Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day Eighteen: Praying For Yourself

The question hung like a thick fog for a few moments while the women collected their thoughts around the table. How do you pray for yourself? Finally, one bold lady with the purple scarf cleared her throat and laughed, "I sometimes don't get around to praying for others because I have too many requests for myself!" Some of us with the same confession chuckled. A few others nodded and smiled. 

Then, another timid woman quietly responded, "I don't feel like I should pray for myself. There are so many suffering people in the world." The women were sober again. 

Then one piped up, "If God sees the sparrow fall, how much more does He care for His people who are made in His image?" The ladies were nodding again.

The world is full of desperate humans reaching up to pull a little heaven down and squeeze out its power. But if only they knew that the Spirit of God, who dwells in believers, is always right there for an intimate connection, anytime, anywhere. God cares so deeply for them that He longs for them to ask Him to meet their own personal needs. But the query remains: how do you pray for yourself? Thankfully, the Bible is jam-packed with illustrations of people entreating the Lord for various desires or necessities and we're able to see His responses. 

In the Old Testament Hannah cried ugly tears of anguish, at the temple, over being childless. The priest thought she was drunk. She assured him, "I was pouring out my soul to the Lord." God remembered her and gave her a son soon after. In a long list of geneologies this next small prayer is oddly included. I wonder if God's intention was to show us what we're allowed to ask of Him! Jabez inquired, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” God granted his request. (I Chronicles 4:9,10)

But what about the prayer that is not acknowledged in the same way? In II Corinthians 12, Paul says, "Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Wow! To understand in the midst of a trial that there is a good reason for it! And the result? Christ's power rested upon him! Are we able to pray for ourselves no matter what the answer? No matter which way God desires to see it through--for our good? Does that change the way in which we ask?

Nevertheless, Jesus declared that if we knock, He'll open the door. If we are seekers, we'll find what we're looking for. And if we ask, we'll receive. (Matthew 7:7) The promise that He has a plan to prosper us is security for approaching God's throne courageously for ourselves. The fact that He works all things for our good according to His purpose, gives peace of mind. (Romans 8:28) And like a tree absorbs nutrients from the soil, we are strengthened in prayer, delivered, healed and comforted. Finally, we can do all things we need to do for the journey ahead because of what Christ does in us. (Philippians 4:13) If that's true, pray for yourself with boldness and fervency!

1962. panicking then realizing Caleb is a really good driver :)

1963. the leaves, oh the leaves!
1964. fossil-ish finds
1965. fields big enough for running
1966. growing alongside cousins 

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