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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Praying Like You Mean It

Most of us have either been asked or have heard of someone needing or asking for prayer. I always tell people that I will pray for them.  However, I rarely know what I should pray. They give me their circumstances and assume that I will pray for provision, healing or some other means of relief. What if God is using this situation to form something in their lives? What if He is using this as a testimony for others to see how a believer is faithful even during hurts?

I wonder if my prayers without any thought actually do any good. Sure, I hear what a people say and almost immediately pray for them to be healed or get a job or see God provide something they need. I don’t even consider the will of God. Am I assuming that my prayers are going to change His will? I don’t think so! Am I assuming my prayers have power to act independently of God? No way! So, why should I mindlessly rattle off impotent prayers which have no concern for what God is doing?

Now, this principle should apply to all prayers. This isn’t just about prayer requests made by others. I should understand that I either join God in what He wants to do or I am spinning my wheels. I should understand that prayer is also about seeking His will rather than trying to change it. I must come to a place where I am so closely aligned with Him that the things in my heart is the same as the things in His heart.

Many times my wife and I go to familiar restaurants. We sometimes arrive separately because of what we are doing at the moment. Naturally, one of us gets there first. Which ever one arrives first gets a table and waits for the other to arrive. Traffic or other complications can make one of us late. It is not unusual for us to have the waiter ready for the order before the other one arrives. One of us calls the other before this happens. We ask what should be ordered. Sure, I might get it right if I ordered without asking but it is much safer to ask.

Why shouldn’t prayer follow this same pattern? Shouldn’t we ask God what we should ask? Shouldn’t we know His heart so that we can ask correctly?

I have heard so many preachers telling people to look at their own desires, find a place where God says He will answer and hold God to what He has already said. They are trying to coerce God into doing something that He may not want to do. They are trying to have faith in something that may not be His will. They are trying to make God their errand boy.

Jesus said that we should so identify with Him and His words should so identify with us that we will ask what God already wants to do. Our will lines up with His will. Our hearts are like His heart.

Thus, my prayers originate in the heart of God because I want nothing other than He wants. His word becomes what I am. Then, I ask with a full understanding that it will happen because it is His will.

So my relationship with God exceeds my own personal desires. I walk in a new faith. I remain Him and His words remain in me.

Please understand that this is radical stuff. I can’t have some superficial walk with God and think I can ask God for anything. I might get it right and see my prayers answered like I have asked but that would simply be random acts of prayer which bring success only because of their number.

I always wrote something for an answer on tests even when I was guessing. I might get it right with a guess but I certainly got it wrong by leaving a blank. This is the philosophy of so many who pray. I admit that this is better than not praying at all but why should we remain in the dark with our prayers when they could reveal light? Why should we randomly pray while hoping to see what we have prayed when we could pray knowing that God will answer?

It is the devoted life that seeks this type of prayer. It is one which stresses the relationship with God rather than the supply God can provide. It is one that changes the seeker. It takes time and it takes commitment.

I wonder if most Christians think this type of prayer is worth it.

John 15:7 (ESV)
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

2 comments: said...

Of late, I ponder about this thing you are talking about.  Perhaps, for the past several years, the Lord had been kind, and encouraging to me.  Although I am not a pastor, not a full-time church ministry leader or worker,  I had had much occasions to pray for people.  For the better year, I would have prayed for about 250 - 300 people, in person (those I interceded in my private time, excluded); that is about 20 - 25 people per month. 

The kindness and the encouragement were not just the privilege to pray for those needing prayers, it was more that, there were enough who were healed of physical unwell, made whole, ministered to, comforted, and  encouraged. Those blessed, they included the old, the prime, and even youths.  How do i know God had come into the ministees' situations?  Because some came back to tell me in person, some relayed by others, to me, some even, left written testimony.  And there were some instant manifestation of healings, or people were slain.  But are all healed? But are all made whole? But are all ministered to? No, at least, not going by what I could see on the spot, or via feedback.  Of course, I honestly do not think, for my case, it had been 100%.  I know of people who eventually died on me. The "I know for sure", cases, were probably closer to the percentage seen the 10 Lepers Healing account we read in Scripture - 1 out of 10. But of course, I do think those who benefited were more than 10%; it is just that I don't know, but God knows. 

Then, why the pondering, which I said?  It is because both the numbers that I get to pray for, and the "I know for sure" numbers, have dropped - hit a drier spell.  In those exciting years, I really felt that I was really working when I was ministering to people; the work that I did for a living, on the other hand, felt like i was not really working, but was on a break from work! I looked forward to weekends, from Fridays to Sundays, the days I ministered or prayed for people, the most.  With this drier spell, I kinda of wonder if I am now being placed aside by the Lord. Or to say it plainly, "hello, where am I headed, or where is all of this headed? I just want to work for the Lord, if it is only 10%, I will do it. My rationale is very simple, I just work for the Lord, the outcome is up to Him; and if 1 out of 10 receives from the Lord, because I am there to pray, it is all worth it.

Of course, I want to be more "productive", especially, I realize all these times, it was grace that I was granted favor by God, and with favor from God, I have enjoyed favor of men, that I could be at privileged positions to minister and pray for people. No merit of my own, I got on the platform, purely by grace and divine favor, and I was and am to glorify Him and Him only while I act as His minister on such platforms that he placed me.  This thing is "chim", meaning deep. I have been telling and writing that we have to be led by the Spirit, be in agreement with God; be righteous, with simple meaning of being right on, with God in what He wants done, and at the time He wants done; but that is simple to say, not easy to execute.  A simple thing, yet a deep thing.  And so, I ponder; I meditate on how I can be acting, including and especially, praying, according to what God wants done at the time He wants done, consistently.

Cont... said...

Cont. From above

The latest I am pondering is this: I keep getting this - the outcome is dependent on what goes in.  In my work (secular work), it shows up, and I had to repeatedly say it to people; I shared it in my comment to Ps Prentis' preceding entry, I had a vision recently, of a teapot filling up a cup to the brim; and when I recently scanned the Internet, somehow, I ended up on a page reading about the need to receive God's love, and then one is able to (and should) live out a life of loving thy neighbor, in agreement with God.  The words or concept or idea is not deep, simple enough to understand, yet to get there, is "chim" or deep - how to get to "I get filled like teapot filling the cup to the brim"? How do I get to "so much to go in, so that so much could be gotten out"? How do get to the place of "God filling my heart with His love that I would move out to love with His love"?  How to get there?!  It is possible at times, not often for my case, one can "hear" from God when one is praying for people; can it be more than often, that we will know what and how to pray, that our prayer would be exactly what God would next do!  How do we get to "we moving for God to the extent it has become He moving through us", for any sustainable period!?

God is sovereign; could we ever move God? Love Him; sincerity; anything possible? Nothing? How? Persevere, but be not restless? 

Still, meanwhile, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Phil 4:8); and put it into practice. And the peace of God will be with you (Phil 4:9b).  Should you ordinarily pray for people coming to you for prayer? Yes.  Without malaise, we pray, for we ought to do unto others what we would like others to do unto us.  When we are in need of prayer, we would want others to pray for us, isn't not?  So, it is still we need to act in love (pray, unless God tells otherwise); the outcome, we leave it to God; let God be God, we just do our part - that's just my belief.

Pray in love; and mean what you pray.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions