Being on the prayer chain at the church I attend, when someone in the church requests prayer, their request will somehow find its way to me and many others, typically via email. The other day I received an email prayer request asking for prayers for a young woman who was very ill. We were requested to, “Pray for correct diagnosis and treatment as indicated. Healing would be nice.”
“Healing would be nice” – tacked on, almost as an afterthought. It struck me; if Jesus were to email out a prayer request, would he say, “Healing would be nice”? How might Jesus have prayed for this young woman? Jesus who told us:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10, NIV)
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22, NIV)
“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:14, NIV)
I began to also wonder about my motives when praying, and my faith. Do I really want this young woman to be healed? I don’t even know her. Do I really believe that God can heal her? Why would I ask for something, if I have doubts in God’s ability or desire to even consider answering my request? Am I taking Jesus at His word? Do I really believe His words I have just typed?
If it were my daughter who were seriously ill, or me, would I be timid in my prayers, just thinking that healing would be nice? I ask you today to consider two things: your faith and your sincerity in prayer. Jesus commanded us to love each other as we love ourselves. Might He also have said to pray for each other as we pray for ourselves?
It has been said that the sincerest expression of love for someone is to give to them what is most precious to us. What is more precious than our time and attention? Love your neighbor as you love yourself; show your love by giving them your time and attention, in prayer to God. Go to God on behalf of your neighbor, praying as if praying for yourself. Whether your “neighbor” is family, friend, or the oppressed in a country near or far away; focus your attention on who you wish to pray for, put yourself in their place, and pray for them as if praying for yourself.
On this May 1st, our national day of prayer, and the first day in the ten days of global prayer leading up to Pentecost, please take stock of how you pray. Do you pray as Jesus instructed? Do you believe what Jesus tells us about prayer? Do you pray for others as if praying for yourself? Ask and you will receive. Be bold.
If you are interested, check out the National Day of Prayer web site at: www.ndptf.org