"If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death,
he should pray and God will give him life."
1 John 5:16
Reading this verse (1 John 5:16) makes as many questions pop into my head as the second and third grade choir students had last night when we tried to explain the name "Ancient of Days" for God. They wanted to know how God came into being, when He came to be, how could He not be old but still be the Ancient of Days, and other unanswerable, mind-blowing mysteries we've all wondered. I almost ignored Mr. Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) today for choosing this verse but one glowing treasure outshone the questions: the power of our intercessory prayer. "He should pray and God will give him life." Be with that a moment.
Think of all the ways Satan tries to side-track us from praying. Don't you wonder why he's so dead-set against believers spending time in prayer that he comes up with all kinds of red-herrings and substitutes to keep us from attaching to God's power in our own or someone else's behalf? Psychology is a perfect example. Analyzing someone's personality, experiences and habits may help us understand them, feel compassion for them, and even change our attitudes or behavior toward them but it stops short of helping them. Enabling people is another feel-good substitute for intercessory prayer that actually increases their problems and undermines our faith. We think, "I have to take care of this person because it's the Christian thing to do," when God wants us to pray for the person and trust Him to intervene. Criticizing people is another less "noble" substitute for prayer. When we criticize them we've labelled them "in need of prayer" but we don't pray for them.
Since having this "aha" moment and understanding Satan's fear of the power of prayer, I plan to take every opportunity presented today to cover people with God's power through prayer.
Lord, You empower us with prayer and we must make Satan's day when we leave this gift to gather dust on a shelf or when we pray only on shallow, selfish levels. Help us not stop short of interceding for people. Guide our minds to develop Your thoughts and goals for them. Teach us to pray for people instead of criticizing, analyzing, and enabling them. Increase our faith in You and our devotion to seeing You work in people!
In the Name of Jesus who prayed and prayed and prayed in the Power of God to see a world saved from sin!
"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." Psalm 34:8
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15
Inspired by My Utmost for His Highest
photo from my Italy album, taken in Vatican City