Saturday, February 28, 2009

Broken Appliances and the Kingdom of God

After sinking more than $300 into a malfunctioning dryer and rearranging my work schedule four times to meet the repairman, I asked intercessors to pray for a healing miracle for my ornery appliance. I was frustrated, sick of soggy clothes, and my checkbook was smarting. I knew it wasn’t much of a “kingdom” prayer request, but I needed my dryer to work and I sure couldn’t make that happen for myself.

When I emailed a friend for prayer, I added that I was missing my late husband, who had always handled such things. What she prayed in response to my very immediate, temporal, self-interested (but necessary) request floored me. She asked God to be a husband to me. The Holy Spirit had shown her that my greater need--and God’s deep desire--was for me to feel that He cherished me and would care for me as my loving spouse. My friend took my “little answerable” and turned it into a “Thy kingdom come” request that invited God to reign in my heart in ways I deeply needed that day.

My experience illustrates an important prayer principle that brings life, depth, and eternity to our intercession: God wants to reign in our lives and world. So when we pray, we should view our needs and desires within the perspective of His desire--and right--to rule on earth as He does in heaven. The Holy Spirit helps us discern God’s heart as we pray, but here are some examples of what asking Him to reign might look like.

A friend’s daughter is failing her classes. You pray for her to study hard and earn better grades. But what about also asking God to develop her spiritual gifts and passions? Then ask Him to provide all her needs to prepare her to appropriate them in His kingdom.
Your church struggles to pay its mortgage, so you pray that giving will increase. But as you listen for His desires, you realize God is calling you to seek the priorities of His kingdom first (which go beyond paying bills) and depend on Him more radically. So you pray that way.

You’re facing a big presentation at work, so you pray for good ideas, sound preparation, and effective communication. As you consider how God wants to reign in the situation, a particular colleague comes to mind. He’ll be at the meeting, so you ask God to deepen your relationship with him in ways that will advance His kingdom in your colleague’s life.

I still don’t know what will become of my dryer. But my friend’s kingdom prayer did something for my heart that a functioning dryer could never accomplish.
How about you?

What “little answerables” can you expand into prayers that invite God to reign in your world?

by Cynthia Bezek, editor of Pray!

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