I read this post earlier and had to chuckle because I've been thinking a lot about prayer this week, especially the phrase we Christians love to say, "I'll pray for you." So after reading that, I decided to sit down and write, although I will be interrupted shortly as Seth will be waking up from his nap.
Prayer has always been an important part of my life. It has always been the easiest spiritual discipline for me. I am not sure why. Perhaps it's because I grew up learning about prayer and watching my family members pray. Perhaps it's because I was taught just how important it is. For whatever the reason, I have always enjoyed praying and look forward to that time with God. Trust me when I say that all of the spiritual disciplines are not like that for me. I get all nervous writing this sort of stuff on my blog sometimes because I don't want anyone to be offended by what I say. I hope you know me well enough to know that I am just sharing what's on my heart.
I think this whole topic has been on my mind because I feel like I am constantly bombarding God with requests right now. We all have times where we seem to ask a whole lot more than thank or praise. I'm not talking about that. I just feel that there are SO many people out there hurting and so many people I want to pray for. I know that hasn't changed at all over time, but as I grow older, I learn more about those things, situations that break your heart, people who need to be uplifted...You get the point.
So as I learn of request after request (and I don't mean that in a bad way but every where I turn I hear of another person, talk with another person, or get another email asking for prayer), my heart gets overburdened and I feel terrible if I forget someone while I'm praying. I know the Lord intercedes on our behalf, and I know he knows it all. But we are asked to bring these things before him, and when I tell someone that I will pray, I will. I don't want to be someone who says that and doesn't follow through. Have I ever done that? Absolutely. Do I want or plan to do that when I say it? Absolutely not.
One of the best things that happened last year was a woman who prayed with me on the spot when I went to her with a request. She and I did not know each other very well, just ran into each other and had a chat here and there, but I always had this sense that she was a prayer warrior, one with whom I could share some concerns, knowing she would pray. And I know she did. She did with me a few times right then and there. I don't do that with people very often, only have a couple of times. I want to do that more. I also know that this woman prayed about my concerns after we had departed as well.
It has always been a huge blessing to be able to ask someone to pray for you and know that they will. My mom used to get together with another woman every week and pray together. I remember sharing a certain prayer request here and there and asking them to pray about it, knowing full well that they would. I would sometimes even ask her to directly tell this other woman because I know she would pray. Another important thing was that my mom and I started a prayer journal together. We would do it at night before I went to bed, and we would pray for various things, especially the students in my class at school. There was one girl who stayed on the list the entire time because I struggled with her so much, and by the time we graduated from high school, we were great friends. I hope to be able to do that with my kids.
And I love listening to kids pray. That was one of my favorite parts of the day at school. I know that the "management" of prayer time with 24 students in a class is different than had I had just a few students, but I still loved it nonetheless. I am sure parents would die if they knew some of the stuff kids said at prayer time, but I always took it with a grain of salt because who knew what they were going home saying about me!
I have several favorite moments over the years of praying with students. My first year at Worthington I had a little girl who had brain surgery, and it was the neatest thing to pray as a class for their fellow classmate. I told them that they could pray throughout the day for her, not thinking that they didn't know how to pray while doing other things. So I would randomly see a student place down their book and close their eyes and bow their heads. It was the most precious thing. We took lots of breaks that day to pray aloud together so that it was easier on them!
Over the years I got to pray with a lot of students individually, whether they were upset or nervous about something, an issue with a friend, or an issue going on in their lives outside of class. I loved that time with them. I loved that we could do that.
I also loved branching out during our class prayer time by doing small group prayer time, "popcorn" prayer, etc. I enjoyed that. They LOVED the popcorn prayer. Then one student realized that the more they said, the longer the prayer was, and the less time there would be to do math. I always had to jump in and close it before that student got carried away. But I didn't want to stop that popcorn prayer because that was when the shy ones would sometimes pray because it was short and so many other students were doing it. I loved it when I once suggested that they could move into a position that they were more comfortable praying in other than just sitting in their desks. Some kids felt fine to stay that way all year while others immediately wanted to kneel at their desk or chair and some would even find other ways. I always wanted it to be a time between them and God. Some days were better than others, but I know that God was at work every day.
So this has been a really long post, and if you're still reading, yeah for you! You're almost done!
But my point is that I want to be the person who follows through when I say I'll pray for you. I am honored when someone asks me to pray because that means they want me to and trust that I will. I don't ask people to pray about something for me if I know they won't. What's the point? So even though I feel overwhelmed with the hurts of many people or just the amount of things that need to be uplifted to God constantly, I am glad that I can go to our Heavenly Father with these things. He is not overburdened, and he is not overwhelmed.
Oh, and this is NOT meant to deter anyone from asking for prayer. Again, it's these sorts of thoughts that pop into my head that make me think twice about posting this because I'm afraid someone will take it the wrong way. I want to be praying and know the one true God who can take care of all things!!!