Sunday, March 20

Is anybody out there really praying?

Help! I desperately need prayer. But I can't pray for you the same way I want you to pray for me. This pretty much sums up the embarrassing predicament of my intercessory prayer life.

Praying for the sea of prayer requests has sadly become part of the information glut many of us find ourselves drowning in. Seems everyone (including us) is out there soliciting prayer. About 95% of the requests I get for prayer maybe get 5-seconds. I whisper a quick prayer not because I am really all that concerned, but want to be honest when I tell them, "I prayed for you..." letting them know that I am at least concerned about their situation.

Prayer is not an easy task. In fact it is a struggle for me to pray. Long ago I came to the realization that I talk a lot about prayer, but fall far short in my own prayer life. 

It turns my stomach when I see TV evangelists lay their hands over a 3x3ft stack of prayer requests and pray a single 30-second prayer for all those desperate people who have called or sent in their heart cries for help. But really, what other alternative is there when you get several thousand requests per day? What would I do any different?

Not a day goes by that we too aren't handed our own stack of prayer requests. They come in from all over the world via emails, text messages, missionary prayer newsletters, phone calls, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, churches, leadership, the IMB, the SBC, the EBC, the ABG, the JBG, IM, CAPCO, Twitter updates, people we haven't talked to in years but suddenly they are asking us for prayer, Facebook, and last, but not least, extended family. It is even one of our job responsibilities to promote prayer amongst our missions supporters.

As stated previously, most are matters that are important to the one needing prayer. It takes a real prayer warrior to pray in the Spirit for people and situations that are far removed from them personally. My hat goes off to all those who can truly pray like that.  Few things humble me as much as knowing that there are people like, David, a person we met 23 years ago in a cafeteria line who has prayed daily for us all this time. He writes us a couple of times a year assuring us that he still continues to pray!

How do you deal with prayer in your own walk with the Lord? What are some of your prayer "secrets" you might share that could help all those like myself who struggle in this area? How do you handle the daily bombardment of prayer requests?

Thanks for sharing below in the comments. I eagerly await your insights.

8 comments:

Ruth said...

Hey Guy,

Good Question!

What more needs to be said than "God's will be done"

I think we believe sometimes if we beg God enough to do something then he will listen.

Personally I think God is pretty huge to see the situation and hear the cry of these peoples hearts.

If we think there is more into it than that? Then maybe we like to think we have some say in the matter?

For me when the Lord puts someone on my heart then I know I should sit before him. But who say's prayer has to be words?

Outside of the the Lord's prayer that we are given......I really think prayer is not a work but a state of just being in our spirit.
That we stand in agreement with the Lord who stands on the right hand of the Father beseeching him on our behalves! )24/7by the way)

But do we always pray the right thing??? That would be the more interesting question to me????

But anyway be blessed and no guilt trips my brother. The world is in Chaos and we should not not allow that Chaos make us feel guilty that we are not Praying(working)hard enough in my opinion!

Be blessed Guy

Ruth

Peggy Drapo said...

Guy, who says we have to pray in a sitting down looking at a list mode. Why can't we pray while making the bed, running the sweeper, cooking dinner or even while getting ready to do Facebook. I think God even reads Facebook when we post. He knows when our friends ask us to pray and He knows when we say--"yes, I will" and reads the tug in our heart for that person. Recenly we had a friend whom we knew in New York whose father had rapidly advancing cancer and we followed on Facebook praying as we read about the family's pain and grief and kept their dad in prayer as we went about our daily life. I feel that God heard and saw all of their friends' posts and thoughts. I know that God's will was done, but I know He comforted them through our prayers. Look how you are using Facebook Guy. You keep God in our face and it has become another mission field.
Peg

Ryan said...

Hi Guy,

I too have thought about this over the years and wrestled with the same questions, but I've come to a different conclusion than some of the others. I think the problem is that we're too busy as a people and we try to cram prayer time into our to do list, rather than do our to do list around our prayer time. True, we can pray while we make the bed (and I often do) but I have difficulties encouraging that as a regular practice lest it become the only prayer time some people have (I'm sure that isn't Peggy's situation, I'm just making a generalization).

At times Jesus set aside entire evenings devoted to prayer.

Just consider the following:

• John Wesley spent at least two hours a day in prayer.
• Samuel Rutherford rose at 3am every morning to wait upon God.
• In South Korea – a country with a strong Christian foundation – attendance at 4am prayer meetings several times a week is considered the norm and not the exception.
• John Welsh (a Scottish Reformer) considered his entire day wasted if he spent less than 8 hours a day in prayer.

I have since re-evaluated my prayer life wondering “What kind of things might happen if I spent one-third of every day in prayer?”

While I'm still striving to reach that 8 hour a day mark, I do know that the greatest times of harvest in our ministry happened when I was spending significant amount of time in prayer.

I just had to come to the point where I re-evaluated what activities were important and what weren't.

Just my two cents.

Stephen M. Young II said...

I can't handle lists of 30 60 or 90 requests, but I do make a prayer calendar each month and divide the requests out for 2 or 3 each day.

GuyMuse said...

Ruth,

Thanks for the encouraging word. I agree that many times the most heart-felt prayers are those where the words don't come as we sit in silence before the Lord. Do we always pray the right thing? I often pray, "Lord,I don't know what is best, but trust you to filter my prayer according to your perfect will. I give you permission to rephrase my prayer to be in line with your will."

GuyMuse said...

Peggy,

I admit I hadn't quite thought of it the way you describe, but after reading what you have to say above, think you are on to something. I sometimes think of it as adding my pail of water as it is emptied into a river of prayer. Often there are many others praying, and we think our pail of water isn't much, but every drop counts!

GuyMuse said...

Ryan,

What you share is certainly challenging for all of us to consider doing ourselves. You are right in that most of us have it backwards as we cram our prayer time into our to do list, rather than do our to do list around our prayer time. I will remember that one!

GuyMuse said...

Stephen,

You are a lot more disciplined in your praying than I am. I appreciate your sharing what it is that has helped you deal with the bombardment of prayer requests. It sounds a lot more intentional than what I find myself doing trying to cover all the bases!