Tonight I had the privilege of praying with my daughter, Zoey, before bedtime. Usually her dad and I will pray, and then she will say her prayers. Lately, Zoey's prayers have evolved from a very simple, "Thank you for this day, please help school tomorrow," to a long list of praying for and thanking God for family and friends. Tonight she- on her own- prayed for each of our college interns by name...something I hadn't even done today. I am so blessed to see a heart of intercession being birthed in my 3 year old daughter, and I am challenged by her love!
As I continue on my journey being led by the Spirit and His love, I am starting to realize something about prayer. As Christians we understand the importance of prayer. It is the way that we communicate with God. Prayer allows us to "approach the throne of grace with boldness" even when we are terribly flawed human beings in the presence of a perfect God. There is power in prayer, because all power belongs to the One we pray to.
I'm afraid that many times, though, our prayer life is so devoid of love that we misuse this precious privilege we've been given. Jesus commands us to "love the Lord your God with all your heart..." and to "love your neighbor as yourself." These two commandments are absolutely inseparable. John says in 1 John 4:
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (vs. 7-8)
So our love for God becomes evident in our love for others. Want to know how much you really love God? Then ask yourself, "How much do I love others?" Do you love them so much that you pray for them? When someone has a need and you say "I'll pray for you," do you do it? Or is that just the "right answer"?
I am guilty of not praying for and not loving people the way that I should. And as I spent time repenting for this today, the Holy Spirit showed me that if I truly love, I will intercede. True love for others (and consequently, for God) births intercession. Prayer is not meant only for us to selfishly lay our needs, wants and desires before our God, but it is meant for us to selflessly intercede for the people we claim to love.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me about my commitment to pray for people today. If I am going to walk in the Spirit and live in His love, I have to be committed to intercession. Not just saying "I'll pray for you", but actually doing it. And praying the way that I would want someone to pray for me if I was lost, hurting, sick, or in need of prayer. If we have the love that the Spirit grows in our life, it will spill over into our prayer life. We will find that our prayers are less about our self and our wants, and more about others and their needs. More about salvation. More about healing. More about deliverance.
More about love.