Monday, July 21, 2008

Why Wait?

Beginning in the last week of June I have seen the power of prayer in my life and other believers’ lives. Needless to say I have thought a great deal recently about the power of prayer and the Christian duty I have to pray. I am going to keep my thoughts here as brief as possible in order to avoid ranting.
I will start this with a question. How often has someone come to you and told you about a problem they are having and your response was, "I will be praying for you." Now, how many times have you followed through with that? How many times have you failed to pray for that person? Do you feel guilty over it? Have you ever even thought about it? I must confess that I am guilty of this. I have told people that I would pray for them and never even thought about it again. I feel safe in thinking that I am not the only one. Oh the excuses we have for this. Either we are too busy and it slipped our mind or they seemed to be fine when you left them. Besides, they may have gotten better so it didn't really matter did it. Why do we do this? What causes us to lie to one another in this way and let each other down? Why do we withhold the mercy that was given to us? It could be because we are only humans but I prefer to think that it is because, as my friend Jason Jarrett says, WE REALLY JUST DON'T CARE. We are too selfish to care for one another enough to remember to pray for each other as we are commanded to do. Jesus Christ Himself took time to pray for His current disciples and those of us to come when he was facing his own death and we can't remember to do it when we are facing nothing but an 8:00am tee time. I can think of no word to describe it other than pathetic.
So, I am resolved to no longer be guilty of this offense. I challenge all of you to join me in this solution as well. First, another question. When faced with a scenario where someone talks to us about a problem and either does or does not ask for prayers, what stops us from dropping whatever it is we are doing at that moment and praying with that person? Admittedly I did not closely study this before posting but I can recall no scenario where Jesus or his disciples put off offering to help someone in need. Never do we read of Jesus saying "I will keep you in My prayers." If someone had the faith to come to Him, Jesus would stop what he was doing and assist that individual. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe that we must stop praying for people in private but rather praying with them in public, at that moment. Again, what stops us from doing this? Too busy? Too public? Worried they might not want that at that time? I can guarantee that if you take that individual by the hand and begin to pray, they are not going to stop you. We know the power of prayer, yet we refuse to share it. What merciless individuals have we become?
Some of us may feel too uncomfortable to do this. If so, you have a real problem with God. If you think that people who know you would be really surprised by you doing this, then you have a problem you must resolve with your Lord and Savior. If doing this would be surprising to many because they did not know you have such faith, it's time to make a change. If you just feel too embarrassed to do so, then you are not being a disciple because you are not denying yourself. Instead you are denying the mercy of Christ to someone in need. What better way to show our faith then this? I ask you if you are reading this to pray for me that I will do better in this area and that I will not put people's requests for prayers off and risk not praying for them at all. Just suppose that a miraculous occurrence comes about in a person's life after you pray with them. What a wonderful opportunity for ministry. Or better yet, suppose that your example of faith causes that individual to drop to their knees too at that time or alone and they either make a decision to become a Christian or to restore their walk. Then they tell you later that it was all because of your willingness to share your faith. All because, as my friend Randy Hargett says, you showed them the face of Jesus through your willingness to deny yourself and share your time with God with them. It's time to start caring enough to make a difference. Will you join me in doing this? What a difference we can make if we will just start caring.

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