I was praying my usual prayers during my run this morning. Between gasps for air, I ran down the long list of people I hold up to God, starting with my family and eventually including my patients. When I came to Roland’s name, God stopped me. Last week, I sent Roland to a residence hospice for end-of-life care. I had not spoken to his family since. God spoke within my prayers, “You need to get out there and see him.” I did today and was able to spend time with Roland’s family on his last day this side of Glory.
I used to think that most of the prayers I hear at church and most of the prayers I pray myself were primarily selfish prayers---we pray so much for our healing and the healing of those we love, our success and the success of those we love. We pray so little for the coming of God’s kingdom and for His glory.
I don’t feel so much that way now. Certainly we need to invest more of our prayer time in seeking God’s kingdom and His glory, but honest prayer is an outpouring of the heart. We cannot any more help our cry for help than we can forget to breathe. God knows this and the Psalmist lived it.
I do believe, however, that we should seek to gain more for God’s kingdom as we are crying out in need.
Prayer accomplishes many things. At its foundation, prayer establishes a relationship between us and the Creator of the universe. Prayer also invites God into real life situations with His power and purpose---a request that He honors.
And prayer should do more.
Prayer should change us as we pray. When I pray for the neighbor who is suffering from cancer, that prayer should challenge me to visit my neighbor. When I pray for my colleague to know Christ, I should bear witness for Christ. Each time I pray for another or pray for a situation, I should be asking God to use me with that person, with that situation, in a way that works toward the answer to my prayer. God most often seems to accomplish His work through His people. So my prayers should place me within His plan.
Let me never pray for a person to be healed, a lost one to be found, an injustice to be righted or a mission to be accomplished without asking you to show me my place within your plan.