I’ve been stressed lately. Really stressed. The air around me feels tense, the ground uneven, the future highly uncertain. Watching the news can send my blood pressure skyrocketing. I find myself seeking respite in Little House On The Prairie reruns just to take my mind off of everything that is swirling around me.
Because my inner wellbeing is a high priority for me, I can tell when something tips me off balance. I don’t like this place. I don’t like the agitation, the irritability. I don’t like the anger that stews inside as I read through social media posts or supposed news articles. It makes me not “me.”
I think most of us feel this way at times. In different ways, for different reasons, we all can feel the hurt, the overwhelm, the despair that life can measure out with equal parts liberality and impunity. We have each at some point been backed into the corner of heartache and left wondering where we go to find healing? Where can we turn to find relief? Is there any hope that there is something to bind up what is so terribly broken between us as friends, neighbors, communities, and as a nation?
I don’t know. What I do know is that I cannot live in this kind of distress. I cannot live in this anxious unpeace, in the absence of my calm, present strength. This kind of muffled chaos takes too great a toll on my heart and keeps me from being who God created me to be, from fulfilling what God purposed in me. From my desperate need for peace.
So if I’m honest, whether it is in relationships, in business, in seasons of political tumult, I have found only one remedy to keep my sanity. One prescription that prevents the callouses from thickening around the edges of my heart and planting bitter seeds of rage deep in the bottom of my soul.
I pray for the person who hurt me, who abandoned me in my time of need. I pray for the ones who offered shame in my distress and judgment in my brokenness. I pray for people who sometimes feel so foreign I can barely comprehend how we landed on this planet together. I pray for the angry who spew hatred everywhere. I pray for them. I call them by name.
For leaders I cannot understand and should not trust, for coworkers, for friends and enemies alike. I pray.
There is power that comes from the prayer of blessing.
I pray that they would have a life-altering, life-giving encounter with the cross of Jesus Christ, from whom ALL blessings flow. I pray that God Almighty would bless them beyond measure. I pray that He would cover them, anoint them, that He would multiply Heaven’s bounty in their lives. I pray for their children and their children’s children. That they would know they are loved. That they would know their worth, their value, that God would call them and use them for His purposes; that they would discover their unique calling and walk in it. I pray that they would be blessed and that God would fulfill His purposes for their lives. I pray that the heavens would open up, that their barns would be full and their hearts be rich. I pray that goodness, compassion, and kindness follow them in their work, their homes, and their lives.
How can this be, Lisa? you may ask. How can you pray blessing over someone who has abused you, grieved you, called you every name to mock and belittle you and your faith?
I pray, because it is in prayer, blessing in particular, that I am blessed. Prayer keeps the stain of resentment from searing itself to my heart. It is prayer that quells my disquieted and unsettled spirit. It is prayer that connects me to my friend, my spouse, my sibling, my neighbor and keeps us working together instead of prying us apart in disillusionment, hurt, and regret.
I pray because praying blessing connects me to myself and frees me to be “me.” Prayer allows me to live out my truest identity, my Belovedness. Praying blessing strengthens my soul spaces, multiplying my reservoir of compassion, of humility, of love. I pray because prayer releases me from any chains of offense, of hatred, or unforgiveness. Yes, unforgiveness.
Prayer releases me from any chains of offense, of hatred, or unforgiveness.Click To Tweet
More than anything, praying blessing connects me to my Abba, Father. It releases to Him all that straps me to this world of hurt and misunderstanding. Prayer surrenders all the things I cannot understand, much less control. It reminds me of what I hold dear, what not to lose sight of, and what just a little grace can do for a broken, sullied spirit.
In prayer I am set free.
In prayer I am set free.Click To Tweet
I wonder what might happen if we all, instead of posting our diatribes on Facebook in defense of a post we don’t like, prayed blessing over the person who posted? I wonder what our relationships could look like if we began praying blessing over our loved ones, even those with whom we may disagree? I wonder if somehow some of this bitter pill we’ve all been swallowing would ease a little and we could feel more like friends rather than foes. I’m tired of seeing others as foes. Are you?
Who do you need to pray blessing over today? Where are the stress points in your life and in your relationships? What obstacle stands in the way of prayer?
If you want to know more about prayer, my friend, Carolyn Dale Newell, has just written an exceptional devotional, “Incense Rising,” on the importance and impact of prayer. Carolyn is an amazing spirit, a talented writer, and a fellow journeyer. She has the gift of encouragement, and though she has completely lost her eyesight, she has never lost her faith.
I love this devotional because it not only teaches us about the various aspects and attitudes of prayer, it guides us through the practice of prayer and prepares us to do active, spiritual warfare on our knees. She writes about all the names of God, their history, and their meaning, so that we can begin using them to empower our prayer life. Throughout the book, she always leads us back to the Word as the source for our prayers.
No matter what situation you are in, no matter what struggle you face, “Incense Rising” will recharge an renew your prayer life and offer both substance and strength for you on your journey of faith.
No matter what struggle you face, #IncenseRising will recharge an renew your prayer life! Click To Tweet
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