Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
As a child, I learned to pray by reciting bedtime prayers like, “Now I lay me down to sleep” and the classic mealtime prayer that begins with, “God is great, God is good”. As I got a little older I began tacking a few things onto the end of my bedtime prayer and sometimes drifted off to sleep before or after I had finished my list. As I learned more about prayer, I prayed with more originality. Sometimes I sang my prayers and some of my prayers turned into songs.
I think it’s good to be creative. There are lots of ways to pray. Some prayers I pray are still pretty standard, depending on the occasion, but throughout my day when I have the liberty, I like to talk to God at length about the things that are on my mind. A lot of my prayers are an ongoing dialog with God. At times, I might be focused on something in particular that someone has asked me to pray for. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I will dwell on that as much as possible. Other times, I feel compelled to pray for my family or personal concerns.
I try to make it a point to begin my prayers with thanks and praise. It’s always good to remind ourselves of the goodness of God as we come before Him. As we speak words about the great things He has done in the past and His extraordinary qualities that enable Him to be the mighty God and the eternal Father, our faith is increased and His power is released.
Recently, I was in a time of prayer. I was past the thanks and praise part of praying and into making my requests known to God, according to Philippians 4:6, which says we shouldn’t be anxious for any reason, but instead by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make our requests known to God, and by doing so the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
I was in the process of praying for some very practical things to take place that would make life so much easier for me and my family, when I felt the Spirit of the Lord impressing something on me. I was suddenly highly conscious of the amount of time I spend praying for my own needs and the needs of others. I was instantly struck with the stark reality that I spend far more time praying for needs than I spend praying for the lost. I felt the Lord challenging me to spend the same amount of time praying for the lost as I spend praying for needs of my own and others. Equal time.
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Luke 19:10 states a sobering point. Jesus came to this world to seek and save the lost. That was His singular vision and purpose. He didn’t come to accumulate wealth or build an amazing home or even have a wife and kids. He came to seek and save the lost. Everything He did on earth advanced His purpose. He lived His life strategically in order to accomplish the will of God. He put the kingdom of God and His righteousness first as He lived His life on earth.
As I contemplated what the Spirit of God had impressed on me, the real meaning of Matthew 6:33 became crystal clear. I had the revelation that when we truly have a passion for souls, we are in perfect agreement with the heart of God. In such a state of heart and mind, everything takes on a new perspective and the things that are pressing us for attention are put in their proper place of priority.
By choosing to focus at least as much time on the lost as we focus on ourselves, we are no longer self centered or abnormally absorbed with our own issues.
In the past week or so I have seen how God is enlarging my vision as I pray for the lost. He is giving me glimpses of various kinds of lostness. He is taking my mind on trips around the world to different places where there are types of darkness I have never perceived. He has impressed on me to speak to those areas of darkness and to command His light to penetrate and His power to be released so that the Truth would be revealed and the lies could be exposed.
So much change would take place in this world if we, as the body of Christ, could get our minds on the right things.
Another revelation I have had for the past year or so is that I should spend time in prayer deliberately asking that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all flesh according to Joel 2:28. The body of Christ—the Church—who is supposed to also be the Bride of Christ is so disjointed and immature. Jesus is going to return for a Bride who is ready for the wedding. A Bride without spot or blemish. We are so far from that! If Jesus came to earth with a single purpose to seek and save the lost—shouldn’t His Bride share that same vision? Shouldn’t She be more passionate for fulfilling His desire than Her own?
Declaration: I will find new strength as I purpose in my heart to pray for the lost and have a passion for souls.
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