Prayer can be a glorious thing but too often it is a boring event people avoid. We should go to God with a humble and contrite heart. When we have confessed our known sins, God can fill us with His Spirit and power. The next step is to align our heart with the heart of God. When we do so, we feel His love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and for all unsaved around the world. We also feel the pain so many suffer. What can our response be but “here I am send me!” Then we are ready to listen to how He wants to use us the next day.
One time, I was taking a three week class on being a missionary. We had heard from previous students that the next days lesson was the worst. I spent the night in prayer. The next day, we played a role playing game called “Bomb Shelter.” Later we found out that every time the teacher ran the game, the students failed, except twice. In the game, the pressure was applied frequently. Everyone entered a power struggle, causing most to give up. Our group was one of the 2 successful ones. There was no power struggle and no one leader. We frequently sought out the opinions of even the quiet ones. One said it was the first time anyone wanted their opinion. I know it was successful because I had prayed deeply, including being told by God to let go my desire to lead before the day started. This is powerful prayer, when it results in a blessing to many people.
One way of thinking of prayer is an analogy with Business. You are in a position where you write checks and sign them for the business. If you write some to pay for your car, this is called embezzlement, and you can be arrested. Any time we pray, “In Jesus name.” we are signing the check to be used to God’s purpose. If we pray for our own needs, it is “embezzling.” This is especially bad if the prayer doesn’t care who you step on and hurt. A focus on other peoples needs leads to peace. When we hear what God wants to do and pray that it happen, we know the prayer will be answered.
Unfortunately, prayer is too often powerless and thus boring. We pray for George, and then for Sally, and finally for the homeless. We are not involved with any and have no idea if the prayer is answered. The next week, is a similar prayer with a similar lack of involvement and a similar lack of response. We should have a prayer that says, “what can I do?” then when we do the job that God assigns us, we are involved personally and also see the result. If you pray for homeless and then serve in a soup kitchen, you see results. If you pray for Sally’s surgery and then visit, you you can rejoice (or weep) when the results come in. If you pray for the missionary, George and give and write, you are connected to and excited about the results. Prayer that says, “Use me” is prayer with power.
Prayer is based on trust. You know God has promised to deal with your problems. You have discussed them with God, are doing what He said, but are resting in the fact that He is in control of the results. Now that you are living by Faith, you can focus on the “use me” prayers that are other people focused. May this be your excited attitude: For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.