Prayer is powerful. In other words, there’s great power in conversation with our Heavenly Father. However, prayer is not to be entered into vicariously or without careful thought and consideration. As I mentioned in a previous post; the perfect prayer is silence in His presence. To sit quietly waiting for Him to speak to us with guidance and direction for our daily lives requires courage and confidence in the One with whom we are in relationship.
The same is true when we seek others to join us in prayer. I shutter when I see folks on social media asking for prayer from others who while in our “friends” list or a group member – are virtually unknown to us personally or spiritually. If we don’t know them personally and have a handle on their spiritual maturity; asking them to pray with and for us can be dangerous to say the least!
Some years ago, I was a member of a well-known international ministry (now defunct). The group met monthly, had a speaker and prayer at the close of the meeting. One evening, I engaged the speaker in considerable dialog because my spiritual ‘gut’ told me he was off base on a number of issues. When it came time for individual and small group prayer; a woman asked to lay hands on me and “pray for me”. She decided I needed prayer because I challenged the chosen speaker. On the other hand, I discerned she was not emotionally stable and had no intention of letting her pray for me – let alone lay hands on me. Needless to say, when I refused her offer, she ran from the room with great flourish and a flood of tears.
Fortunately, my spiritual mentor at the time was present and confirmed my decision. He assured the others that I knew what I was doing and had followed the Lord’s direction in the matter. It was my first encounter with the potential of prayer in the hands of the wrong folks – hands that would do more damage than good.
In the ensuing years, I have learned to exercise considerable caution when asking others to pray for me or about a situation near and dear to me.
I watched as a former mentor prayed amiss over my dear spiritual sister who was dying of liver cancer. The woman assured my friend that “by His strips you are healed”. Fortunately, Joyce was savvy enough to know that the healing of which the Lord spoke was spiritual and not always physical. The mentor smugly left the room assured that Joyce would not die. However, a few hours later, my dear friend departed earth for a heavenly realm where there was no more pain and suffering! The last moments I had with her included a wink and a nod that said – “I’m not going to die – I’m just going to a new and magnificent existence out of this world!“
Scripture tells us that we can pray amiss. We can pray from our human understanding rather than seeking the Will of the Father in any life matter. His ways are so much higher than ours and often out of our limited human comprehension. It serves us well – and those we hold dear – to enter the prayer closet with assurance that He’ll lead us to pray properly as He directs us to do. That way, we pray in His Will – not our own!
So this brings us to asking others to pray for us. If I know you and know your spiritual maturity is solid; then to ask you to join me in prayer is a safe way to go. But if I don’t – then I must lean on the art of discernment to tell me if I can count on you to pray in His Will – not your own.
Discernment is the “faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding“. It’s deep insight and wisdom that I call “gut level knowledge“. As my spiritual director said time and time again; it’s knowing what I know that I know. No doubt about it!
To throw out a prayer request may be like casting bread upon the water for some. But in reality, it’s risking pools that may be more cesspools than fresh, clean clear water. Says nothing about a person’s spiritual health and well being and everything about their maturity in praying the Will of the Father.
We make assumptions that everyone who says “I’m a Christian” is adequately prepared to pray – for self and others. Nothing is further from the truth. Maturity in prayer is learned over time and at the direction of the Lord and the circumstances He permits in our lives. We learn to pray through adversity more than when times are hunky-dory. I had to learn that silence in His presence was actually what He wanted – and to be obedient was to shut my mouth! It was years before He drew me into that knowledge and wisdom.
Bottom line! As a believer, choose with great caution those who will pray for you and any life situation. Know them – and know them well. Know their level of spiritual maturity. Know if they walk the walk or simply talk the talk. Know if they are basically emotionally healthy folks – personally and spiritually. Let your spiritual ‘gut’ give you that kind of wisdom. You’ll know if they are, or are not, folks you trust to enter a prayer closet on your behalf!
One last thing. While it’s tempting to ask our social media “friends” and group members to pray for us; I suggest it may not be the best choice to make. Turn to those with whom you are more intimately acquainted to join you in conversation with PAPA.
In the long run, it’s better to error on the side of caution than to throw caution to the wind! Your life and that of others may depend on it!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]