Last year I chose several ministries to pray for on a daily basis for six months. After a few weeks, my prayers began to change. God began to reveal His heart toward those I prayed for, and to give me specific things to pray on their behalf. Some of the things I requested turned out to be exactly what was needed – and I had no way of knowing this apart from prayer. It was an amazing experience.
For instance I knew of a pastor and his wife from a neighboring town who seemed to be greatly concerned about people-pleasing. I prayed against the spirit of fear, and asked the Lord to break it’s grip.
After about a month of praying for them, I suddenly envisioned them as shepherds (who were also sheep) with a flock of angry, unruly sheep. The Lord began to show me how this couple had been verbally attacked by congregants who didn’t like the way this or that was done in the church. After washing their mouths on their shepherd – in effect biting him and his wife – they gave them a swift kick and left. As a result, the two of them were head-shy, torn, and bloody.
My prayers changed at that point, and daily I imagined scooping up these two wounded ones and placing them in the Lord’s lap.
Oh, dear Jesus! Just look at this one. His little ear is just about torn off.
Look at the other one – this gash here looks like it’s getting infected. You simply must bind up their wounds and heal them.
I no longer stood in judgment for their inability to stand against fear and people-pleasing, but began to have a deep compassion for all the abuse they’d taken for years…and their faithful service despite their wounds.
In the same way, God gave me insights and information about nearly every other person for whom I prayed. In every instance, the result was increased compassion and love for the person(s) or ministry. At the end of the six-month period I discovered that my petitions had changed. At the end I was accurately praying for the needs of those on my list!
One thing I learned from my experiment was that because I spent time with the Lord daily to discuss these requests, I got to know Him better. We became confidants – good friends. What He taught me during that time spills over into how I pray for others today.
It is a great honor and privilege to participate in what God is doing by way of prayer.
The Lord’s invitation to “help” in this way reminds me of when my kids were little and we were going on a trip:
Our suitcase was heavy, but one of my little ones was determined to carry it to the car. I knew it was too much for him, so I wrapped my hand around the handle and then said, “Oh, this is sooo heavy. Would you help me carry this?” He put his little hand on mine and “together” we hefted the bag.
When we got to the car, I thanked him and praised his ability to carry that case…even though he’d really done nothing more than rest his hand on mine!
God is like that with us. There are burdens we want to carry for others, but truly lack the strength to do it. God “wraps His hand” around the handle, then asks for our “help.” When the task is completed, He thanks us – and rewards us – for being such good little helpers! Amazing. 🙂
I challenge you to choose one person, ministry, or country for which you will pray daily for six months. As you faithfully pursue the Lord’s favor day by day, expect to hear the Lord’s heart for them…
…and to be let in on some of God’s little secrets!