminated against, not just here but around the world.
My prayer list was overwhelming.
It was then that I realized that God desired me to pray for all these people. And no I was not able to do it ALL in that one sitting, but I realized that from now on...I needed to pray for a few people at a time and continue down my list each time I prayed. Up until then, my prayers were always the same: my problems, my concerns, my frustrations and my future.
And yes I did pray for others but they were for the same people with some variations depending on the prayer requests I received. But after awhile or when the prayers and situations were resolved, I would go back to praying for my own stuff with the same requests.
But God showed me this morning, that if I just pray for someone else, I will think on them, wonder how they might be and I would then be involved in their lives and welfare. I would pray for their work, their needs, their hopes and their concerns...and I would be loving on them.
If I prayed for someone else, my thoughts would dwell on them and I would be more apt to contact and visit with them and ask God to send MORE love to them. In that way, I am blessed as well.
Just as Jesus told us the greatest commandments were to Love God and Love our neighbors as ourselves, I saw that my prayers needed to be of thanksgiving and blessings to God first, prayers for other people second and prayers for myself last.
This goes so counter to how I had been praying for most of my Christian life. To pray to God about all MY affairs, problems and concerns FIRST...and then I might think about others...if I had the time... and then I would thank Him. And all of this done quickly, because I hadn't set aside time in my "busy" schedule for prayer.
But foremost, it had always been...Me, me, me, me and ME.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to not worry about what we will eat or drink because God already knows what we need. He also said to not fall into repetitive prayers. I saw that when I pray for myself…it is always the same prayer: help me, bless me, heal me, fix this, change that. All these years, I had prayed the same old repetitive prayers for myself, over and over. God had already heard my wishes so many times before and was always faithful to answer me, yet I kept repeating them to Him.
But when I prayed for someone else, I didn’t know what he or she needed. It was the unknown. So if I prayed for them, I would then contact the person and our friendship and love would become stronger. Now I see, this is how God wants the process to be. By praying for each other, we become involved with each other and can only LOVE each other more.
This I believe is how God wants me to pray.
And this morning He said that if I just prayed for others, I would also be praying for myself. I would not need to pray for myself because in caring for others, that was how I would care for myself.
So I began to think about the people in my life. I asked God to bless this one because of their struggle and bless that one because they were recovering from an accident and I realized if I prayed for everyone else, other than myself, that it would be enough.
Of course I will continue to pray for sickness, wars, disasters and the struggles of the world, but these requests will come before my own petitions for convenience, comfort and security because the Lord already knows all about me.
And finally I will end with the Lord's Prayer. The prayer that Jesus taught us.
God desires us all to care for each other. We all focus way too much on our own activities. But in order for Christ to work, we need to pass His love to others, not only in words and actions but ALSO in prayer.
We are all very immature Christians and the list of our wants is very long. But if we instead focus on people...our friends, our relatives, our ex-friends, our ex-loves, persons in our church, at our work, in our nation, in other nations, the homeless, the sick and struggling…if our thoughts petitioned God to help and heal others, our concerns would be for them and that in turn would beckon us to take actions to DO SOMETHING to help and be good to EVERYONE.
In the same way that Christ humbled Himself and was a servant, He asks us to do the same. In putting God first and our neighbors second, we will be able to unleash God powerful Love and Grace onto the World.
Instead of meditating on how God can fix our problems to get through this earthly life, pray that God will fix someone else’s problems and help someone else’s life.
When we do that, we will see that our actions will change us from one of selfish preoccupation to one of a mindful servant, as Christ was to us. In this way our Light is shining and our prayers will touch all those around us and come back to shine on us.
Make a list of all the people in your life and those outside of it. Whether good friends, strangers, or enemies, ask God to bless them, enter their lives, give them goodness and make them happy. You will see that your heart will get bigger and the World will start to change because of it.
© 2010 Edrick
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