Major changes have happened in my prayer life within the past few months. I must have been praying for over 200 people daily, because when I dropped 100 people, I still had over 100 people left. My prayer life constantly changes and expands. So how did I have the audacity to unplug 100 people from my prayers without sinning? I knew that without God’s permission I would be negatively affecting many people’s lives, since I am certain that prayer is powerful. My heart is fully engaged when I pray, making my prayers emotionally depleting at times. But I see God at work in people’s lives, and I deeply care and rejoice in their spiritual growth. It matters more to me than I ever dreamed would be possible.
As I met with a couple who were elders at our previous church, I felt God giving me permission to transfer the huge prayer burden I had for the church over to the elder’s wife, since God was moving us to a new church. I let her know that I was praying for 100 people at that church daily, and that I would no longer be doing so. I said to her, “You always said I put you to shame in the area of prayer, and that you needed to be a better prayer warrior. You are now responsible before God to pray for these people, because God is releasing me from it. I have wept as I have prayed for the members of our church, and I know intricately what their struggles are. I can’t tell you because it would be a breach of trust, but please ask God how to pray for these people. God will show you how.”
At first I felt disoriented as I prayed my daily prayers. The anvil that I felt was gone. I had margin. Yes, margin is free space, and when it applies to prayer, it enables me to hear God better. I was able to open my heart to God and be silent for longer stretches of time. It was so peaceful and refreshing. I had forgotten how wonderful it was to just be silent in the presence of God.
God restructured my prayers. I pray visually, and I used to pray for people in a certain order so as not to forget them. I felt that God was shaking out my prayers like a dusty rug. The people from church were interconnected with other people I prayed for. There was no way I could pray in the same order. My prayers were an abrupt staccato. I finally dropped the entire structure and asked God who to pray for from scratch. You see, there had been some people that I had prayed for daily for over five years, and I had never even met them. For example, a woman had called me five years ago to buy something I was selling on Craig’s List. Suddenly she was telling me about her marriage being on the rocks, and I was counseling her. I must have been on the phone with her for an hour. She was going through a very painful time that was similar to something God had just brought me through. The Holy Spirit was all over that phone call, and when I hung up the phone, I committed to praying for her.
I told my husband that I have never met this woman and have prayed faithfully for her for five years. How was I supposed to know if she and her husband were praising God for their handicapped child, or if their marriage was healed? What if God had answered me a couple of years ago, and I’m just praying words that have already been accomplished? There was no way for me to fine tune my prayers for this woman. I finally asked God if I could drop her, and the answer was yes.
I’m still learning and growing in the area of prayer, as I hope I always will. It is something organic, almost with a life of its own. And as I open my heart to people from my new church, I know that God will be laying them on my heart to fold into my prayers. Until then, my prayers are more free-form, and I will enjoy the margin.Tweet