Broaden your prayers
[This was posted on our church blog originally.]
In a moment of unsettling clarity, I wrote in my journal last week that I must press beyond selfish prayers. I found myself asking God to broaden my prayers. And it was in that very moment that a couple from my church was dropped into my thoughts. I immediately began praying for them. I still don't know why. But I wrote their names into my prayer pages at the back of my journal and will continue to lift them up. Another name/face came to me soon after, and I added this single young man to my prayer focus as well.
I believe we all tend toward selfish prayers. We pray diligently for ourselves and for our immediate family, but we must press deeper and be led broader than just our immediate proximity in our prayers. I'm directed to the NATIONS, not just my own little circle of loved ones.
"This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24.46-47)
Thankfully, God has the world on His heart! And thankfully, He has ME on His heart.
"Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Luke 12.7)
That's easier for God to do these days as my hair thins. However, the point is simply this: God knows me. God loves me. He is not just aware of my hair. He is aware of my fear. He is aware of my heart, my mind, my thoughts, my doubt, my hangups and hiccups. And He loves me. I can trust Him to care for more than my hair.
This same God who knows my follicles invites me/compels me to pray for others - even those I will never meet. If I will broaden my prayer, others will be blessed, AND I will be blessed, for I will draw closer to the heart of God. I will experience more of His perspective. I will be raised above my own small concerns/worries. I will see Him work through my prayers.
And so I want to invite you to help me pray. Here's how:
Pray for my prayers, that they would grow in frequency, depth and breadth.
As you sense a need for help, please submit your prayer requests via our church's prayer form. On it, you can indicate if you'd like your request to be for me or if you'd be willing to allow our prayer, care team or church staff to intercede for you as well.
Let's grow in prayer together. Both in our exercise and in our humility. Let's pray, and let's allow others to pray for us.
Ask God to broaden your prayers and then wait in silence. If He brings someone to your mind immediately, randomly, lift them up in prayer. Write down their names. Pray daily. Then watch for how God may work as a result. Then.. if you have a need that you sense God wants you to invite others to help meet through prayer, submit your prayer request.
There's an overlooked verse in the Old Testament:
"They received help against these enemies because they cried out to God in battle, and the Hagrites and all their allies were handed over to them. He was receptive to their prayer because they trusted in him." (1 Chronicles 5.20)
May we also trust in God and discover His gracious receptivity as we pray.