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Why I Will ALWAYS Say “I’m Praying For You” November 6, 2017

Posted by Warren in Current Events.
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In the aftermath of the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, there has been a lot of backlash against people posting “thoughts and prayers for those affected” or other such sentiments. Some even going so far as to insultingly mock the faith of the victims, saying that if prayer worked they wouldn’t have died. These people inspired some anger in me initially, but I quickly realized that their posts were made in ignorance, because they have no clue as to what the purpose of prayer really is. And I’ll give you a hint — it’s NOT to get God to change His mind, or to force Him to do what we want Him to do.

The problem, of course, is that Christians don’t always pray sincerely, or listen to God when we pray. We tend to monologue at God, and then hang up the phone with a half-sincere “Amen.” Prayer is a conversation, and we have to LISTEN to God as well as talk to Him. We too often forget that.

One of the major purposes of prayer is to show our dependence on God. When we pray, we say “God, this is up to You. I can’t do it myself.” We acknowledge His supremacy and His sovereignty in the situation at hand.

Prayer also gets US in tune with God. When you talk to someone, REALLY converse with them, you start to understand what they want, and are able to understand THEM at some level. That is what prayer does – it gets us in the frame of mind that allows us to think about things the way God does, rather than the way WE do.

Think about it – most of our prayers are pretty selfish, aren’t they? We want to get a better job, we want good grades, we want a good result on our medical tests. Even when we pray for the benefit of others, the purpose ends up being about US. “Please heal my mother – I don’t know what I’d do without her.” — THAT kind of thing. But even in THOSE prayers, if we TRULY listen to God, He changes US rather than the situation that we find ourselves in.

About a year and a half ago, my wife suffered a major kidney failure, and died in my arms in our living room. I prayed – HARD – all the way to the hospital as the ambulance took her there that they would be able to revive her. But they couldn’t, and she’s home with her Savior and her loved ones. Did my prayers fail?

Hardly. God taught me through those prayers. My wife had about 25% kidney function; she had missed a doctors appointment a few months before that probably would have put her on the transplant list. She was in pain much of the time. She couldn’t enjoy the things that she wanted to enjoy. And God took her home so that she wouldn’t have that pain anymore. And now that she’s there, as much as she loved me and the kids, she wouldn’t ever ask to come back, and we shouldn’t want her to.

Yeah, God taught me a lot through those “failed” prayers. He also showed me what I could DO. And this is a third purpose of prayer (Baptist preachers always do things in threes, you know). Prayer motivates us to action.

If I am consistently and constantly asking God to comfort someone, or help them through something, or provide something for them, they’re on my mind a lot. And when they’re on my mind, I start to see things that I can do to help them. Prayer focuses us on the person in need, and allows God to show us exactly what needs to be done, and how we can help. By praying first, we ensure that what WE do is what GOD wants done, and not just what gets US the most attention.

Read the Old Testament histories sometime. Any time a decision was made without prayer, the people failed. When they went to God first, they succeeded — even though the plan God had might have seemed doomed from the start (ask Gideon about kicking people OUT of his already outnumbered army at God’s command, for example).

So I pray. And I TELL people that I am praying for them. And I always will – because the God I serve expects no less.

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