How many times have you promised to pray for someone, but forgot to continue after the first couple of times? I am sorry to say that’s been me, more times than I care to admit. Simple Solution! My prayer board! Writing things down has always helped me to remember things IF I remembered to look at my list. And even though I would write things in my journal…I am not always consistent with my journal! So I decided to buy a magnetic white board in the office supply department…and voila! My prayer life has been transformed!! I posted my board right above my computer in my office. The reminders are constantly before my eyes…so, shame on me if I neglect to pray like I promised!
Having a reminder board is only the beginning, though. A jumping “in” point! I have already written about how praying through the points of the The Lord’s Prayer helps me to pray according to the Lord’s will and way.
But, lately, I have found something else that I need to remember as I begin my prayer time each day. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at the needs represented on my list. For instance, I have promised to pray for a baby who has seizures, and a baby with cancer. Now, I understand what it is like to live with a loved one with these conditions, and how difficult it was to pray in faith in the midst of such desperation. I recall trying to pray for my grandbaby in the middle of a terrible seizure. Crying out with more desperation than faith! Rebuking what wouldn’t be rebuked! Feeling like heaven was brass! Believing, believing….then watching the next seizure begin.
This is why we need each other, friends. We are called to bear one another’s burden’s. To strengthen the people of God when they can’t do it for themselves. And to turn to them for help when our own faith and prayers seem small.
While it is important to identify and empathize with the situation for which you are praying, we must be careful not to enter in to the desperation and the impossibility of the thing. That is what I call praying from under the need, rather than praying over it! To relate so completely to the situation, to empathize so much that you find yourself begging God for the answers to the impossible, rather than thanking Him for the answer He is so abundantly able to perform.
Look, libraries are full of books on prayer. In fact, I have a pretty good stack of my own right here. I’ve learned a lot from the writings of these wise men and women, too. I remember reading about Rees Howells, a Welsh missionary, pastor, and famous intercessor, who would so identify with those for whom he prayed that he would arrange his living conditions to mirror those people. For instance, he would sleep on a mat on the floor, or eat a particular diet, or fast, if he was praying for the hungry or poor.
It is one thing to identify with the need, but quite another to enter into the despair and hopelessness about it. We must humble ourselves to empathize with the need…what I call “bow down.” Then we must “lift up” our eyes and our faith to the Answer. We must “lift up” our voices in praise, and our hearts in adoration of the One “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20,21) We must build ourselves up in our faith! Then we will be able to pray the “prayer of faith.”
We can’t forget the first part: humbly identifying with the person or situation. Bowing down to the need. Picture washing the feet of the one in question. Think ministering. Strengthening. Having compassion. Never praying from a sense of duty or obligation, but from the ground of love. Now you are ready to lift up your eyes and heart to Jesus, and become a conduit for the answer He wants to bestow.
So, first I allow my compassion to engulf the situation, then I confess my weakness and inability to change it, then I remind myself of Who He is and what He is perfectly capable of doing. I begin to praise Him and recite who the scripture says He is. I begin to see Him high and lifted up. Mighty in power and rich in His love to this person. Merciful; good; full of compassion; acquainted with grief. I remind myself of others I know personally and in the Bible who were healed, delivered, comforted, or protected by Him. In this way I am praying from a position of faith and love, not fear and dispair. I am focused on HIM, His character, and will, rather than being focused on the impossibility of this need. Praying over the need, not struggling under it.
These are just some suggestions that I share from the view in my prayer place. Always remember, He hears you when you pray, no matter how you do it! He treasures your prayers like sweet incense. He hears the cry of your heart, the voice of your groanings, and every inarticulate mutter. He saves your tears! He hears. He knows. He loves. And He speaks! Always linger for the answer, or for the peace that comes from knowing you have been heard.
Let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, help us to learn to bear one another’s burdens in prayer. Holy Spirit help us when we don’t know how or what to pray. May we become a link between heaven & earth for others. May we learn to Bow Down and Lift up! In Jesus’ name,
Jude 20, 21: But ye, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.