Reflecting on how God has been shaping and reshaping how I pray, I have awakened to this note. A few years ago I often found myself making the comment that I would pray for people or situations when presented to me, only to have them or it slip my mind as I walked away. Then a friend made the challenge to pray on the spot, or in the moment there is recognition for a need. This was challenging and very helpful in moving me to a new place with prayer. More recently I have been listening, both to the voice of God as well as my own words as they exit my heart and mouth. This has led me to another thought. How many of my prayers, or the things I feel led to pray for, am I in position to be a part of the answer to? Last week as a friend of mine asked for my prayers with her family and for herself, I blurted out to her that she could have more than just my prayers. Recognizing that the statement alone could sound stupid or arrogant, I explained that some of what she was in need of would come in the form of love and support from others (why would I or we not be found as the "others"?). I found it ridiculous to say I would later pray for her, or even pray at that moment for someone else to respond to the need, when I was not only capable of, but presented with the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I guess it really hit me when she asked if our church would also pray for her, because much of what she was in need of, was for THE CHURCH to wrap around her. I understand that this is not always the case, and so presenting the needs by way of prayer was and is still very important. But I wonder how many times some prayer requests are presented to us so that God can use us as the vehicle in which He answers the prayer? In listening to God's voice, as well as my own words in prayer, I am seeing how there are times when prayer is just an excuse for abdicating responsibility to someone else. Or how prayer can be categorized as just well wishing for someone.
How would you react if you cut yourself, went to the doctor for help, then the doctor looked at the cut and said she would pray for it to be sewn up? As for me, I would look at the doctor and say, "prayer answered, exercise your skills and sew it up!" So last week, as I was listening to a favorite song, the chorus struck me, "Separate love from addiction, they're not the same." Just as well, I need to separate prayer from well wishing for they are not the same. Maybe you have found yourself just "well wishing," or maybe you have been on the receiving end of someone just "well wishing" for you. That we would learn to separate prayer from well wishing, and given the opportunity, live out what our hearts and mouths speak.