The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays. -Søren Kierkegaard-
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me. -Shadowlands film adaptation-
In prayers of intercession and petition, I remember. I listen to the spirit. I lift up others and my heart is moved. I am humbled, changed, and brought inwardly closer to God’s community and purposes. I believe that God does listen and respond to prayer. However, I’ve come to see that prayer also softens my heart and adjusts my focus in ways I desperately need.
I remember that church isn’t here for me. Prayer reminds me that the church is not about me and my needs; rather, we are loved and entrusted to spread faith, hope, and love. We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people” (I Peter 2:9-10, ESV). Praying for the church and its leaders reminds me that I am here to love the church and build up its mission.
Lord Jesus, I pray for Awakening Church. I pray for the leaders of the church; give them wisdom to steward and lead the church well. Protect them and protect their families, Lord. You have gifted and trusted them to lead your mission in our city.
I remember that I am a part of a community. Prayer reminds me that I am not alone. Paul reminds the church, in Corinth, that they were created by God for each other, “[so] that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (I Corinthians 12:25-26, ESV). Praying for those suffering in the church reminds me to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice right now among us.
Lord Jesus, I lift up the people in our community who are hurting. I pray that you provide daily bread, spiritually and physically, for those in need in our city and our church. I thank you that a bruised reed you won’t break and a smoldering wick you won’t snuff out. Be present to those hurting and in need of healing.
I remember to pray for all people. Prayer reminds me that God desires the redemption of everyone and everything, that God “desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth…Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:3-6, ESV). Praying for those outside the church reminds me that God loves them and desires that they come to know him.
Lord Jesus I pray for the city of San Jose. I pray for those in our cities and communities that are far from you. I pray for those who are hurt and those who are full of doubt. You are rich in mercy and slow to anger, and I pray that you would be present to those in our city and in the world that need you.
Listen Well and Speak Slowly.