Love & Pray

I returned only a couple of days ago from a trip to Europe. There is a seven hour difference, so I found myself wide awake at 4 a.m. this morning. I lay in bed and listened to a song playing in my heart, How He Loves Us. A person came to mind. Someone I love. I began to pray for them as I lay there. At some point I began to think about why I was praying for them.

This person is in the ministry. She is sharing the gospel all over the world. Lives are being changed. While these are reasons to pray for her, I realized that the reason I was praying for her is because I love her. The people I pray for the most are the people I love the most. I don’t have to be asked to pray for my husband, my parents, my family, my closest friends. I love them, so I pray for them.

A scripture came to mind as I lay there.

…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… (Matthew 5:44, Amplified)

While we may not love what our enemies are doing to us, our motivation to pray for them must be the same. Our motivation must always be love.

For God so loved the world… (John 3:16, KJV

But God shows and clearly proves his own love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ…died for us. (Romans 5:8, Amplified)

The next time you find yourself faced with an enemy. The next time you decide to pray for your enemies. Find that place of love, God’s love for them, and pray.

There will be times when you feel the love of God rise up and feel compelled to pray for your enemies. But just as we hear that “love is choice” concerning our closest relationships, it is also a choice you can make with your enemies. You can choose to love and you can choose to pray for them.

…God has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit… (Romans 5:5, NIV)

…You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness… (Isaiah 38:17, Amplified)

Let us love. Let us pray. Let us win their lives back. Selah.

What I Ought To Be

Yesterday, I wrote about a recent prayer time with a friend. She and I pray weekly for our nation. Every week we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit within our hearts as to how and what to pray. Every week our prayer time is different from the last. We never know what to expect except that it will always be from a place of love for God, love for all people, and love for this nation.

I’d like to continue where I left off yesterday. I shared yesterday that the Holy Spirit led us to pray for our “enemies”. Today I’d like to share one thing in particular that He had us pray.

Now may the God of peace… Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ…Amen. Hebrews 13:20,21 (Amplified)

My husband and I have been married for 20 years. We have a very good marriage, thank You God, however, it has not been without its ‘moments’. In those moments I would go to God in prayer and instead of praying for God to change my husband in some way, I would pray for God to make me what I ought to be as a wife. I prayed this way, because the Holy Spirit led me to pray this way. This is a prayer from a place of love and not selfishness. He always leads us to pray in love. Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6).

So the other day as my friend and I prayed for this nation by praying for our “enemies” this is how we prayed. Make us what we ought to be to those who hate us.

As we continued in our prayer we prayed, Father, Make us what we ought to be to this nation. Make us what we ought to be in our own homes.

We prayed that God would make us, not just my friend and I, but us the church, the Body of Christ, what we ought to be to this world that is in need of the Savior.

Make us what we ought to be.

You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:13,14,16 (KJV)

Heal Our Land

A few days ago I sat across from a friend and she and I prayed for our nation. This nation (USA) is in the middle of economic troubles. This nation is going through a deep struggle as seeds of division are sown by many and it is bearing its ugly fruit in the heart of this nation. Many have said that what we do now will determine if this nation survives as one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

How do you pray for such things?

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

…the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. Romans 8:27 (Amplified)

We sat and followed the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts. And where did He lead us? We found ourselves earnestly praying for our “enemies”. We prayed for the souls of those who don’t know Him as love and are doing everything to tear this nation apart and bring her down.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:44 (KJV)

…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6 (NKJV)

It takes humility to pray for your enemies and to admit before God your own shortcomings. But if we humble ourselves and pray… He will heal our land.

Praying with Love

I sit with God. No agenda. I sit. I listen. I pray.

I pray over the people and situations that are on His heart. He always leads me to pray for people that are on my heart too, but at times I find myself praying for someone I never thought to pray for.

The other day a man’s name came up in my heart. I’ve never met this man. I couldn’t even bring to mind what he looks like. But I sensed God wanted someone to pray him.

He is a man who wields great influence. He is a man that opposes all that I cherish. He is a man that opposes God. He is a man that many believe is playing a great role in destroying the America, One Nation Under God, that we know and love. And God wanted me to pray for him.

I googled him. I wanted to see his face. When I saw him anger tried to rise up. Hate tried to rise up. It was fear trying to rise up. He is destroying what I love. But I looked at that man’s face and said, “I refuse to hate you. If I hate you I cannot help you and God wants to help you.”

I chose in my heart to forgive him. I chose in my heart to let God love him through me, then I prayed for him.

