I had a revelation in church the other day…
I am deep in the midst of “church shopping” out here in Denver, which has been a fun and eye-opening experience to be pulled out of what I am used to and thrown into experiencing a range of worship, preaching and community. Amidst all of this, I have also (clearly) moved states and am experiencing a lot of growth and learning within myself.
Prayer and seeking peace with God has been a vital piece of this transition and though I am no pastor, nor seminary graduate, nor even a girl who can pluck scripture out of the air, I am here sharing something that has helped me 🙂 I’m just another human like you… I sin, I make mistakes and I lean on God to be the best version of myself.
I spent a lot of time in the past praying for myself. Whatever the challenge in my life at the time, it received prayer… prayer that God would give me revelation on what to do, prayer that God would “fix” the situation, prayer that God would grace His hand in any way upon my woes. I was also very intentional about giving thanks for the things that I was grateful for and doing some prayer for others, but I entered prayer with the intention of solving problems in my life.
In recent months I’ve approached prayer in a drastically different manner. I no longer spend just part of my prayer time praying for others, I spend all of it praying for others. Let me repeat that… I spend every moment of my meditative prayer time praying for others, not myself.
This isn’t some article for me to shout about my selflessness, this is to share something that has seriously worked for me, in hopes that it may work for you too. Here’s why I have found this to be so powerful for me…
– It takes the focus off your own problems. Have you ever called a friend and griped about how bad something in your life is, only to realize that you now feel worse? The things we focus on manifest. If it sucks, don’t focus on it. Stop letting it consume your energy and time.
– God already has the solution. He’s already at work, so why in the world would you need to repeatedly pray about it?
– This approach spreads blessing to others. Most of us know the feeling of someone saying, “I’ll be praying for you.” I don’t know about you, but for me that feels way more powerful than telling myself that I’ll pray for my own good. Give that gift back to others. It won’t go unnoticed.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (NKJV)
Think about how many times in a single day someone tells you about something challenging in their life. Start seeing those moments as opportunities for prayer. Sometimes it can feel uncomfortable telling someone you’ll be praying for them when you have no clue what they worship in their free time, but think of it this way… do any of us turn down good blessing? Have you ever told someone “oh, please don’t do that” when they said “I’ll be thinking of you”? Likely not. So what is the difference with telling someone you’ll be praying for them. There’s a high probability most people will accept your kind words and good intentions. And if not… then they really need prayer 😉
Keep stepping into those beautiful corners of prayer – start seeking opportunities to pray for others. Before I got comfortable telling others I would be praying for them, I started with situations that didn’t require my verbal expression of what I was doing. For example, if I drove by a homeless person on the street corner, I would pray for them. When I passed an accident on the side of the road, I would pray for all those involved. And if I saw a family of geese crossing the highway and wasn’t sure they would make it without getting hit, I would pray for them 🙂 Typing this all out makes me realize I was doing a lot of prayer in my car ha. But seriously, it was a safe space that allowed me to begin stepping into praying.
Once you get comfortable with regular prayer for others, start allowing yourself to verbally express your sentiment to Christian friends and family, and then finally step into the unknown of letting others know when you are praying for them, no matter your knowledge of their faith.
This isn’t something that happened for me overnight. It took me years. It doesn’t need to take you that long, but begin the journey with tiny steps forward; little moments of prayer for others. It’s only been in the last couple weeks that I’ve consciously noticed the impact of this approach on my life, but wow, is it powerful! So if you’re in a place of growth and change and transition, try a little something different, a little something counterintuitive. Stop focusing so much on your own worries and begin pouring your energy and love toward others. God’s got you covered.
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” (NKJV)