Here’s a great principle of prayer: You can do a great deal for people after you pray for them but little of lasting value until you pray for them.
I don’t think I need to argue about the value of praying for your spouse, kids, and friends. But sometimes in our busy culture it’s tough to clear your mind and get started. So let’s look to a man who knew the value of prayer. The apostle Paul begins many of his letters with a helpful pattern.
If you look at his letter to the Philippians, for instance, you’ll see it begins with a blessing of grace and peace. Grace is the reason for our salvation and peace is the result. Paul then gives thanks for the Philippian believers. Cherish the work that God’s doing in and through others. Next Paul makes requests to aid the spiritual growth of his friends. He wants them to grow in their love, knowledge, and understanding of Christ. Last, Paul prays that they’d behave in a manner that honors God in light of coming judgment. This isn’t a fear tactic but a reminder to live for the ultimate goal of heaven, not the short-term rewards of comfort and pleasure.
God loves it when we come to him in prayer. Will you select one person that God has placed on your heart, and write a prayer for them? For help, look to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Are you living with a strained relationship? Restoration of human relationships doesn’t happen instantaneously. If you’ve broken someone’s heart or trust, you have a responsibility to face your failures. And you also have the tough responsibility of avoiding the urge to blame others for the problems you’ve caused. It may take some time before you’re able to face up to your failures. Expect the process of restoration and regaining trust to take time.
The prophet Hosea was a remarkable man. He was told by God to marry a prostitute. His marriage was to be a living example to the nation of Israel of her infidelity toward God. It must have hurt Hosea deeply when his wife returned to her life of prostitution. Hosea said, ‘Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and get your wife again. Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery. For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts”. Hosea needed some time before he could be close to his wife again, for such deep restoration takes time.
It’s your responsibility to wait patiently while God helps you restore your broken relationships and the hearts you may have broken. God can give those you’ve hurt love when love has been lost; he can help you trust and become trustworthy again, but these things take time.
If you truly desire to be the person God created you to be, then you must learn to be truthful and turn away from lying. Lying can easily become a way of life. You lie to your kids to keep them from nagging. You lie to your boss to make yourself look good. You can even lie to yourself.
Are you trying to cover up your problems and pretend they don’t exist’including your problem with lying? Like it or not, you must face reality. When you do, you will see the pain caused by your lies. You’ll see how they’ve hurt you and your loved ones.
Think about these verses from First Peter and Colossians: ‘If you want a happy life and good days keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies’ (3:10). ‘Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourself with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you’ (3:9-10).
If lying is second nature to you, it may be difficult for you to change, but you must! You must learn to guard your lips and your thoughts from lies, which will hurt you as well as others. Then you can press on in your spiritual growth to be the person God created you to be.