My prayers were not motivated by what his freedom and salvation would mean to me or to this country, but for his own sake. For God’s sake. Father God loves this man.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. (John 3:16, Amplified)

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:17, Amplified)

For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, Who wishes all men to be saved…(1 Timothy 2:3-4, Amplified)

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45, KJV)

I desire therefore that in every place men should pray, without anger or quarreling or resentment or doubt [in their minds], lifting up holy hands. (1 Timothy 2:8, Amplified)

…You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back. (Isaiah 38:17, Amplified)

For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Matthews 18:11, KJV)

Selah.

Let Me Hear Your Voice

Do you remember a time when you were separated by a great distance from someone you loved? Your parents. Your spouse. Your child. Do you remember those phone calls you waited for. You picked up the phone and said, “It’s so good to hear your voice.”

We love to hear the voice of the ones we love. God loves you and He loves to hear your voice.

Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. [So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] O my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. (Song of Solomon 2:13-14, Amplified)

He wants to see your face. He wants to hear your voice.

This morning I was up before my husband. By the time he woke up, I had discovered a problem that needed attending to. As he entered the room I was about to tell him and I had this thought, “I don’t want the first thing I say to him, the first thing he hears from me to be about some problem.”

As I sat with Daddy (God) this morning, there were things on my heart that needed attending to, but I just spent the morning telling Daddy thank You for loving me and telling Him how much I loved Him.

As I sat and let Him see my face and let Him hear my voice, I began to see His ‘face’ and hear His voice.

And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11, Amplified)

As I simply sat with God and talked to Him, I began to see answers to my questions, provision for my needs and I hadn’t even expressed them to Him. I was just letting Him tell me of His love for me as I was loving Him.

In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart]. (Psalm 5:3, Amplified)

…When you pray, say: Father… (Luke 11:2, NIV)

Let your Father hear your voice today.

It’s Not About Me

I had an interesting experience this morning with God. As I sat in my favorite prayer chair, I saw some things in my own heart that needed to change. I asked Him to search me, cleanse me and change me. This is nothing new. I spend each day with Him in prayer, in worship, and in His word, being changed from one degree of glory to the next. But today I noticed something. Not something new, but something I just hadn’t really thought much about.

When I first began coming to God to be changed, it was all about me. I was the focus of my prayers. I wanted to change for my own sake. There is nothing wrong with this. My prayers during this time were answered. I was changed. Each day I looked more like Him.

After sometime of praying this way, I began praying more for others, than for myself. I was so moved by their needs I didn’t even think much about my own needs. He answered these prayers too.

Today as I sat with Him, I began to see the faces of the individuals that I am ministering to. People in need of healing of their broken hearts. People in need of healing for their broken bodies. People in need of healing for their broken lives. I found myself slipping from worship over into prayer and I found myself praying that He would search me, cleanse me, change me… for their sake. I was praying about me, but it wasn’t about me. It was about God changing me, so that He could meet their needs through me.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24, Amplified)

Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom. (Song of Solomon 2:15, Amplified)

Now may the God of peace… strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever… Amen… (Hebrews 13:20, 21; Amplified)

Make me what I ought to be… for their sakes.

Our Father

Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  (Luke 11)

I’ve prayed this prayer all my life. I didn’t note a translation above, because I didn’t copy it out of a particular translation of the Bible. These are the words that from the time I was a young child, were written on my heart.

It’s been like a companion for as long as I can remember. I have prayed these words. I have contemplated these words. These words are woven through my history with God and my future with God.

I remember praying them for so long, because I was supposed to. I also remember the day that I realized what I was praying and I began to pray them in faith, not by rote any longer, but to my God as communion with Him.

Last night something struck me about these words. It was funny to me, that after all these years I hadn’t really noticed or paid attention to one thing in particular about this prayer. It is written in the first person plural. It is a prayer given to us by our Father which art in heaven and even when it is prayed by a single person, it is not just a prayer between God and a man. It is a prayer between God and His people.

It’s not just about me when I pray it. It’s not just about you when you pray it. It’s about us. Even when I pray it by myself, I am reminded that I am a part of something bigger than me. I am a part of the Body of Christ and as I pray this prayer I am praying for myself and the rest of this Body.

It’s been prayed for thousands of years. It’s been prayed by millions of people. It’s been prayed in a multitude of languages. It’s been prayed across denominational lines. And each time across ages, across nations, across denominations that this prayer is prayed, we are all praying and acknowledging, that no matter what our differences are, we have One Father… Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be His Name!

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, whois above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6, KJV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35, NKJV)