I’ve really been focusing on improving my prayer life (see my post about the prayer wall I made for our bedroom last fall). I’ve really felt God speaking to me about how to pray and what to pray about in the last several months.
I started with stumbling back upon a book I read a number of years ago: “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian. Then found her companion book, “The Power of a Praying Parent” (less awesome than the wife one, but still meaningful). And those helped guide the content of prayers as I sought to reconnect with God. My two guys are the most important parts of my world, so this Martha felt like I was being productive and making progress with my prayers. (Funny how, with my two guys, “productive” is never an aim of how I grow in relationship with them; but it’s my default in relationship with God. Hmm.)
Then, while I was reviewing my personal journal entries over the course of 2017, I stumbled upon some words that stuck with me from famous pastor Andy Stanley: “All our projects, dreams, and visions are merely potential opportunities for the Father to draw attention and people to himself. When you pray for your family, don’t limit your request to ‘protection’ and ‘blessing.’ Pray that God would establish your family as a light in your community.” He also spoke similarly on praying about work. Focus less on the success of the current project (although you certainly can pray about it, and should – God wants to hear it all), but pray for people to take notice of how God is a part of you and working in you to accomplish these projects.
Finally, right now, I’m listening to the audiobook “Sacred Parenting” by Gary Thomas. He said that when parents pray, we tend to focus on requests for protection and for our child to change in some way (seriously, Gary?! It’s like you know me! All I do is pray protection. Hence, the reason 2 Timothy 1:7 is my mantra). But he suggests considering your child’s current attributes and thanking God for how He has designed that child. And – it made me think of praying for things bigger than our circumstances.
Most days I get caught up in the day-to-day challenges and blessings. But who doesn’t? We’re human. It’s normal. But to truly be in alignment with Him, we need to consider His desires too.
Craig Dennison said it well: “Jesus’s model for prayer is abiding in his presence, abiding in his words, and then asking God for our heart’s desires. God desires that we would be so in tune with His heartbeat and so saturated with His Word that our desires would be transformed into His desires.”
Am I new to this understanding? Doesn’t that just blow your mind? I already feel more mature in my prayer life. Well – I mean, I understand it. Practicing it is another story… All I can think about is how selfish I sound in my current prayers. But what God is asking us to do is basically look outside ourself and consider what the Creator wants for us – and for His Kingdom. Basically, I’m 14 years old again and only thinking about what I want to do this weekend, instead of wondering what my mother (my creator) needs to continue taking care of me. Whoa – when you think about it that way, it gets real pretty quick.
Ok, God. I hear ya. Thanks for continuing to nag at me ’til I get it. And here’s to me opening my ears a bit more to your leading, your desires, and my maturity deepening with you.