Monday, April 20, 2015

On Prayer

Two people in the past two days helped bring home a lesson we didn’t even know we needed to learn.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

We didn’t know we were dull – isn’t that usually the case! We pray. We aren’t struggling with praying. There are plenty of struggles over here but, maybe it’s just our current situation, but praying seems to be fairly easy right now.

Prayer works.
It encourages.
It sustains.
Prayer draws us closer to God’s heart.

But we were just thinking about OUR prayers. We ask people to support us in prayer and we ask them to pray for our specific needs. Somewhere along the way, though, we unconsciously began to assume it would be OUR prayers that God was answering. We forgot the power of other people’s prayers. It wasn’t an issue of doubting that anyone else’s prayers were being heard; it was a spiritual blind spot. You don’t doubt that a car could be in the lane beside you but it if you can’t see them in your mirror – it’s a blind spot.

We have the self-centered notion that it will be OUR prayers that bring new supporters. We will pray and God will work. And that’s true. We have a prayer list, we pray daily, we are specific, we are general, we give thanks, we ask for things to happen, we praise what God is doing. Notice all the WEs? Without even realizing it, our perception of prayer became inward focused. It wasn’t even something we realized was happening. Blind spot.

Now, in the grand scheme of mistakes to be made, this is probably not among the worst! Often times our faith doesn’t make an abrupt U-turn. It is a gradual shifting to the side…we are still headed in the right direction but we’ve drifted to the next lane. It’s why we do faith together. It’s why we talk to other believers. It’s why we sit under the teaching of Scripture. So we can bring back into focus the areas that have gotten blurry. For us, this wasn’t so much dealing with a significant sin issue; it was sharpening our perception of prayer. There are ALWAYS areas of our faith that need to be sharpened.

Our inadvertently egotistical ideas about prayer crumbled when two people said it was their initial commitment to PRAY FOR US that led them to becoming monthly supporters. God used THEIR prayer life to grow their love for missions and the lost. Their love for us and our family grew as they prayed for us and our journey to MMS. Through their commitment to supporting us through prayer, the Lord led them to give.

IRON SHARPENING IRON. God used their testimony of prayer to sharpen our own view of prayer. We won’t stop praying but we are so humbled and encouraged by how God used someone else’s faith to strengthen us and the work of His kingdom.

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