Tag Archives: Intercession

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Why Pray?

As we commence our 40-days of prayer and fasting next Wednesday on October 11th, I pose the question: why pray more? Let me count the ways.

First, we are continually knifed by the jagged world and jagged worldly people who we love so much we hate them. Instead of dulling ourselves by any number of drugs, prayer invites us into the presence of God who always asks: ‘Where is your heart?’ Frankly, I often don’t want to know. I want drugs! But more than drugs, I want peace, real peace that runs like a stream underneath my touchy self and wells up as I quiet my heart, feel the pain, and begin to allow living water to help me unload any number of conflicts I processed poorly in the hurried hours.

Second, prayer heals us. We pray more because the world isn’t getting any better for us and we are not getting any better in facing its demands. The cure? More prayer, which is the way we unite with the One who loves us more than we love Him and who through Jesus surrounds and confirms us as beloved sons and daughters who need help. I pray because I need help. Always. I cannot say ‘yes’ to His will today without Him. I am His and I want His will to be mine. In prayer I re-up by fixing the eyes of my heart straight on Him who gave all to gain me.

Third, prayer softens our hearts. Only Jesus makes me cry. It’s a good cry, born of gratitude for His self-giving, which frees me to release the everyday grief over the truth that I have little or no control over things in my life. My certainty is Him. I am being weaned off the world and secured in Him.

Fourth, prayer primes us to intercede for the hard-hearted. ‘I weep because you don’t’, said St. Jean Vianney but we can do our part. We cry out to the Father on behalf of loved ones, certain that as the good Shepherd left good sheep behind to rescue us He will do the same for them (LK 15:3-7). Remembering His generosity toward us inspires gratitude which fuels our eloquent petitions: ‘Get him (or her) God!’ We must persist like one who pounded on the judge’s door til the old crank got up and acted rightly (LK 18: 2-8). The logic is sure—if a divided man arose for her, how much more will Almighty God?

Fifth, prayer prepares us to answer our prayers or someone else’s. As we welcome His generous love afresh and pray for that generosity to lance our beloved’s heart, we are primed to make Jesus known however and to whomever He wills. I love being an answer to another’s prayer! How can we not spill onto another if we have been before His altar where living waters are ever-rising (Ez. 47)? Declare Him or burst (Jer. 20:9)!

Why pray more? Prayer changes everything. Starting next Wednesday the 11th, follow the DSM staff with this prayer guide. When possible, ask a prayer partner to join you. Let’s pray together and become good news for the broken.

Join us for the ‘Becoming Good News for the Gender Challenged’ fast from Oct. 11th-Nov. 19th.

Download the Prayer Guide Below:

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Provoked

Provoked One Way Image by Matt Peoples‘You need an ideal, something that will draw you out of yourself and raise you to greater heights. But you see, there is only One; it is He, the Only Truth! …Under His gaze the horizon becomes so beautiful, so vast, and so luminous!’

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Announcing my ‘gay self’ to my mother provoked her. It drew tears, and a halting invitation for me to consider whether or not there might be more for me beyond homosexuality.

After that, my declaration provoked my mother to prayer. She knew that only God could bring me home to Himself. She talked more to Him than to me. Her tears and the sacred space she created in prayer gave me pause: ‘If I am free to be gay, then why do I feel so empty?’

Every human being is inviolable, meaning that each possesses an inner sanctum that should be treated with dignity. My mother could never know the depths of my motives and thoughts; only God could. Knowing these limits, she submitted her agenda and her anxieties to Him. She fought for my freedom on her knees, imploring the only One who could set me free.

Years later, I did the same for my son. His addictions had rendered him destitute and my eyes could see his homelessness—spiritually, emotionally, a vehicle with neither a goal nor a guide. I knew that I could not rescue him but I possessed a burning desire for God to do so. I raced to a local church where I began to bang on God’s door for Him, provoking Him and all the resources of Heaven to shine the light of Jesus’ face upon him. The Spirit provoked me and ignited my prayers.

Two passages in Luke helped me here: Luke 11: 5-13 and 18: 1-6. In the first, a man seeking bread for guests bangs on the door of an ornery miser at midnight and implores him boldly to share his wealth. The old crank relents, if only to get some sleep. The second passage describes a persistent widow seeking justice from an uncaring judge who resists her then finally helps her just to get rid of her. Scripture is clear: if even wicked men relent to the bold persistence of seekers, how much more will the perfect Father pour out His Spirit on those who ask Him?

Bold persistence in prayer reaches God’s heart. Yet keep this in mind: God will not force anyone to love Him! If He did, then our response to Him would not be a genuinely loving one. We are right to ask the Father to make His face shine on beloved ones; we are wrong to think our prayers can coerce another to come ‘home.’ Home is the freely given gift of God in Christ, manifest through His Church. He can only be freely received.

May the destitution of those we love provoke us to pray. May we who cry out be converted while we clear the way for loved ones to behold ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.’ (2Cor 4: 5)

‘Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of His little ones should be lost.’ (Matt. 18:14)    

 

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