Over the last couple of years, I have changed my way of praying. Again, I count this to my general slowness in learning some things. (Why does it take so long for things to sink in? I hope I’m not the only one that feels this way from time to time.)
I used to pray for things in my life. Desires. Wishes. Things I was struggling with. I prayed that my dad would stop drinking. I prayed that a relationship would work out. I prayed that people who were treating me bad would treat me good. I prayed for understanding. I prayed for patience.
See the theme there? I prayed for me. I prayed for others, too, but the majority of it was me, or at least in relation to me.
I hear this from people sometimes, too. They pray for others, but only as it relates to them. As in, I prayed that she would come around to my way of thinking. That’s not a prayer for her, but a prayer for you. Or, I prayed that he would stop doing X. Usually, even this is a prayer for you, especially if X is something you desire for your own purposes.
But what if you prayed for people to be what God wanted them to be? What if you prayed that He answer their prayers, or lift them up?
I pray like this now, but wow, sometimes it’s hard, especially when the people are giving me a hard time. It’s hard to pray for someone that is being mean to you. It’s really really hard to pray for someone to be lifted up when all they have done is hurt you. I struggle with this. My first inclination at times is to pray for my own hurts first. But I’m trying to change.
One thing that has helped is that I volunteered to be part of a prayer team at church. When all you’re doing is praying for others, it’s good. It changes your own prayers. Praying the prayers of others helps you put them first, and in return you put things in perspective. In praying for others in this way, my conversations with God have changed.
How can you pray for others more often? I know people that have a prayer journal. They jot down what they want to pray about so they don’t forget. I know folks that write down their list of prayers each day, and then check them off as they pray them. Some people stop each time they hear of something and pray about it on the spot.
Whatever works for you. Do it. See if it changes the way you see people, and how you feel about your life.