Late last year someone asked me to join them in prayer about a specific situation. My external response was “I’d be happy to”, my internal response was “I don’t want to!” Now, lest you think me all heathen, I simply did not agree that what they felt was the best outcome would actually be good for them. (Yes, I’m apparently all-knowing like that.) So I wrestled with the idea a bit – I had said I’d pray but I really really didn’t want to pray that. What could I do? Because praying for the opposite of what they wanted was just as bad (in my opinion) if not worse!
Eventually, in prayer oddly enough, it came to me. The revelation which I shall now share with you! Ready?
…It wasn’t about me!
…It wasn’t even about them.
It absolutely was about the God who knew what the outcome would be long before the situation ever slipped into their lives or mine. I (brilliant as I may be) had messed this one up from the beginning! I began immediately to pray for His will in the situation, regardless of my opinions or their wishes. I still don’t know how the situation has or will turn out, but I know that it worked to poke at a little “Cerys knows best” corner of my mind.
So, with this big revelation I started a quest. From then to now, five months, I’ve been studying (still am) prayer. The scripture of course, but also the prayers of those who prayed with power. Long ago, as a child, I read The Prayers of Peter Marshall and it impacted me greatly, so I looked up many of those. I copied John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer out and studied its form. I’ve read and researched and written out so many of these prayers that I sometimes now think in the words of someone else when I’m grasping for direction in my personal prayers. So far I don’t think that’s a bad thing. These great men used a form in prayer that follows biblical patterns, and it certainly has helped me clarify my own organization of thought in prayer.
Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for we find that to wait is often harder than to work.
When we wait upon Thee, we shall not be shamed, but shall renew our strength.
May we be willing to stop our feverish activities and listen to what Thou hast to say, that our prayers shall not be the sending of night letters, but conversations with God.
This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Peter Marshall)