Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pray for that Schmuck



One of the best ways to get over being pissed off at someone is to pray for them.  No, I don't mean praying for them to fall into a pit of a volcano.  Or to pray for God to help them become less of a jerk.  I mean praying for them all the things you want in life.  Pray for them to have a happy life.  Pray for them to have a joyous marriage.  Pray for them to have a wonderful job.  Pray for them to have all the joys you want in life.  For especially difficult cases, like family and annoying coworkers, do this for 1-2 weeks, everyday before bed.  It's a powerful prescription.  It turns out when you pray for someone for extended periods, you can't help but begin to love them.  And yes, it's OK to love someone from a distance, who is a danger to your sanity or has been abusive in the past.  There's nothing in the Bible that says we have to return to abusers for more abuse.  But pray for them.  And love them from a distance. Because our word says "Pray for your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44).  

The world really needs prayer today.  Our country really needs prayer. I believe in the power of prayer.  I believe it really changes everything.  God is sovereignly in charge of reality.  Yet He works through people.  Fundamentally he works through people.  In fact in every great move he's made in the world, it's always through a person.  Moses, delivering the Israelites from Egypt.  He worked through a person.  Gideon, challenging the midianites.  He showed his glory and power through His people.  Joshua, Abraham, Joseph, Debra, Paul, on and on the list goes.  Jesus Christ himself, God worked through the God-man Christ Jesus to offer blanket redemption to the world, for those who would believe.

I try to pray three times a day, like Daniel (Daniel 6:10).  I hope you do too.  I usually pray the "Our Father."  I was raised Catholic after-all, though I'm now simply a Christian follower of Jesus.  I pray the "Our Father" slowly, with emphasis in my heart and soul.  I also often make use of the serenity prayer; "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." 

I'd like to recommend the five finger pray.  It's really easy to remember, you just look at your hand.  The thumb is to pray for those who are closest to you.  Here I pray for my mom, my dad, and my sister.  And my extended family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.  The pointer finger is to pray for your spiritual leaders.  I pray for my corps officers (pastors) here and I also pray for leadership in the Salvation Army overall.  The middle finger is to pray for government leaders, because it's your tallest finger.  I tend to pray for Congress, the courts, the president, and his cabinet.  I pray for my representatives, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin's 7th district.  He does a great job in Congress.  I even pray for Senator Ron Johnson, even though he's a bit of an establishment, big government schmuck.  But he's solid on some issues.  I pray for the representative for the yoopee here, retired general Bergman.  We'll see how he does in Congress.  Definitely I should be praying for those two nutty democrats representing Michigan, Marx and Engels, wait, oh that's right, Peters and Stabenow.  Yes, they really need prayers.  But don't we all? Next, the ring finger, you pray for the weakest of those in our society.  "The least of these."  I tend to pray for drug addicts, alcoholics, sex addicts, the abused, the abusers, the homeless, the sex trafficked, that God would open doors of escape and recovery in their lives.  I will also pray for specific people I know who are trapped in addiction.  The pinkie finger is to pray for yourself last.

I tend to pray a threefold prayer:  God grant me a healthy body, that I would honor you in how I eat, a clean mind, that I would think your thoughts, and a pure heart that seeks only to do your will.

Prayer is insanely important.  It's like breathing to the Christian.  The truth is they need the prayers, and we need the practice!  Prayer changes the world, but it also changes us.