What do you pray for others?
No, I mean seriously - what things do you pray for your friends, family, colleagues?
'There is nothing left to do but pray,’ I heard the tired mother sigh. Okay, maybe it was me. Hmmm. . .
The other day we prayed for God to come, to help us, to comfort those who ache, but I feel like we could all take it further . . . deeper . . . and beyond.
We know what to pray for obvious needs, like healing or restoration of a marriage. But, it seems to me, more often than not, our prayers stop short. Somehow we just lack creativity in this divine cooperation to which we have been invited . . . yes, somehow we just stop short.
Imagine with me you are in the young community of Christ followers . . . you have just come off a dusty street, carefully opening then quickly closing the door to the small gathering of friends and brothers. Whatever the risk, whatever the cost, it is worth it, because with these people, you are ‘home’.
On this night, Paul is teaching on right relationships with one another, but first—he stops to pray for those around him. But he goes deeper than praying for their safety or happiness because he knows TRUTH, he knows what had brought his life meaning and joy.
Before we consider his words, I find his prayer especially rich today as we are so keenly aware of how many people are seeing life as futile. There is no doubt that our culture is upside down at best, and totally lost in reality, when it comes to its search for meaning,
What greater meaning could there be besides knowing the one true God?
Without knowledge of the One who created us,
life is oft meaningless and
we look for any way to fill that void.
The void. I see evidences of it over and over again, as do you. A few days ago, I got another one of those tragic phone calls. This time it was Dylan: Mom, did you hear? Not Sure. What are you talking about? Bryce ... he overdosed and died. Oh no.
Bryce went to high school with both of my sons - split the difference in their ages, so he played soccer with both Dylan and Danny. The blonde-surfer looking kid had a winning smile, generous personality and enormous talent for the beautiful game, going on to play college ball in San Francisco. Bryce had a young son, a good job, friends . . . so much to live for. Gone.
'There is nothing left to do but pray,’ I heard the tired mother sigh. Okay, maybe it was me.
And then I take a look at how Paul prayed that night, at what he prayed . . .
“I ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father
to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better. . ."
Without a daily knowledge that our lives
~are given to us by God,
~our lives are sustained by God,
~and our lives are given meaning by the almighty God of the Universe . . .
we get hopelessly lost. Look around you at young people caught in despair.
**Pray that the eyes of your ‘person’ will open, so that he will seek God
Paul’s prayerful words were often paternal in nature and warm in encouragement of the young believers’ faith in God! Because of the kind of man Paul was, anyone present would remember the prayer long after the day—the words he spoke, his timbre and how he talked to God, especially when his prayers became personal.
as Paul continues his prayer, he prays:
--that you will have greater understanding in your heart
so you will know the hope to which he has called us and
that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings
God has promised his holy people.
--And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe.
God has promised life eternal with him - that is the richest blessing we hold in our hearts. This life is not all there is, young person. Even as I write, I remember that Justice, another of Bryce’s longtime teammates, reads these briefings. Look to God - again I say, ask him to reveal Himself to you and he will.
This life is just the entry hall of the glory that we will know in Heaven--not because of karma or our good deeds--but because of Jesus..
**Pray that your ‘person’ would seek that which is lasting, that which is eternal, and not be deceived by temporal pleasure. This world is so full of lies - lies that tempt, entice and lead to destruction.
And I pray these things for you, dear friend. I pray that you will seek to know the wisdom of God and experience him more and more with each passing day.
You know, it is easy to see Paul has the heart of a shepherd for those to whom he wrote... his love is so clearly expressed . A teacher with the heart of a shepherd feels in his very person the struggle and pain of those he leads. There are times that I can literally feel in my body the pain of those I love who are hurting—‘can’t really explain it, but it is there just the same. The good news is that I have something of substance to give those who hurt, those who struggle, or even those who strive for something that is humanly impossible to ‘master’ without the touch of the Master. [perhaps you should read this paragraph again]
The good news is that Paul’s prayers show me how to pray for all of you—and considering he had no inkling that we would be reading and learning from his prayers some 2000 years after he first expressed them, that is nothing short of amazing! Like Paul, pray similarly for those you love -
that they will seek God,
come to know his great love and pupose for them,
that they will seek his wisdom and know their destinies are in him--
that there is meaning in life because of him. Amen.
Remain faith-full, pray with creativity and fervor, my friends around the world,