Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Prayer That Makes ALL the Difference!

Well, I made it through last week! Last week was VBS (Vacation Bible School) at our church. I was asked to lead the craft area. I said "yes" even though I wasn't sure what all it entailed and I was nervous because my mornings are usually rough. Especially after having the flu a couple months ago sent me into a flare-up with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and bursitis in all my joints. The Lord was faithful however and like always gave me the grace and strength I needed. Sometimes I forget that he will do that but he always does!

On a different note, I want to talk about intercessory prayer; what it is and what it is not. It seems there is a great need for prayer. Social media especially is providing a means for people to make known their desperate prayer requests. Intercessory prayer is a great way to grow in empathy for one another and help carry one another's burdens.

When interceding for our self and others however, it is important to have a correct view of God and proper mindset. How do we see God? Do we see him as a loving Father who has our best interest at heart or do we see him as a distant god, withholding his grace and gifts unless we jump through certain hoops?

We do not need to beg him to act! His mercy and gifts are abundant!

Scripture talks about Jesus interceding for us before the throne of the Father (Romans 8:34). That tells me his heart is for us and he has our best interest at heart. In light of this, I have been asking the Lord to show me how he is praying for me and for others.  Once I receive a revelation of this, I partner with him and pray in agreement. It's amazing how quickly prayers are answered when praying this way!

Lately, I've been praying for a little boy from my daughter's first grade class. He recently had a brain aneurysm.  I've been asking Jesus how he is praying for him. Two things have come to my mind. One was that a heavenly blanket of healing, love and protection would cover the boy. The other thing I saw was a cactus that has water in the center and praying that the family would discover the Living water and sweetness of God's Spirit that can be found even in the midst of suffering. Well, the grandmother keeps reporting updates with how God is blanketing this boy with his love and protection and how God is healing him. She is also reporting the many consolations she is receiving and ways she is seeing God move in this situation. Pretty cool!!!

Now, getting in touch with Jesus' prayers for us and partnering with him is different than praying, "Lord, if it be your will, please grant my request." That type of prayer is praying out of hope instead of praying with faith. We are called to pray with expectant faith! What father would give his son a stone when he asks for a fish (Luke 11:11)? 

One example that comes to my mind of someone using expectant faith is the Loboda's story. Their toddler daughter, Joy drowned in a pool and wasn't responsive when her father found her. He immediately started praying for her with the gift of faith. I believe he was in touch with God's heart. In one interview, he even talks about an experience he had: In the ambulance he found himself before the throne of God. He was bold and told God, "Yes, she is yours but she is also mine and it is not her time!!!" She ended up being miraculously healed!

That took boldness and courage! God likes it when we feel free enough to approach his throne of grace with all confidence, trusting in his mercy and goodness and our relationship with him (Hebrews 4:16)!

The Church also gives us many tools to use for prayer. When used properly, these tools are powerful. Two powerful tools are the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet. The proper way to use these tools is to enter into the life of Christ, recognizing the Holy Spirit within us and pray with Him; getting in touch with His heartbeat. An improper way to use these tools is to view God as distant, praying toward him and striving to say as many prayers as we can so he will possibly hear and answer us.

Do you see the difference? When interceding properly, our relationship with Christ is also deepened. Then intercession isn't just intercession. It becomes a devotion and way to gain a better understanding of God's heart and way to grow in our love toward him and one another. What a wonderful gift that we are able to partner with the Living God!

Now, if you haven't always viewed God correctly or prayed the right way, don't beat yourself up! We are on a journey. We are learning! God makes up for where we are lacking and he can redeem anything! He still performs the miraculous in spite of our lack of faith and let's face it, sometimes things just don't turn out the way we think it should. God's ways are higher! What is important is what we do with the knowledge we have now and how we move forward from here on out!

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