I am part of the Ladies Bible Study and we are reading “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World”. Sherry encouraged each of us to identify one area of our Christian walk that we need to work on and right it in the cover of our book. Then at the end of the study, we will look at it again and see what God has done in that area of our lives during our study.
Immediately the area I thought of was the area of prayer. I’ve been reading “Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions” by George Barna (excellent book) and I was convicted that I am not more intentional in my prayers. Now I pray. If someone ask me to pray for them, I do it right away. If I feel a burden for someone, I will pray for them. I tend to carry on-going conversations with God off and on throughout the day. BUT do I intentionally pray for each child in our church by name? Do I lift up each family in our church in prayer? No. I don’t have a system in place that helps make sure I am lifting up family and friends in prayer on a regular basis.
BUT when I think about long sessions of prayer (I had a friend who was a mother of 6 boys and she would pray an hour each day before her kids woke up), it feels more like a burden than a pleasure to me. Several years ago, we went through “Power of a Praying Parent” in our study and trying to pray through every aspect of our child’s life felt more like a burden and a guilt trip then a loving, freeing experience with God. I know people who have powerful prayer lives and it brings them such joy and satisfaction and I think…what’s wrong with me?
As I was pondering these things on the way home last night, a verse from our study came to mind.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:38-30
Now I’m a server. My spiritual gift is the gift of service. I love to serve others. Over the years I cannot tell you the number of times people have said to me “You do too much. You need to cut back on the areas you serve in” or “If Kristie is doing all of this, then I need to do more too.” I have tried to tell people that I wouldn’t be happy doing less. I don’t serve because I am trying to earn something or because I feel guilty. I serve because it is my spiritual gift and using my gift brings me joy, satisfaction, and a sense of purpose.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I feel like when I serve, I am picking up the yoke Jesus has given me instead of the one I try to create for myself. It seems like too much work to others around me, but to me it is not a burden at all. I have found the place Jesus wants me to be and that has made all the difference.
So intercessory prayer may be like that. For some it is a spiritual gift God has given them and it brings them a joy and satisfaction that I could not experience if I tried to do what they were doing. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t pray just as it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t serve. I do believe I need to strengthen my prayer life and focus on it. God wants us to pray and there is power in prayer. What should my prayer life look like?
As I shared all this with my husband, his immediate response was “You need to read Philip Yancey’s book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?” Donald said the book covers all those questions I have. So I am starting to read it and looking forward to finding out what perspective Yancey has on the discipline of prayer.
Pray for me 🙂 as I journey to discover what God wants from my personal prayer life.