The gift of prayer

My private convictions do not stretch to organised religion or belief in a deity. I do however, have very strong personal spiritual beliefs.

Religion and spirituality are separate concepts. They may exist concurrently or independently, and are incredibly individual and personal. Imagine what a wonderful world it could be, if universally everyone took comfort in their own beliefs, and offered acceptance to differing viewpoints.

At various times, and through a variety of circumstances, I have had people offer to pray for me. I find this – for the most part – to be a heartwarmingly beautiful gift. When life throws out the inevitable curve balls of grief, worry and uncertainty, more often than not the problems can’t be solved – we just cross our fingers and hope for the best.

When there is nothing practical to be done, there remains only the gift of prayer.

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

This too shall pass.

Time heals all wounds.

Cliches one and all. Undoubtedly true, but decidedly unhelpful. Prayer offered in my name, or in the names of my nearest and dearest, provides comfort. It is the knowledge I am being thought of and cared about, even when I’m not close at hand. Someone with a deep and abiding belief in the existence of a loving God, reaches out in prayer to ask for wisdom or strength on my behalf, to guide me through some of the trials we all must traverse.

Prayer however, is only a gift when offered on my behalf for something I am in agreeance with.

Please – no matter how profound and meaningful your religious beliefs are – do not pray I find your God. If you must do so, do not tell me. It is – quite frankly – deeply offensive. You are casting aspersions upon my own beliefs. You are saying I am wrong and you are right. Faith does not work like that. I can see believing in God has given you a deep sense of comfort and joy, but I have found comfort and joy too – in my own way.

Please – no matter how profound and meaningful your religious beliefs are – do not tell me to pray.  I don’t believe in your God – and that is okay. You don’t believe in my spiritual truths either. I respect your faith – please respect mine. Telling me to pray is you acknowledging I have a problem but telling me I need to deal with it on my own. No. Don’t do it. It’s rude. Don’t tell me to pray to a God you know I don’t believe in. In fact – even if I did believe in your God, still don’t tell me to pray. Telling me what to do is a burden not a gift.

But when my life takes a turn for the worse – and the shit is flying at frightening speeds in every direction – then please, if you are so inclined, offer a prayer. I am grateful for your love and concern. I am grateful for the time you spend thinking of me when I am not there. I am grateful you share my problems with your loving God, asking for guidance or intervention. I am grateful you care. I am blessed with your gift of prayer. Thank you.

bayart.org

“I didn’t realize what a gift prayer was until my brother was sick and you all prayed for him. I cannot tell you what a comfort your prayers were!”

Laura had tears in her eyes as she thanked me for the prayers of the people in our church for her brother, who was facing a cancer diagnosis. She continued, “Your prayers have strengthened him in this difficult time and have been an encouragement to our entire family.”

One of the best ways to love others is to pray for them. Jesus is our ultimate example in this. The New Testament tells us about Jesus praying for others on many occasions, and even shows us that He continues to come to the Father on our behalf. Romans 8:34 says that He “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Even after showing such selfless love at the cross, the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ continues to express His care for us by praying for us at this very moment.

All around us are people who need us to follow Jesus’s example and love them with our prayers, inviting God’s help and intervention in their lives. We can ask God to help us pray for them, and He will! May our loving Lord strengthen us to generously give the gift of our prayers for others today.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for praying for me. Help me to serve You and others through faithfully praying today.

Submit your prayer request and pray for others at YourDailyBread.org.

Prayer is a gift to be shared.

Both the Spirit and the Son are interceding (praying) for us. The Spirit helps us when we don’t know how to pray, praying for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26–27). Likewise the Son is interceding for us from “the right hand of God” (v. 34). How wonderful to know that two of the three members of the Trinity are praying for us!

But what about the Father? It is the Father who calls us to be part of His family (vv. 29–30). It is out of His love for us that He sent His Son to die for our sins and then raised Him to life so that we would one day be glorified and given all things (vv. 32–33). It is in the love of God that the Spirit and the Son pray for us.

Since God’s love motivates prayers on our behalf, to whom can you show love by praying for them?

J.R. Hudberg

odb.org

A gift represents something special and new, to be received and enjoyed. It speaks of kindness and love. The most precious gifts are those that meet our needs or those that hold more than we asked for.

Prayer is a gift from God to us, and a gift we can in turn give to others as we pray to our Father in heaven in the name of Jesus, His Son.

Through prayer we have access to every good and perfect gift from heaven, such as salvation, deliverance, protection, wisdom, direction, healing, peace, joy, and forgiveness for others and ourselves!

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