Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prayer

A very dear friend walked into a hospital room yesterday and did one of the most difficult things I can imagine; she said goodbye to her husband. When I heard the news, I felt so cold and empty inside. They have known for some time he was a very sick man. He had a bad heart and needed a heart transplant. They knew, but you're never really expecting death and you're certainly never really prepared for it.

I thought of her as she stood so alone, althought she had her children by her side. Yet, she must have felt so alone. The man she had spent so much of her life loving and sharing with was gone. How do you come to terms with that? What switch lies within us that we are supposed to be able to accept that change in our lives? My heart hurts for her but there are no words I can say that will ease her suffering. There is no deed I can perform that will make her pain easier to bear. I search my mind trying to think of something I can do for her that will be meaningful.

At this point, my mind settles and I think "Well, I guess the only thing I can do is pray. So, I'll just pray and I'll ask others I know to pray too". That seemed like enough, I felt better. Then, I read an email that a friend posted to a forum of which I am a member. I read the post and my heart was broken and I was convicted of my sinfulness and pridefulness.

The post was a reprint of a devotional and the gist of that devotional was too pertinent for me to ignore. It said we are often guilty of thinking 'I can't do anything else so I'll just pray'. How in the world did these people know my thoughts?! How could this dear lady who posted the devotional know what I was going through and thinking? Then, I realized it wasn't the writer or the poster, it was the Author of life. He knew me and He knew what I needed at that appointed time.

The devotional went on to remind me that we are never 'just' praying. Prayer is not our last resource or deed of consolation. It should be our first thought when we know someone is in need or suffering. Afterall, it is our direct link with the Lord of the universe; an always open connection between me and the Lord of my life, the Saviour of my soul. What better offering have I to bring to anyone than to give them access to the throne of Grace through my prayers? Can any word or deed compare with the opportunity to cast our cares at the feet of Jesus? Indeed, they cannot.

So, I can offer access to the throne of Grace, but do I? How many times do we glibly say "I'll pray for you " without ever giving that individual or their needs another thought? I have to confess that I have been guilty of doing that very thing. It's not something I'm proud of, but I have done so. Now, I try to make a habit of never saying that to someone unless I fully intend to do so. If I cannot write the request down, I make a mental note to do so as soon as possible and whisper an immediate prayer for that need and for the Lord to help me remember to write it down later.

This simple action has impoved my prayer life so much, it is immeasurable. I pray without guilt or confusion. I pray with specific requests, not just blankets that cover the whole range. After praying, I feel satisfied that I have fulfilled my promise to those who have respected me and trusted me enough to request my prayers.

Think about that for a moment. When you request prayer from someone, don't you have expectations that that person will be inteceding for you? Aren't you placing your trust in that person? Do you ask just anyone to pray for you, or do you ask those people for which you have gained some amount of respect and/or admiration?

When I think of the reasons behind my decisions to ask someone to pray for me, it encourages me to know that others respect my Christian walk enough to believe I have influence when I offer my prayers before the Lord. After all, I wouldn't ask someone to pray for me if I didn't believe that person was a Christian who had sway with the Lord.

I take my prayer life much more seriously now. I am more aware of the responsibility I have when others request that I remember them in my prayers. I take that responsiblity to heart and I bear their burdens before the Lord and ask for His intercession on their behalf. The benefits to me are more than words can measure or express. The end result is not pride or boastfulness, but a more humble walk before the Lord. I want to be worthy and ready to go before Him at any time with every request. I don't want to have to 'clean out from under my own doorstep' before I can take my requests to Him.

Prayer is a precious gift to us from our Lord. It is a unique opportunity to meet with Him at any time, in any place, on any day, about any need. Can any other religion truthfully say they offer that same kind of access to their idol gods? I think not. And yet, our God, the Creator of the universe, the Giver of life offers His children that unique opportunity. What an awesome God we serve!

2 comments:

Raggedy Girl said...

Diane:

What a wonderful lesson. Thank you for sharing. And I am so sorry for your friend and for the suddenness of her loss.

bj said...

Di, your spirit and mine seem to run hand in hand altho I am much older than you. I am in your dad's age group...71.
Now, I have a question that has been bothering me since I entered into this wonderful world of blogging. There's SO many prayers needed for so many people here. How in the world can I pray for them and not use the PRAYER BLANKET? I can't remember ea and every one of them...their names nor their needs other than prayers. I want to pray for them ea day...and I do use a blanket to cover them all. Is this wrong? I was always taught to NAME NAMES in our prayers....but there's just so many here.....