Prayer
Conversations with God,  From The Bible,  My Faith

Growing Pains

It’s been six months since I started doing daily bible readings and devotions and I’m doing well. I’ve read a few Christian books during that time too. One was called “The Power Of Praying For Your Adult Children” by Stormie Omartian. I copied the 15 prayers it contained and printed them out to pray each day during my daily devotions but the whole thing took on a life of it’s own!

I felt God nudging me to pray for more than just my son and daughter.

“Do you love your brothers and sister?” He asked me.

I said of course I love them.

“What about your nieces and nephews?” He said. “Don’t you want them with you in heaven when the time comes?”

I said of course I want them there. Then He brought other people to mind and wanted to know if I wanted them in heaven with me too. The partners and children of my nieces and nephews, my cousins, my sisters-in-law and their children as well as other relatives such as aunts and uncles and so on.

“Who will pray for them if you don’t?” He asked me.

“Your Mother has gone,” He reminded me, “Your siblings no longer have her prayers defending them from the powers of evil and who is praying for their children or their children’s children? All the people you care about are standing, unprotected, in the firing line of Satan. He is working as hard as he can to take them all to hell with him and nobody is fighting for their souls except Me. I’m doing the best I can but I am limited in what I can do by their free will. I need your help.”

I added them all to my prayers.

So there I was, praying every day for the Holy Spirit to pour out wisdom, discernment, and knowledge on all my loved ones. Asking God to keep them safe from evil, protect them from harm, bring them to the cross and salvation and so on and God gave me another nudge.

“What about you?” He said.

“Do you feel you are fully armed with the knowledge, wisdom, discernment and presence of the Holy Spirit yourself? Do you think you could use some of the things you are praying for me to give others?”

I added myself to the prayer list.

It didn’t take long for me to feel like I needed to add friends to the prayer list as well. When it comes right down to the bone there are very few people I would want to see excluded from heaven when the time comes. Complete strangers, even people I don’t like, I don’t wish harm on anyone let alone hell so the prayer list kept getting longer!

Then the issue of bible verses cropped up. The prayers in the book were liberally sprinkled with bible references and I felt like I should include them, in full, so I could memorise them. I read Psalm 119:11 – “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” and I felt like I should be trying to memorise scripture to help me in my Christian walk.

By the time I was done and printed it out the prayer was 18 A4 pages long! It was taking me over an hour to read through it all and I kept falling asleep if I was the least bit tired before starting. I’ve edited the prayers and got it down to 9 pages now but it still takes me a while each morning to pray it all.

I’m determined to keep doing it though.

I’ve been very careful of how it is all worded. I ask for healing for everyone for example, but I ask for the healing God wants to give us, not the healing I think He should give us. I’m pretty certain everything I am praying for is something God wants to give us. That means my prayers are certain to be answered because the bible promises me in 1 John 5:14-15 – “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

I’m praying because I don’t know what else I can do to save the souls of my loved ones.

I can’t talk to any of them about salvation because I have no right to ask them to listen to me. I’ve been a terrible ambassador for God. None of my family have any reason to believe I give a damn about them and I don’t really know how to change that. Every day now I pray God will help me show love to them in ways that will make them feel loved. Nothing has come to mind yet but I’m open to anything the Lord might suggest.

I haven’t wanted to be close to people for a long time. I haven’t make any effort to be close to any of my family members, I avoided making friends, I didn’t want a church family, or any connections because I felt I couldn’t trust anyone not to hurt me. I decided I would rather live without connections than run the risk of being hurt ever again. I isolated myself as much as I could to the point where the only connections I had left were those between me and my son and daughter. I was perfectly happy with that. I felt safe and that was all I cared about.

Then I started reading the bible every day and God used it to challenge that decision.

I read Proverbs 18:1

“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgement.”

That’s the New King James Version. The New Life Version puts it more harshly:

“He who stays away from others cares only about himself; He argues against all good wisdom.”

I’ve been selfish. I’ve cut everyone off to avoid being hurt but also because I’m too lazy to put myself out for others. I don’t have the kind of personality that remembers birthdays or thinks to call someone just to say how are you on a regular basis. I’m very poor friend material and even worse relative material but God wasn’t done yet.

Along came 1 Corinthians 5:11

“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolator, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person.”

The New Life Version puts it this way:

“What I wrote was that you should not keep on being with a person who calls himself a Christian if he does any kind of sex sins. You should not even eat with a person who says he is a Christian but always wants to get more of everything or uses bad language or who gets drunk or gets things in a wrong way.”

I call myself a Christian and I have begun praying for God to send Christian friends my way but now I had to wonder if I was the kind of person another Christian would want for a friend and it was starting to look like the answer was no!

I looked up the meaning of the words in the scripture verse. I’m celibate so I don’t think I have to worry about the sexual immorality charge but I am covetous because I envy those who own their own homes and wish I had one myself. I don’t think I’m an idolator but I might be because God isn’t always front and centre in my life. When I looked up the meaning of reviler, however, I came undone.

“A reviler is a person who uses words to damage, control, or insult someone‚Äôs character or reputation. Today we would call a reviler a verbal abuser. Reviler is a multi-purpose word that is used in the Bible to describe all manner of verbal sin, such as slander, angry outbursts, and foul language.” Link

I’m a reviler!

I’m always so negative and critical of others. I try not to be but I watch TV and hear myself criticising people non-stop for everything from what they are wearing to how they speak or even the shape of their ears. Just a never ending stream of stupid criticisms. I swear too. I swear so much someone once said walking into a room with me in it was like walking into a public bar!

Something else to add to the prayer list. I found a scripture for it and I’m trying to memorise it.

Psalm 141:3 – “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

I’m a work in progress but God has brought me this far and I know He will help me with these things too.

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