Friday, September 7, 2018

Praying For Folks Who Are On My Last Nerve

Lately, I keep feeling compelled to pray for people I'm having issues with.

Praying for people I'm doing great with is so easy! I like people, and I enjoy praying for God to intervene in their lives.

But when I'm not doing well with folks - when we've had a falling out or when I'm annoyed with people - well, to be honest here, I would rather complain and distance myself from those who are stressing me out. Granted, this plan doesn't accomplish anything good or helpful; i's just been my pattern. Just being real here.

But recently, when I'm about to launch into a tirade, I feel this little nudge in my spirit to shut off the complaints and start praying. I've learned enough about obedience to know that I should listen. So I start praying. Today God nudged me to pray for someone I’m mad at. So I asked God what I should pray for? “I guess fire and brimstone are off the table?” I didn’t hear any laughter.

There is nothing holy in these stingy but obedient prayers of mine.  There is a lot of "Lord, you know that girl is making me crazy, and I need to you fix her! She has lost her ever loving mind! Please do something about that! Amen." About 60 seconds into a prayer like that I start to feel convicted of my judgmental attitude - God is sneaky like that, convicting me in the middle of praying for someone else.

So my prayer shifts a little bit: "Lord, maybe she's acting like a crazy person because she's going through something hard. Please help her with the hard thing and then please cure her crazy. Amen." About then, when I'm feeling pretty proud of myself for being so "others-focused" I feel a spiritual tap on the shoulder that isn't a recognition of a job well done. I know He wants me from me. Ugh. Fine.

Now, with a heavy sigh and slumped shoulders in recognition of where God wanted me to end up, I sound more like this: "Lord, please be with my friend. If she has a need, please meet it. If she has a hurt, please heal it. And Lord, if you want to use me to bless her, please soften my heart and show me what you need me to do. And Lord, please forgive my pride and judgmental attitude. I'm a hot mess. I know it, and you know it. I just lose sight of it from time to time when I get caught up pointing out other people's issues. Please forgive me and keep working on me. Thanks, God. Amen."

I wish I could say that it only takes one cycle through this lesson for me to fully learn it. I'm guessing God would prefer it that way too. But I'm a tough nut to crack. God has had to walk me through this lesson multiple times in the last few weeks. I think the process might be going quicker, which is a sign that I am starting to get the hang of it, but I have certainly not "arrived". I'm so thankful that God doesn't give up on us!!

It's a good and loving God who is patient with our weaknesses and gentle with our correction. He accepts us where we are and loves us too much to let us stay there.


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