Pride & Prayer

I’m sure I’m just slow on the uptake, but I feel like God has helped me make a connection between a couple things in my heart that have proven so helpful in the process of self-evaluation and self-confrontation.  It’s the connection between my fight against pride and a passion for prayer.  (Yes, I’m fighting my pride even now in writing this for fear you’ll think me slow in recognizing something so basic).  It’s not that I haven’t preached, taught, and counseled on how a humble heart is a key ingredient in a heart that longs for God in prayer.  It’s not even that I haven’t seen God grow me in brokenness and the increase of prayer with that.  It’s that I trust the sound Biblical wisdom of men more than the desperate pleas for grace to Daddy.  Here’s how God has shown me this – I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated being prayed for or prayed over, like I do now.  When I’ve struggled, physically or spiritually, I’ve sought instruction and the sound truth of the Gospel to flood my soul.  That is a good thing, don’t think I’m suggestion something other than that.  BUT, when someone might ask me if they could pray for me, I’d think (honestly), “Sure, prayer is good … I already know what I need to do/think/be in this situation, but by all means pray if it helps you feel like you’re being a good friend to me.”  I hope you hear the arrogance in that response.

Perhaps it’s that I’ve now lived life long enough to know that there is SO MUCH of life that I don’t (and can’t ) control, fix, or manage, and out of that humble realization I want (and need) the supernatural power of God to intervene.  Now, I know that prayer isn’t the magic lever that I pull to get God to do His magic on me.  I know it’s not a “work of righteousness” that God keeps tally on so that when I reach the gold level He rewards me with a free drink.  I just know that the “flesh is of no benefit” and out of a sincere humility I want to pray, be prayed for, and pray for others.  If the pastor had asked if people wanted prayer over something in their life at the end of a service 10 years ago, I would have responded to that invitation 0 out of 10 times.  Now, I’m getting prayed for 10 out of 10.  And likewise, I find my counsel and shepherding relying far less on my sound words of Biblical counsel (though I give that because it must be there), but recognize that the real help someone needs is not going to be in only “understanding” the truth I give, but in the Spirit “transforming” their mind, heart, and soul.  So I love to pray for people, pray over people, serve people through prayer, bless people as I talk to God on their behalf with them hearing.  I don’t get on my prayer voice, I don’t wave anything over them, I don’t put confidence in my prayer, process, or posture … I just lovingly put my hand on their shoulder and talk to Dad about what they are going through, what I see in their heart, and for grace to be lavished on them in abundant measure.  Pride and Prayer just make prayer a silly religious activity that feels token at best and fake at worst.  So my word for you – Respond to invitations to be prayed for, and pray for people because God loves to hear the prayers of His people and to act on their behalf!

Talking to God about you,

Pastor Mark