WHY NOT PRAY NOW?
I like to ask groups to whom I speak if they ever hear anyone with complaints in life today. I have yet to find someone who is not aware of people every day that have something to complain about. There is crisis of some sort. There is sickness, broken relations, addiction, money problems, or some other source of frustration.
A lot of the conversations that I have heard are a sharing of such experiences. It is almost a way of life to find something in my life that is worse than in yours. It leads me to wonder what would happen if all of those crises were turned over to God in prayer rather than simply shared.
I wonder what would happen if Christians began to take those situations in life and turn them into a time to venture out in prayer. It would mean that we didnt put the prayer off until it was convenient, but we took the presence of Jesus seriously, and prayed on the spot.
I remember vividly the time when my wife and I were buying an appliance for the house. The man who waited on us had a neck brace on, and when the deal for the appliance had been completed, I ventured to ask if I could pray for him there in the store. He allowed that would be permissible, and so we prayed for healing.
The next day another friend of mine went in to see the same appliance, and could not find the man with the neck brace. When she asked for him, the man whom she asked replied, I had one yesterday, but some guy in red socks prayed for me, and I dont need it now.
That does not mean that we always encounter a miracle, but it does mean that we invite God into His world to manifest His love where need seems to be evident. It means that we are always aware that He is in our midst, and that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. It also means that we are willing to be His Body in the world for which He died.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
One of the things that Jesus tells us in the Great Commission is that we are teach others what He taught us. He taught us to communicate with Abba. He taught us about the Kingdom of God, which He said is at hand. He taught us to think Kingdom rather than think world.
I recall a time when I was at a meeting, and we were broken up into prayer groups. In my group there was a lady who began coughing and could not stop. I had a cough drop so I reached and offered it to her. She said, I cant use those.
My mind shifted from the worlds solutions to the solutions of the Kingdom. I asked, Do you mind if we pray for you?
Not at all, that would be nice.
When we prayed the peace of God permeated the cough centers, and she quit coughing, and we went on to the prayer that the group was to pursue.
Later when the same lady started coughing at the main meeting of the conference, two of us who had been in the prayer group, moved to where she was and began
to pray. The coughing stopped. We had learned to think and act seeking the wisdom of God before we sought the wisdom of the world.
If God is here, and we know that He hears us when we pray, why do we not jump in and pray. It has been my observation that one of the great blocks to healing is the failure to pray. We say we will but forget. We put it off until we get into our prayer space. We are uneasy with the idea of looking a bit balmy.
Why dont we try prayer when we first hear the need voiced through someone in public? If they receive the offer to pray for them, then God is invited to show them His love. If they dont, we have at least moved in the direction of a positive outlook in the conversation.
DO WE DARE RISK IT?
What would it cost us to think Kingdom and to try prayer in those negative places we encounter daily. It might be a matter of people thinking we are a bit of a fanatic, but there are a lot of worse things to be called. I find that being a Jesus fan is a lot more enriching in my life than being a football fan.
I used to tell people that I was a fanatic when the conversation started. Then I didnt have to worry about what I was saying. Most of the people thought I was just kidding since I sought not so much to save them as to love them as God had given me love for them. It is still a matter of what God has sent us to do.
If our prayer life is as normal as breathing in the Kingdom, it would be a simple matter to offer prayer for the crises we encounter and hear about daily. It would be a matter of opening the way for God to come into the life of the one who is in need.
THE RIGHT WORDS
Some of us are afraid that we wont be able to find the right words to pray, but the truth is, it is our will to trust God that gives quality to prayer rather than our words. Are we willing for God to enter into the present circumstances? If my will is clear, then the words will be adequate for me to communicate with Him.
I heard a definition of intercession once that has meant a great deal to me. Intercession is laying down our lives that God might walk over us to reach out to the one we are lifting to Him.
God knows what our limitations are. He knows we are self conscious when others are watching or listening; and it is then that His grace reaches out to enfold us. We are not trying to impress people, we are trying to speak to God, and He hears the words and the will of our heart.
The truth is that if we are going to have to voice the right words, we have to be willing to speak what He brings to our minds as we lift a person into His presence, and trust Him to make Himself known.
What if there is a need for prayer that we miss because we were self conscious and reluctant to be the presence of Christ for another person? Are we willing to try praying now when the need is revealed by negatives in our conversation?
I wonder what would happen if Christians would stop when they hear something said that needs prayer, and they asked, Do you mind if I pray with you for that problem? May we pray together? I wonder how much more positive American conversation would become if God were given access to our corporate daily lives.