Saturday, January 22, 2011

Prayer that changes things

Several years ago I heard about this movement of people who were creating "houses of prayer" in their neighborhoods.  The basic premise was that you could pray that from the time of Abraham, God's desire has been to bless the world through his people.  They were encouraging people to find the five neighbors that surrounded them and start praying that God would bless them in five different spheres.  If I remember correctly, those were emotional, physical, relational, spiritual, and vocational.

Over the years, I've done that a couple of different times.  I've picked a couple of people - maybe they were neighbors and maybe they were people who I worked with or went to school with, but I started praying that God would bless them in those areas.

It was amazing to see how those prayers changed things.  I didn't always see all the "blessings" that I asked for.  But I did see those people become softer toward me and toward God.  It was amazing.

I think that at first, it really changed the way I viewed them.  I believe I became more interested in what they were saying.  I remembered what they'd said before and could follow up on it.  I became more interested in hearing their stories and their needs.  And in turn, they became much more open to me.  They started sharing things more deeply.  Whatever friendship we had was allowed to foster because it had been nurtured.  I also noticed that many of them also had a softness toward God that they didn't before.

I still think this is a great way to be a minister or a vehicle of God's blessing and mission of reconciliation in the world.  I have met very few people who would be upset or offended to be prayed for in this way.  If you're interested in trying this out in your own life, you can get a little worksheet here that will help you to keep track of your prayers for blessings and the ways that you see God answer.

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