I came across this gem today:
“Help me, merciful High Priest,
to pray for those who have met with accident and sudden sorrow;
for those who are passing through fires,
that they may not be burned;
for those who are wading in deep waters,
that they may not be swept down;
for those who are surrounded by enemies,
that they may not be overpowered;
for those who are lonely, and desolate, and forlorn,
that they may not lose heart.” – F. B. Meyer
Funny how prayer is often the thing we do last. We say, “Well, I’ve done everything I can…now all I can do is pray.” We are forgetting, or perhaps not knowledgeable enough, regarding omnipotent, omniscient God. Convicting? It is to me, too.
So what about that “difficult” person. The person who will not be reconciled, the person who pushes our buttons without even being in our presence, the person for whom we cannot pray without it turning into a catalog of their offenses toward us, stirring up unrest rather than peace? What do we do then?
We pray scripture. Like this:
…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:17-23 ESV)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)
If you cannot pray silently without the grocery list rearing its ugly head , then pray these prayers out loud. I do not buy the ploy of modern psychology regarding “venting”…it is not healthy, only serving to further ingrain the hurt and bitterness. Rehearsing the hurts also can further convince us of our own feelings (upon which we are far too prone to lean), which very often skew the truth, if not completely perverting it. There is a reason we’re told not to lean upon our own understanding, and are given a snap shot of our hearts as being sick and corrupt. They are. When emotions run high, we need truth…not “feelings.”
Prayer is as much about God’s work in your heart (humbling you, and cultivating an others-centered, self-denying heart) as it is about the person for whom you are praying, and the things you are praying for them. As we pray for others, we’re very often reminded that the faults of that person are the same faults we contend with ourselves. God can grow pity and mercy in our hearts, and a compassion toward others which allows us to view them no longer as enemies, but as fellow (albeit flawed, as we are) soldiers, with whom we desperately need to lock shields if anyone involved is going to see victory in this spiritual battle. We’re stronger together. The divisions must end.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV)
Pray. And you may be asking yourself, “Is it possible…could I be the ‘difficult person’ someone else is praying for?” Well, yes, it may be profitable to keep that option open and pray the above for yourself as well. 😉 Me too.
ps I’ve recommended this resource before, and I’m sure I will again. Reconciliation involves biblical choices on the part of everyone involved. The book “Choosing Forgiveness” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, addresses this thoroughly and effectively. Click here for more information.