Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: The Halfway Point

Twenty days in.  Twenty days to go.  How are you doing?  Have you remembered to pray every day?

I want to take a moment to remind you to pray with grace when praying for people with whom you disagree.  You may believe that person is Satan incarnate, and you may have a point.  But all people, no matter how imperfect, no matter how broken, are made in God's image - the Imago Dei.  We need to be careful that we don't pray evil on people simply because we disagree with them.  We can pray that God will reveal himself to them, that they will have their eyes and ears opened to God's leading, and that God will help them find the right way to go.  But we shouldn't pray that God will smite them, or that they will have bad things happen to them because they believe differently from us.

When we pray grace on people, we pray that God will work in their lives to bring them closer to him.  We pray that they will have their minds opened to new possibilities.  We pray God's will upon them (not specifying our will, or telling God what his will should be), and we pray that as they follow God that he will bless them.  We pray that they will recognize and follow God instead of themselves.  We pray that the decisions they make and the words they speak will be of God and not of the flesh.

Praying grace on people is also about praying for yourself.  If there are people with whom you have disagreements, then praying for them is a great way to begin to forgive them.  We pray for ourselves that our own eyes will be opened so that we can understand why those people think or believe the way they do.  We pray that we will have grace to deal with them, and patience to quietly listen when they speak.  I might still disagree with him, but I will have given him the benefit of the doubt and will have allowed God to deal with me.  If it turns out I was wrong, and that does happen often, then I've gracefully dealt with this person and I don't feel like I have to "save face" by continuing to disagree.

As you pray for your leaders, pray with grace and love, not hatred and anger.  Pray for what you believe in, but do so in a way that brings glory to God and allows for God to show you new things.

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