When you pray for someone, do you pray from guilt or heart? Before you answer that question, let me give you an example. Over the years, I’ve received many prayer request by email. I would like to say I’ve prayed for all of them, but I’m human, and from time to time I would file them away to pray over them later in the day, and then forget. I guess that’s the cost of being human. I’m happy to say that is a pattern of the past.
Anyway, there was a time, many years ago that I would get a prayer request and then pray over them out of a sense of guilt. I thought first to myself, “If I don’t lift up a fast prayer, I’m a bad person.” I would then pray a very brief prayer without much thought and purpose. I would then go on with my day and the guilty feeling of praying a hurried prayer would soon fade away.
As you might expect, God wasn’t going to let me cheat myself and the other person out of the blessing and privilege of praying with a slow heart. We are not called to pray with a fast heart. We are called to pray with a slow heart. A quick praying heart is one that is usually grounded in guilt. On the other hand, a slow praying heart is grounded in caring more about others, than for yourself.
God helped me to see that when I pray fast, I’m missing the virtue of love. We are called to treat and care for others as we would like to be treated and cared for. Anything less is cheating everyone involved and most importantly missing the honor of God working through you. I’m happy to say that I now pray slowly, and it has changed my life. I take time to pray over the prayer need like it is my very own need.
Praying slowly for others is a great privilege. Take a moment and honestly think about that today. God is watching you as an audience of one, and when you pray slowly for others, you warm His heart. We have the greatest example of prayer if we just look to Jesus. Jesus looked beyond His own needs, suffering and pain on the cross and directed prayer over the crowd that day and beyond.
He abounded self-concern for the eternal consideration of others and prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” How can we do anything less?
I ask you one finally time. Do you pray with a slow heart?