Pray to be a blessing
By Rick Odden
Jesus gives us the blue print on how to pray. If you have never done a study on the Lord’s Prayer, I highly recommend it. There is wisdom in these few verses
I try to start my day with God. When I travel and I’m away from home, I have less distractions. It’s not as easy to reach for the “snooze” button.
This year has been a year of away from family for an extended period of time. I have made it a habit of getting up early enough to have a couple of hours every morning with God. As I was praying one morning God laid upon on my heart, some would say he spoke to me, “do not pray for a blessing but pray to be a blessing, then and only then will you be blessed.” God had my attention.
I paused and thought how do I pray. Are my prayers modeled after the example of Jesus? Or have they turned them into requests for “things? “Lord give me wisdom.” “Lord heal me.” “Lord give me direction.”
Much of my prayer time has been spent on “self-things” for me. Even when I pray for others, their needs, their healing, I found that I was praying that God would do “things” as I would like him to do.
Mathew 26:38-39 states, “Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
It was these verses in Matthew that spoke deeply to me that morning. God challenged me to re-think how I pray and ask for his touch, his blessings, his healings. Instead of pleading for what I want, even for those I love, I realized I needed to pray more often, “not my will (want), but your will (desire) be done.”
When we are seeking healing, we want to be healed, but there are times God says “no.” Think about Paul and his prayer for healing. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
What about Paul? It brought a whole new dimension to my prayer life to asking God to do his will, not mine, when seeking answers to prayer.
What is so hard for me about prayers like that is accepting what God’s will is for my life. It is not what I picture as the “correct” answer. I need to accept what God’s will is and the answer he provides.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
We want to negotiate, we want to tell God how to provide, when in fact we need to accept God’s will for us. If I want to be blessed I need to pray that God’s will for me is to be a blessing to others. When others are blessed, then my life will truly be blessed with the joy of God’s presence in my life.
What can you do today?
Pray God’s will over your life and so that you will be a blessing to others. God will begin to change your perspective, with a goal that you thinking will become instinctive to be more God-centered, not self-centered.
At the end of the day evaluate what you thought about. Did you focus on your job, your kids, your vacation, your plans? Or did you simply ask God to turn your focus away from you and entirely on him? I’m learning to do the latter
Henry & Richard Blackaby, and Claude King in Experiencing God stated, “The attention of the Bible is always on God.” P. 102 “Understanding God’s plans for the world around you is far more important than telling God what you are planning to do for him.” P. 110 “A self-centered person tends to confuse his or her personal agenda with God’s will.” P. 113
God has challenged me to recognize when my attention is on him and when it is on me. At the end of the day, I have been surprised at how much of my thoughts have been focused on me and my plans and not on God’s. As I enter into retirement, something I’ve looked forward to since I began work 35 years ago, I want to be more like Jesus. I need to be mindful, “Lord, what have you planned for these remaining years?” Lord, you will, not mine. “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” John 6:38