by Aaron More - I remember as a youth pastor after preaching a message a young man responded to the altar call. When I approached him, he asked if I could pray for his anger. I think both of us were surprised when I instinctively responded no. You may wonder what kind of pastor declines the opportunity to pray for someone. This teenager had been coming to our youth ministry for a period of time and enjoyed the social aspect but was reluctant to put his faith in Christ. In this instance I decided a follow up conversation was going to be more beneficial than saying a prayer.
As we talked, I advised him that if he wanted the Christian response to his anger, the starting point for that was committing his life to Christ. After that we could look at options like counsel, prayer, and other strategies. In this case he wasn’t yet ready to make that decision, so I offered to continue with him on his faith journey and to see if we could get him some other help with regards to his anger.
I have often thought about this experience in regard to my own prayer journey with the Lord. I need to be careful to pray in such a way that I am open to answers coming through me and not just to me. With all the challenges going on in our world I believe the Lord is calling His church to seek Him in prayer like never before. As we pray, we will find that sometimes He changes circumstances and sometimes He changes us so we can change circumstances.
In Matthew chapter 9, Jesus has an interesting interaction with the disciples. He tells them the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few and asks them to pray that the Lord would send fourth labourers into to the harvest. You have to assume the disciples obeyed and went and prayed that people would be sent fourth. The next thing that happens at the start of Matthew chapter 10 is that Jesus commissions the disciples and sends them fourth. They literally became the answer to their own prayers. In the place of prayer they moved from contending for breakthrough, to being commissioned with breakthrough.
I want you to think of a concerning situation in your family, workplace or neighbourhood. Now I want you to think of how the Lord may want to work in you so the fruit of His Spirit in you would be part of the solution to that problem. For example if your problem is a negative work environment, you may ask the Lord to give you a gift of encouragement. If it is broken family relationships, you may ask Him to help you be a peacemaker.
May you be graced to pray prayers that see amazing answers come to you and also answers that come through you!
“Prayer does change things, all kinds of things. But the most important thing it changes is us. As we engage in this communion with God more deeply and come to know the One with whom we are speaking more intimately, that growing knowledge of God reveals to us all the more brilliantly who we are and our need to change in conformity to Him. Prayer changes us profoundly.” – RC Sproul
Aaron More is the Senior Pastor at Alexandra Elim Church and a Parenting Coach in Alexandra. He’s been involved with PK as a speaker and as the leader of PK Transition events.