Welcome to our annual Prayer Series! This year, Val’s expanding on each of the different prompts that you’ll find in our prayer journal. No journal required to benefit from the practical tips you’ll find here, but if you’d like to check out our 2019 Prayer Journal Collection, click here!
By a show of hands, how many of you have a family member who could REALLY benefit from your wise counsel? 🙋I think we all have one. We all have that person who’s living their own life – in our not-so-humble opinion – the wrong way. The nerve.
I can tell you from first-hand experience, that it’s easy to feel responsible for every choice someone makes. We feel like we are failing them and disobeying God by letting things happen that we don’t agree with.
What are we left to do with that? Here are four tips:
1. Pray for what you think they need in a surrendered way.
God wants our honest to goodness thoughts. That’s the only way we can have a real relationship with Him. If we only say what we think He wants to hear, we’re just kind of being phonies. Tell Him how you feel but tell Him with the knowledge that you know you don’t know everything. Your prayer may come out like this: “God, in my head, I feel like John should make this decision with his life. I pray for him to get sober / get a job / reconcile with his wife – but what might seem obvious to me, I surrender right now knowing that your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Your will would be done.”
2. Ask God to give you eyes to see the real need.
It can be easy to pray for what we think someone needs when really, that’s just a result of a bigger problem. One of my favorite movies When Harry Met Sally has surprisingly wise input from Harry’s best friend. Harry’s wife just left him for another man and his best friend Jess says “Marriages don’t break up on account of infidelity. It’s just a symptom that something else is wrong.” I can’t imagine what could happen when we started asking God to help us see the underlying need and then started praying for that thing instead of just the symptom.
3. Ask them what they need.
On the flip side, we can assume someone needs something and never know what they are struggling with personally. In a world where we can isolate from each other and see marriages we thought were strong fall apart or seemingly happy people take their own life, we’ve got to get in there and ask real questions. Ask people directly what they need without assuming we know from the outside looking in. This is easier said than done. Maybe you are praying for people that don’t even know you are praying for them. I get it. I have some of those too. But I’d challenge you as you fill out your Family section this month to be bold and ask. Trust the Lord to go before you in that conversation and pray for the response ahead of time.
4. Pray for wisdom to know if and when to speak.
Sometimes, God calls us to speak up and sometimes, He calls us to keep quiet. If we are to speak, we cannot do so without the Lord going before us. We cannot trust our own words to pierce the hurting or stubborn heart of someone we love. Pray for the Lord to silence your words if it’s not the right time. Pray that if you are to speak, that He would open the door clearly and that you would bravely step through. Pray for compassion to hear them speak instead of a resolve that you already know what is needed. Pray that you would be able to really listen. Pray for God’s words to flow through you and for your loved one’s heart to be soft to what you have to say. Pray for peace no matter the outcome and for managed expectations so you don’t assume that one conversation will solve it all.
I am no relationship expert. Like, at all. I’m an introvert. I am a to-do expert, but people expert? Hardly. But I do know this, any time two humans are rubbing up against each other, we’re gonna get caught on something, we’re gonna get bruised. It is only by the grace of God that our relationships can flourish and glorify Him. I see prayer as the incredible avenue that God gives us to take our unedited thoughts of others and filter them so that all that remains is grace, love encouragement and understanding.
Have a relationship that’s been a struggle to walk in lately? How can prayer change things?
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Thank you for this , I can relate
We always think we know but God knows better
I have been praying for over a decade for my dad to get sober & get his life back on track, for God to change his heart & mind – I’m getting married in less than 2 months and found out a few weeks ago he’s in jail. In your sample prayer “…but what might seem obvious to me, I surrender right now knowing that your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Your will would be done.” was a reminder to surrender – to know that ultimately God is in control my dad might not get sober on this earth but I do know that he is a christian and in heaven he will find peace.