I am guilty of projecting my wishes and my expectations onto others. Sometimes I do this when praying for others. It is not that this is inherently selfish. Our wishes for and our expectations of others are often altruistic.
But, prayer founded on what we think somebody needs presumes that we know what somebody needs. It presumes that our expectations are what somebody is supposed to be. It presumes that my wishes are the best for that person.
The reality that we can communicate with our Lord is a gift. Equally as extraordinary, is the power to communicate with God on behalf of others. But, this intercessory power is multiplied when it is in agreement with Christ’s plan, Christ’s expectations, and Christ’s best for whom we are interceding.
If God wants our best and living in His will is the best, if I want the best for whom I am praying, then my intercession is truest when I am in agreement with Christ.
Perhaps this is already how you pray for others. I am learning. And in this learning, the Lord challenges me to abandon my expectations of others in lieu of the Lord’s expectations. And in claiming Christ’s expectations of others, the Lord helps me become selfless. My expectations of others are generally tied to my personal fulfillment—even if it is a subconscious personal fulfillment. Were I to wholly segregate my prayers for others from myself, I still would be biased because I am human.
But, when we intercede in prayer for others through agreement with Christ, it is the Lord who is then interceding. And nothing is more powerful than that. And it is the most selfless prayer we can pray.
Sometimes agreement means the Spirit prompts me to pray a particular prayer for a particular person. Sometimes agreement means I pray a prayer premised on God’s Word for another. God’s promises are a certain way to be in agreement with God. Lately, agreement means being in God’s presence in an attitude of agreement about whom I am praying.
What a relief that we do not have to do anything—that we can say we agree, Lord, with what You are doing for whom we are praying. Praise the Lord that we do not have to know what to pray. Praise You, Lord, that in setting others free from our expectations, You set us free from selfishness. Praise You, Lord, that You are what is best and that we can fully rely on You to accomplish that best in others’ lives.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. . . .” (Colossians 1:9 NIV).
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have that we asked of him.” (1 John 4:14,15 NIV).
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26,27 NIV).
For those feeling gutsy, add a smidgen of this to your usual pot of coffee.
But, don’t you come crying to me when you lose friends because they have grown weary of your coffee buzz.
Not that I know that from experience or anything.
Much love to you,