FaithPrayers Newsletter – June-July 2014
When we pray for ourselves we often pray about a need we have, a problem, or a concern. We pray about sickness, we pray when the money isn’t stretching far enough, and for our relationships and jobs. Those are all very legitimate and needed things to pray about. It makes great sense to talk to God about all the aspects that comprise our lives.
I wonder, though, if it would change something for us if we began to pray in great earnest about our personalities, about our character, about what – in our society – we tend to term “that’s just me”.
When someone is sick or the mortgage is about to fail, we crumble out of bed onto our knees and beg God to hear and answer. What would it mean to us, as people, if one day we awoke, fell to the side of the bed, and began begging God to be, for instance, a kinder person?
When we think of the aspects of our personalities — and the concept of praying about them — many of us suddenly go into “devotional” mode. We pray a sort of gentle prayer with our morning coffee, a “wouldn’t that be nice to be a better person” prayer, then march on with our day, instead of a wrestling, heartfelt, all-out gut-wrenching prayer.
What if we woke in the morning with one overriding thought (as though it was an unpaid bill… or a sick friend…) “I MUST be kind today”. And then all day, our eyes were hungry as we watched for opportunities (just as we would for news of health or money) to be kind. If the desire for kindness became like a beacon light within us. We simply must find ways to be kind. And we poured out our hearts, many times a day, begging God to show us yet another way to be kind. “Please, please,” we would pray, “put some person or some animal or some situation in my path so I can show kindness! Please God, don’t fail me. Show me ways to be kind!”
And kindness is just one of the things regarding our personality or character about which we might want to pray. Scripture lists nine visible attributes of a Spirit-filled life: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It does not list them as a devotional list to put on the wall and think nice, flowery thoughts about. It lists them as the viable, vital, and visible attributes of the Holy Spirit living within a person. They are either really there in us or they are not. Either way, it seems like an excellent plan to immediately begin praying intensely that those fruits and attributes are in us.
What would it look like? To stay awake in the watches of the night praying for faithfulness, for goodness? To wake up an hour earlier to pray about gentleness or forbearance?
I wonder what would happen. If we were to pray for ourselves this way…
One can almost feel the wind of the Holy Spirit just thinking about it. One can almost feel the breath of new life coming through the window… the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the gifts and fruit that come with.
One can almost feel the beginning trickle of the living water beginning to flow like a cold mountain stream — clear, sweet, and fresh. New life.
Mary Ann Offenstein
Director of Operations,
FaithPrayers National Prayer Line
(Fourth in a series of articles on prayer)