Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 8, 2013

Will You Pray for Me?

Will You Pray for Me?

 

“Will you pray for me everyday?” This question caught me quite by surprise, especially since it came to me from a sweet little five-year-old. It is not the sort of thing a five-year-old normally asks, or for that matter, even thinks about. Furthermore, I did not know this child very well. I had only seen her a handful of times. I couldn’t help but wonder why she would ask me to pray for her? But as I quickly assured her that I would be glad to pray for her, I knew that this was one promise that I had to keep.

Why? Because I know that prayer makes a difference – even when we may not always fully know or understand how to pray for someone. I’m sure that you have probably heard stories of people who felt led to pray, sometimes awakened from sleep burdened for someone they knew, and who later discovered that they had been in prayer for that person during a time of persecution or trouble. I’ve shuddered to hear these stories and thought about what a privilege to be found so faithful that God Himself awakes one to intercede for another one of His children.

Prayer is both a privilege and a responsibility. Jesus taught His disciples that “men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). He affirmed God’s readiness to hear and respond to our prayers, saying, “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8a). Yet Jesus also asks a question, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b) Will He find us earnestly praying for one another and seeking Him? Or will we grow discouraged when troubles and persecutions come and give up instead?

Jesus’ words make me examine my own prayer life. While I recognize the privilege of bringing all my concerns straight to the throne of our Creator God, I’m also aware that I often overlook the immense responsibility that goes along with that privilege. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to pray in the following manner.

“Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

(Matthew 6:8-13)

 

In these few words, Jesus taught His disciples to pray for His kingdom to come, for His will to be done, for daily needs, for forgiveness of sins, and for deliverance from evil and temptation. Jesus also taught them to “pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (see Matthew 5:44), to “Pray the lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (see Matthew 9:38), and to “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is (when Jesus will return)” (Mark 13:33). These Scriptures reveal a God who is concerned about every detail of our lives, but also a God who yearns to involve us in His great work.

I admit that there is so much that I do not understand about prayer. I know the questions. Why pray (God knows what I need)? Can my prayers change God’s mind? Why does God seemingly not answer my prayers when I pray in faith, believing? Theologians and the brightest minds we know will probably debate questions such as these until Christ returns. For me, I pray because Jesus taught: “….ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). I pray because Jesus prayed …. And He is still praying as He intercedes for us before our Heavenly Father (see 1 John 2:1). I pray because Jesus told us to pray (Matthew 5:44, 9:38; Mark 13:33). And I pray because it makes a difference in me. Philip Yancey, in his book entitled “Prayer,” sums up how I feel about both the privilege and responsibility of prayer.

“The act of prayer brings together Creator and creature, eternity and time, in all the fathomless mystery implied by that convergence. I can view prayer as a way of asking a timeless God to intervene more directly in our time-bound life on earth. (Indeed, I do so all the time, praying for the sick, for the victims of tragedy, for the safety of the persecuted church.) In a process I am only learning, I can also view prayer from the other side, as a way of entering into the rhythms of eternity and aligning myself with God’s ‘view from above,’ a way to harmonize my own desires with God’s  and then to help effect, while on earth, what God has willed for all eternity.”

Oh, how I want to be a better pray-er. I want to fully enjoy the privilege of prayer, but I also want to accept the awesome responsibility that accompanies that privilege. I want to pray for things I can see and feel and understand, but I also want to pray “from the other side” as I reach out in faith surrendering my will to my Heavenly Father. When Christ comes again, if I am still here on earth, may He find me busy watching and praying just as He said. And perhaps, on my lips, may just be the name of a precious child who asked: “Will you pray for me everyday?”

 

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