Praying With Purpose
“I’ll be praying for you.”
The sentence has left my lips more times than I care to count. I mean well, attempting to comfort those who are hurting, and somewhere deep down I truly believe I will pray. But often, the needs that get brought to my attention never in fact get prayed for, at least by me.
In our Christian culture today, this overused expression has become a go-to response when we don’t know what to say or feel helpless in a situation. In our hearts, we understand that the need can only be met by our great God.
The problem occurs when we play down God’s greatness by not bringing it before His throne in intercession.
For years, I lived in a routine prayer life, offering prayers before I eat, before I teach or lead in a ministry setting, and at the beginning and end of my day. My prayer life was dull and lifeless. It was a ritual. My heart and my words didn’t match. Prayer wasn’t changing my life or anyone else’s that I knew. It was just something I was “supposed” to do.
This apathetic attitude overflowed into my prayer life for other people. Daily, I learned about a situation or a specific need someone had - something I could not help with on my own. There were no words or advice I could give to change or help the situation, so I did the only thing I knew to do: tell them I’d pray. I would then walk away, feeling good about myself, but completely neglecting to do the very thing I said I would.
The idea of prayer changed for me when my walk with the Lord began flourishing in new ways. Prayer is simply a conversation between Creator and His creation. When I started to realize who God is and what He is doing in my life, I wanted to acknowledge Him more.
I was challenged to begin recording what God was doing in my own life through the form of a prayer journal. I began writing my requests, both for myself and others, and often went back to those prayers I penned in order to see how God had intervened in the situations.
To my surprise, this opened up a brand new door into prayer that I had never stepped through before. Seeing how God had answered my prayers, often not in the way I had expected Him to, led me to see His plans and timing are truly the best.
The way the Lord answered these requests was always for good and for His glory. It also added greater depth and trust to my personal relationships. Reminding myself about the needs of others helped me follow up with people, which helped them see that I truly care and love them. Partnering with these individuals in prayer made our prayers take on new life.
Since the revelation of my shortcomings, in interceding for friends and loved ones though prayer, the ultimate blessing I have received has been greater intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
Often, the Spirit has prompted me to pray for the person in the moment they offer up a request. Praying out loud was not a natural thing for me to do at first, and my prayers seemed trite at times. But with some practice, praying out loud has become one of the most comfortable things to me.
It has been beautiful to watch God bond me with sisters in Christ through the power of prayer. It knits our hearts together in a way few things can.
We live in a day and age where the needs are great and the intercessors are few. Prayer is powerful and life-changing, as long as we tap into its authority.
Apostle Paul often writes about the power of prayer throughout his epistles to the early churches. Prayer at its core is articulating our needs to God, acknowledging that He is the only one who has the ability to fix our situations.
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. -1 Timothy 2:1
I encourage you to stop thinking about praying and start DOING it.
The blessings are abundant when we lift each other in prayer. God is so glorified by the intercession by and for those who love and trust Him. He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
We are a force to be reckoned with when we ask of the One who gives in abundance. We serve a mighty God who will do what is asked of Him in faith. Let’s join together and lift up each other in our times of needs for His glory.