Did you know that when Paul was beaten, chained, and imprisoned, that his prayer was not necessarily to be released? His prayer was not “Lord, could You get me out of here?”, or “Could you relieve my pain or bring Your wrath against those who did this to me?” His prayer was that the grace of Jesus Christ would fall on everyone. Everyone. That their love would abound. That all hearts would surrender to the one and only Lord Jesus Christ. That all would feel His affection towards them. That eyes and hearts would be opened to Jesus’s love for them. Everyone.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:7-11 (NIV)
Paul longed for them. He loved them still. Paul’s eager heart for others convicts me and the type of prayers I’ve been praying lately. If true peace comes from surrendering our hearts and lives to Jesus, shouldn’t that be our prayer? Lord, I really WANT this other stuff, but what I really NEED is to be surrendered to you. And what I really WANT is for those who I love, those who have hurt me, those whom I have hurt, and even those I don’t know to love You too. I can’t make this happen, but I can pray for it. Will you take over my life and do with it as You please? Will you humble me to pray the same for others? Will you invade my loved ones and penetrate their hearts to the point that they can no longer deny Your love for them? That they will feel it just as they are?
Lately my prayers have been revolved around others beliefs versus my own beliefs and finances. Lord, will you forgive me for my attempts to control? I want my prayers to be more like Paul’s. Not for worldly security in whatever form that may be for me. Money, approval, tradition. But, fully surrendered to You. And, for those I pray for to desire the same. That our love for You and each other will abound more and more. That our love for You will be so strong that it changes how we treat each other. That our love will be so strong, that it throws comparison out the window. Irritation and differences out the window. Because when we KNOW that we are fully surrendered to Jesus, that’s all that matters. And, that may look differently for all of us. Let it be, Lord. Let it be.
Jesus taught us how to pray….His example is: In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)
Teach us to pray Your heart, Jesus. To place our Father’s name and kingdom above all else. For our daily necessities, for forgiveness, for a heart to forgive others, for deliverance from our enemy, and God’s Glory forever. For a pure heart before You. I lay it down.