Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Partnering in Prayer - A Lenten Devotion - Day 22 - Great Expectations

Day 22 – Wednesday
Great Expectations

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV).

By now, we’re about halfway through Lent—halfway through our covenanted time to pray together for one hour a day. How are you doing? Have you been successful every day? Congratulations! Have you failed a few times, but dusted yourself off and gotten back on the prayer saddle? Great job! Have you grown closer to God? How could you not? In fact, I’ll guess that you’ve gotten so much closer to God that you have a keen desire to see others share in the same experience. You’ve begun to pray in a whole new way, and can’t imagine how you ever went without it.

Maybe you have some Christian friends who you’d like to see experience God in a deeper way. You have a deep longing for them to know the prayer experience you’ve known, but they just don’t seem to give prayer the same priority that you’ve given it lately. You have great expectations of what God can do in your life through prayer, and great expectations of what He can do in your friends’ lives as well, if only they’d “get on board.”

Perhaps you’re frustrated because the people in your own household have watched as you’ve committed yourself to an hour of prayer a day. You haven’t hidden your devotion time from them (see Day 11 – Praying in Public). You’ve talked about how your relationship with God is growing. But your family members just don’t get it. You’d like to see them grow in their faith, but you can’t make it happen for them. What are you going to do?

If your spouse is not an unbeliever, I suggest you follow this link to John MacArthur’s study on How to Win an Unbelieving Spouse. Here’s another link to a similar message, also by John MacArthur.

If your family members are believers, but just don’t have the same passion for prayer that you have, then I suggest the same approach. Don’t preach at them. Don’t be self-righteous about your spirituality. Don’t be showy or pushy about prayer. Do encourage them with all humility. Do trust God that they will come around, in His timing (rather than yours). Do pray for them, and (only occasionally) let them know it. Harvests come in their season and so does the harvest of spiritual growth that you long to see in those you love. Your job is to remain faithful, and to trust God that He is more faithful than you can ever be.

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