Several years ago, I had my first book planned out in my mind. It was going to be called “God’s not getting His way enough, what are you going to do about it?” It was to be a book about intercession, Holy Spirit directed prayer for needs around the world. That subject that all Christians agree is vitally important, and they hope other people are doing it because generally we are too busy to utter much more than “God please look after my family”, as we lay down to sleep at the end of another exhausting day.
My first book is now written and published, and it is not about intercession, it is about the short life of my son. “Loving Nathan” is available on Amazon in most countries, and other book selling sites. And yet the story of my son very much includes my story about intercession. When Nathan was young, I thought I simply needed to bring him up in the ways of God and everything would fall into place. But it didn’t. Nathan was very intelligent, but he had learning difficulties. Left to his own devices, he could take an hour to change from his school clothes to his gym clothes. He could have an intelligent discussion with an adult, and yet not write more than a few words when asked to put his thoughts down on paper. And no amount of cajoling on my part could change that. I started to pray more for him.
Whilst Nathan was still living at home, or close to home, after he had graduated from school, I would spend hours walking my dog and crying out to God on Nathan’s behalf. I knew that God really loved Nathan and prayed fervently that Nathan would understand that to be true too. When he left our city and hitchhiked across the country, I found my prayers were not as desperate. The problem was no longer in my face every day, and I was not aware of his current situation. Yet I did continue to pray, particularly asking the Lord to reveal his love to Nathan. Then he drowned.
It took me a long time before I bothered to pray again. Oh, I probably shot a few quick prayers up to the Lord, but nothing more than two minutes. What was the point? God did not answer my prayers for Nathan, so what was the use in asking for anything else?
As the months, and then the years, passed, I fell back into old habits, good habits. I began to pray again. These were prayers of desperation really, a recognition that God is my only hope, and everyone else’s only hope too. My prayers were not based on trust in God, unfortunately, but rather logical thinking, that God is the only solution to so many problems. Would he answer? I did not know, but I knew nothing else was going to help, so I might as well see if God would.
Then God began to pour his love into me in a fresh way. He spoke to me, told me that I was his child. He told me what he liked about me, and how I made him smile. I always knew that my heavenly Daddy loved me, but now I know that he loves me times two! And I have a feeling that the more time I spend with him the more likely that soon enough I will be aware that he loves me times three!
When you know that someone loves you, you tend to want to please that person. I most definitely want to please my heavenly Daddy! There are many ways that I can please him, and one of those ways is through intercession. It has always been easy to pray for those close to me, but it takes more effort to pray for those who I do not know. But that pleases God. And I am thrilled to be able to please my heavenly Daddy!
I am starting small. A few minutes every day. And no condemnation if I miss a day. It may not be much, and I am open to increasing the time, but not too much too soon. And I would love to encourage you, if you don’t already pray for those outside your immediate circle, to begin to do so. Pray for your leaders, pray for the leaders of other countries, pray for countries that need to experience more of God’s love. Ask the Lord to put a burden on your heart. He will answer that prayer.
2 thoughts on “Learning to pray again”
Mary, thanks again for sharing in such a vulnerable and clear way. I love the title of your next book God is not getting his way enough, what are you going to do about it? Awesome It brought me back to what Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding Califorania has written in the interactive manual to his book GOD IS GOOD-MUCH BETTER THAN YOU THINK.
Here is a prayer of consecration that Bill encourages us to pray:
Father in heaven, I praise you. I honour and awe your Name.
Your Name is Holy. You are God of Heaven and I worship You.
I say “YES“ to the charge to see Your Kingdom come, Your rule and reign advanced, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Show me how to think from Heaven’s perspective so I can release Heaven’s solutions.
Help me to see and live from Heaven to earth, so that earth can look more like Heaven.
And Your dream, God, is fulfilled.
Your dream of seeing the nations receive Your Son and experience the transformation You’ve made available.
Start with me, Lord. Right here, right where You’ve positioned me.
Thanks for sharing the importance of intercession Mary. It is so gratifying to open up and pray outside our own circles. It is also our only hope for our lost and hurting world.