PRAYING LOVING PRAYERS (PART 2)
by Eric Elder
Last week I shared with you how I’ve been convicted about praying loving prayers: prayers that I can stand behind AND which express my love for others in a way that they can hear it. It’s already really changed the way I pray in just a few weeks. I feel like my prayers have been more loving, more kind, and by that definition alone, more effective than ever before.
In one conversation, a friend asked me to pray for a relationship that she was hoping would work out. She said, “I’ve asked some people to pray for me about it, but I don’t want them to just pray that whatever happens will happen! I want them to pray that the relationship would work out! That’s what’s really on my heart.”
When I heard her say what was really on her heart, I knew that was a prayer I could stand behind AND which would express my love for her in a way that she could hear it. I asked if I could pray for her, got up off my chair and knelt down on my knees–and prayed that her relationship would work out!
In another conversation, a friend was telling me about her upcoming cancer treatments. Although there were many things she brought up that I could have prayed for–from healing of the cancer to the treatments and the fatigue that they produce–at one point she said, “What I really want, though, is to be able to enjoy food again! I’ve only had 3 meals in the last 6 months that I’ve actually enjoyed eating.” When I heard her say those words, “What I really want…” I knew that was a prayer I could stand behind AND which would express my love for her in a way that she could hear it. I asked if I could pray for her, took hold of her hand and knelt down on one knee, praying that she would be able to enjoy food again! (I’ve also been praying for her healing and the treatments and the fatigue, but I saved those for my personal prayers at home. What she seemed to really need in that moment when we were together was to enjoy eating food again.)
In yet another conversation, I was talking with a friend on the phone who lives several states away. He told me about a difficult situation a family was going through who lived down the street from him. He wondered if he should stop by and try to talk to them, and he asked if I could “keep him in prayer” about it. I said I would and decided to ask him if I could pray for him right then while we were still on the phone. He said, “Yes,” so I prayed a simple prayer: “God, help ____ know if he should stop by and talk to his neighbor or not. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” It didn’t take long. It didn’t take a lot of words. But I was able to pray with my friend, right then and there–right at his point of need–giving him the benefit of the prayer and the awareness that I cared, both at the same time.
It sounds like I must be praying for people constantly, and in some ways, I am. But in other ways, I’m usually just going about my day. When a need arises, I pray. It’s as simple as that.
Last weekend, while I was grilling hamburgers in my backyard, a friend texted to tell me that her doctor had just called her with some bad news: her biopsy results came back and she had tested positive for breast cancer. I got down on my knees, right there in front of my barbecue grill, and prayed that God would heal her completely, through surgery or supernaturally, and that the cancer would never, ever come back. If anyone saw me, they might have thought I was praying and making sacrifices on the altar of my barbecue grill. I wasn’t! I was simply driven to my knees to plead with the God of the universe–the God who created my friend, and who loved her and cared about her even more than I did–to work a miracle in her life. I texted her back to let her know I had prayed and what I had been praying.
As you pray, pray prayers that you can stand behind AND which express your love for others in a way that they can hear it. I’m still learning how to do this myself, but I’m seeing the fruit of it already. I’d appreciate your prayers for me as I do.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about prayer, and how you can have a more effective prayer life, I’d love for you to join Greg Potzer and me for a “Guided Prayer Retreat” in December. The deadline for signing up is October 15th, so let us know soon if you’re interested in joining us in person at The Cove in North Carolina. (You’ll also be able to join us for the event live online, but we’d love to meet you in person if you can come!) Click here for more details or to register to join us in person!