You may be familiar with Jesus’ words

in Matthew 22:37-39,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Believe it or not, that’s actually the passage that came to my mind as I reflected on my prayer life. A healthy spiritual life requires an active, healthy prayer life. But somewhere along the way, while active, my prayer life became a little unhealthy.

Maybe you can relate to this. As I thought about what and who I spent the most time praying for, I realized that I had made it all about me. I prayed for ways I wanted God to move in my life. For things I wanted to see happen in my life. If the prayer wasn’t specifically about me, it was about something or someone that impacted me in some way. And then if I had time or energy at the end, I would pray for others.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t pray for things in your own life. Jesus says in Matthew 7:7,

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

It’s just that I realized my prayer life had become all about me. If you and I want to grow deeper in our relationship with God and our love for others, I believe much of that will begin in prayer.

Paul tells us in Philippians 2:3,

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

In 2021, I’ve learned that as I intentionally pray for others more often, my relationships have become stronger and more meaningful. It’s helped me to live a more connected life, because God brings people to my mind, and shows me ways I can walk through life with them.
Prayer is powerful.
You may feel helpless when you hear of a situation a friend or loved one is walking through and wish you could to more to help than just pray. But the truth is, praying is the best thing you and I can do for others. Assuming we do it.

So will you join me? If you don’t know where to start, choose a friend, co-worker, family member, even one of our nation’s leaders, and commit to praying for that person at least once a day. I’m confident God will use that to help shape your heart to be for that person, just as God is for you.

Know that I am praying for you too, as I write this. May God give us both the strength and discipline to develop better prayer habits in February and moving forward.

Billy P.

Children’s Ministry Director